Teaching the Standard Model in IB Physics

Debra Blake Semmler, Physics, East Mecklenburg High School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This curriculum unit will explore how to teach the Standard Model to International Baccalaureate seniors. The aims of the International Baccalaureate Physics course is to expose students to the most fundamental experimental science, which seeks to explain the universe from the smallest particles to an understanding of the origins of the universe. Yet more importantly, students will study the impact of physics on society, the moral and ethical dilemmas, and the social economic and environmental impact of the work of scientists in a global context. A unit of study in the IB physics core curriculum is on the structure of matter; students will develop an understanding that matter consists of six quarks and six leptons. Quarks were postulated on a completely mathematical basis in order to explain patterns observed in properties of particles. Later large-scale collaborative experimentation led to the discovery of the predicted fundamental particles. Students will become proficient in their understanding of the standard model and how conservation laws are applied in particle reactions.[i]

[i] (International Baccalaureate Organization 2007)