Little Shop at CSU

Delivering Inspiration and Impact

Leading the Way in Science Education

October 2012

Ever hear a 5th-grader breathlessly describe an experiment demonstrating the Bernoulli effect? Has your child ever built a spectroscope using a CD, scotch tape and cardboard?

If so, chances are he or she had a close encounter with the Little Shop of Physics, the colorful, interactive traveling science program directed by Colorado State University Professor Brian Jones. The immensely popular program finds creative ways to share the wonders of science with thousands of children each year using unique hands-on science experiments.

Sharing the wonders of science

The Little Shop in action at Fort Washakie School on the Wind River Indian Reservation in west central Wyoming

The Little Shop in action at Fort Washakie School on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

Jones founded the Little Shop of Physics in 1991 with the goal of demonstrating that science is exciting, interesting and accessible to all. The Little Shop crew is composed mostly of undergraduate students who find creative ways to share the wonders of science and present unique hands-on experiments to a diverse range of K-12 students.

Visiting about 40 schools each year, the crew present its unique program of science experiments to nearly 20,000 K-12 students annually. To date, Little Shop of Physics has reached more than 275,000 students through in-class experiments throughout Colorado, the U.S. and abroad in countries such as Korea, and even more students online.

"We started Little Shop on a lark and thought it would last a year or two," said Jones. "Now we're at the point where we've interacted with more than quarter of a million kids. We've had half a million hands on our experiments."

Jones a recognized national leader in education

Each year, the American Association of Physics Teachers honors one science educator from a national field. Last year, they honored Jones with the Robert A. Millikan Medal, which recognizes educators who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics.

"Brian Jones is a leader in the world of physics educators. He has touched students, teachers and education leaders locally, regionally and around the world with equal grace and enthusiasm," said Christine Nichols, a teacher in Douglas County School District, in her nomination letter for Jones. "He has contributed to the visibility, credibility and overall understanding of physics in ways most of us teachers have never been able to accomplish."

In addition to school programs, the Little Shop of Physics presents teacher workshops, hosts an annual open house and produces the television show, "Everyday Science," in cooperation with the Poudre School Direct in Fort Collins, CO.

More about the Little Shop of Physics

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