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TOPS--the acronym for Teaching Opportunities in Physical Sciences--is a six-week summer program for sophomore and junior physics majors who are considering careers in pre college physics teaching. The goal of TOPS is to give these students an opportunity to prepare and teach material at the middle school and high school levels under the supervision of experienced teachers. Middle school students are taught in a one-week program at the Boston Museum of Science. High school students are taught in a two-week program at MIT. In addition, TOPS provides contact with ongoing physics research in the Center for Ultracold Atoms, much of which illustrates basic concepts of energy, temperature and light that are central to the material being taught. TOPS, which is now in its seventh year, involves two groups of four students, each working with a skilled high school teacher. The goal is to help inspire teaching careers for some of tomorrow's outstanding teachers in the belief that over the years even a small number of outstanding teachers can have a big influence. The Center for Ultracold Atoms is supported by the National Science Foundation.
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