- Prof. Emeriti Bat Sheva Eylon, Department of Science Teaching, Weizmann Institute of Science
- Rami Arieli, Davidson Institute of Science Education
- Dorothy Langley, Davidson Institute of Science Education
- Shay Soffer – Elbit Systems
- Zvi Arica, Dr. David Sela, Dr. Yaakov Sheinbaum – Ministry of Education
- Yehuda ben UHur, Dr. Avi Golan, Dr. Yarden ben Horin, Dr. Ariel Heimann – Davidson Institute of Science Education
- Boaz Lubashitz, Dr. Avinoam Kalma, Mr. Avigdor Zeidmann – Elbit Systems Engineers; Dr. Eran Grinvald, Dr. Liran Shimshi – Physics Department in WIS; Projects’ Mentors
- Mordechai Moshizky, Mr. Sasson Levi, Mr. Yosef Susnovsky, Mr. Alex Rubstein – Laboratory team, Davidson Institute of Science Education
- Jacob Helfman – Systematic Inventive Thinking
The “Physics & Industry” program was designed to facilitate credit-carrying, out-of-school regional frameworks, fostering excellence and providing interested and talented 11th-12th grade students with a link to physics-based industries. The program was an elective, out-of-school, accredited program for high school physics majors, who met for 15 months on a bi-weekly basis. The program implemented a project-based, instructional learning approach. Pairs of students, coached by industrial engineers and the project team, designed and constructed a working model which provided a solution to an authentic, open-ended technological problem, employing both school-based physics knowledge and advanced principles of electro-optics. In order to support their effort, the instructional design focused on four learning dimensions:
- Learning to apply knowledge;
- Learning to use technological and cognitive tools;
- Learning to communicate;
- Learning to become a member of a community.
Project history and evolution
The Physics & Industry program operated between 2000 -2017, and formed the research and development basis for various programs run by the Davidson Institute of Science Education and the Department of Science Teaching in the Weizmann Institute of Science.
The program was initiated by prof. Bat Sheva Eylon in collaboration with Mr. Haim Russo, CEO of the El-Op industry (today part of Elbit Systems Ltd.). The objective was to connect interested and talented high school physics majors with the world of science-based industries.
The program was first implemented at the HEMDA science teaching center in Tel Aviv, and from 2004 continued as a regional class at the Davidson Institute of Science Education, where it was attended by students from all over the country. The program offered an opportunity to break away from the limitations imposed by school-based equipment and instruction. The program’s concept was adopted in other academic centers: Oranim College, for example, activated the program with gifted 10th grade students, focusing on medical engineering in cooperation with a large nearby medical center.
Students participating in the program attended bi-weekly after-school meetings held in an advanced laboratory at the Davidson Institute of Science Education. They studied physics content which expanded on the high school advanced physics curriculum (e.g. various sensors and detectors, semi-conductors) and technological content relating to the basic principles of project management and “Systematic Inventive Thinking” – an innovative approach to fostering technological creativity that has been implemented in many industrial plants in Israel and worldwide. The students were required to study the full physics curriculum and carry out all school experiments, and were exempted from two sections of the physics matriculation exam.
The students were required to spend a significant portion of the program developing a system which responded to a significant technological problem, mentored by active electro-optics engineers and the project team. Towards the end of the 12th grade, the students took an official exam by an examiner appointed by the Ministry of Education. Students with exceptional abilities had the option of individually carrying out an advanced project, for which they could earn an additional advanced grade (carrying extra university credit), beyond their advanced high school physics grade.
Over 200 students, a third of them girls, graduated the program and were accepted into advanced technological units during their mandatory military service. Many of them continued later into academic studies in engineering and medicine. Long-term contact with some of the graduates has been maintained over the years.
Project partners (extensive list)
The Physics and Industry program owes much of its success to the school-based support from school principals and physics teachers who encouraged their students to participate: Mr. Boris Epstein, Mr. Dov Rochkes, Ms. Irina Veisman, Ms. Anna Ostrovsky. The Hammer high school in Bat Yam and its principals, Rabbi Noam Sassi and Mr. Aharon Kazav, provided the program with the opportunity of involving inner-city students.
Several organizations were instrumental in supporting the program, amongst them: the MOFET school network, the Bat Yam, Rehovot and Rishon LeZion municipalities, and the Alliance Israel “Kol Israel Haverim” organization.
During the many years of the Physics and Industry Project’s activity, a considerable amount of instructional materials was developed (presentations, videos, project and experiment instruction sheets etc.), as well as a variety of evaluation and management tools. Annual events supporting the program goals were held (opening and graduation ceremonies, poster sessions, expert lectures and an excursion to the El Op plant).
Throughout the course of the program, research was carried out using questionnaires and varied documentation of instruction, learning, and student products. These data provided the raw material for research that was presented in many international conferences (primarily GIREP), as can be seen in the “Further reading” list below.
- Haim Russo, Dr. Alexander Ayalon, Elbit Systems
- More in extensive list