Quantum Party! 

Workshop for STEM Teachers

Open to all middle school and high school science teachers, though the content will be most appropriate for chemistry, physics, and earth science instruction. 

Dates:  Thursday, July 8, 2021 
               Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The cost of attendance is $75.00, which includes

  • Covers the cost of a Quantum Party! board game, for each participant to take with them
  • A box lunch is included in the cost

Participants will receive 7 hours professional development (CTLE) credits for attending the workshop. 

This workshop may be limited to 16 per day due to NYS COVID.  Regulations at the time of the event (TBD).

Workshop Schedule

Location        TBD
7:30-8:00      Registration
8:00-8:30      Welcome and overview
8:30-9:00      Play the game!
9:00-10:00    Lectures (Blackbody radiation and double slit experiment)
10:00-10:15   Break
10:15-11:15     Lectures (Rutherford scattering and photoelectric effect)
11:15-noon    Lecture (Quantum mechanics)
12:00-1pm    Lunch
1:00-2:00      Play the game
2:00-3:00      Active discussion on the game and solicitation of feedback 

Please Note:

We plan on holding an in-person workshop on the Siena campus, subject to NYS/CDC socially-distanced, masked guidelines at the time. However, if conditions change, the workshop could be moved to a virtual mode of delivery, at which point we would mail copies of the board game to participants in time for the workshop"

Workshop Description

Given the amount of competition students have for their attention (social media, extracurricular activities, jobs), it can be a challenge to get them to fully engage with classroom material while in the classroom. There are a variety of approaches to reclaiming some of their attention that can be taken such as introducing material so fascinating that they can’t help but think about it outside the classroom or gamifying the classroom interactions to the point that they may not even realize they are learning. 

Since 2018, a small group at Siena has been working on a board game that teaches quantum mechanics by having the game play driven by rules inspired by the science behind 4 classic science experiments/observations: the double slit experiment, blackbody radiation, the photoelectric effect, and the Rutherford scattering experiment. The first version of the game was completed in 2021 and comes with a pamphlet that briefly describes the science behind the game. 

We are holding this workshop to demonstrate the game to others, share some learning materials for use in the classroom, and solicit feedback on how/if the game can be used in the classroom and how it might be improved in successive versions. We will also brainstorm other potential topics and games ideas for future efforts. 


About the Instructor

Matthew Bellis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics

Matt Bellis came to Siena in 2012 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He received his Ph.D. from RPI in 2003 and worked as a post-doctoral research associate at Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and Northern Illinois      University. He is a particle physicist by training and is a member of a CMS Collaboration, one of  the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. He is passionate about computational challenges in science as well as education and outreach. For the past two years, he has worked with a cadre of Siena students and Germaine Gatewood, a faculty member in the Creative Arts department, to create Quantum Party!, a board game designed to educate players about quantum mechanics while also having fun! 

Matthew Bellis
Department of Physics & Astronomy

Funding for the development of Quantum Party! has been generously provided by Siena’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) and a grant from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) through the Bauder Fund.