The IceCube Astrophysics Masterclass: Bringing Authentic Research to Teachers and Students

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Silvia Bravo Gallart1, Jean Demerit1, Jim Madsen2 and Megan Madsen1, (1)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (2)University of Wisconsin River Falls, River Falls, WI, United States
The IceCube Astrophysics MasterClass (icecube.wisc.edu/masterclass) is based on the highly successful International masterclasses developed for high school students and teachers by the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (www.physicsmasterclasses.org/). The idea is to work with local teachers to identify highly motivated and engaged students who want to learn more about science research and the people who do it. An intensive one day program was put together at multiple sites with an opportunity for the students and teachers who attended to connect virtually to discuss their research results, and get a report from the winterovers at the South Pole. In the spring of 2014, the IceCube Collaboration held its first masterclass with approximately 100 students in total at 5 sites---Universität Mainz (Germany), University of Delaware in Newark (US), Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium), and the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (US). The students looked through IceCube data and performed analyses that led to the first evidence for high-energy astrophysical neutrinos. A description of the resources developed for the class, tactics used to recruit students and teachers, and the evaluation of the first course will be presented. The structure of the day can be readily generalized for other topics and disciplines.