News & Events

Want to be on the US Physics Team?

posted Oct 11, 2018, 6:27 AM by Barbara Fortunato   [ updated Oct 11, 2018, 6:37 AM ]

Then you might want to take the qualifying test.  Take it for fame or take it for fun.  Sign up below first and then...
Submit $10/$20 to Mrs. Fortunato by Tuesday, November 6th.  

Each year, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) sponsor a competition for high school students to represent the United States at the International Physics Olympiad Competition. The mission of the U.S. Physics Team Program is to promote and demonstrate academic excellence through preparation for and participation in the International Physics Olympiad.  

F=ma is the first qualifying exam for the US Physics Team.  The F=ma exam focuses on mechanics, including kinematics, statics, Newton’s laws, momentum and energy, oscillations, orbital mechanics, fluids, and elementary data analysis. All problems can be solved without the use of calculus.

Students must be either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) to participate in the F=ma or USAPhO (semi-final) exam.  

********  NEW FOR THIS YEAR  ********

The test will be administered TWICE - Wednesday, January 23 AND Friday, January 25, 2019.  (There will be two different versions obviously!)  I will be administering both tests, and you can choose to take either one or BOTH!  But you have to decide ahead of time which one you will take if you are taking only one.  The options are:

A - Wednesday, January 23, 2019 (D-day) 8:45-10:50pm - Hours 2 and 3 (periods 2 and 3).
B - Friday, January 25, 2018 (B-day) 12:45-2:50pm - Hours 5 and 6 (periods 8 and 5).

The F=ma A and F=ma B are designed to cover the same topics and have the same difficulty but will have completely different questions.  You will qualify for the USAPhO if your F=ma exceeds the cutoff score. If you take both F=ma exams, you will qualify if either exceeds the cutoff.

I am collecting $10 for each test (that means $20 if you're taking both).  The registration fee to the AAPT is $8 per student, plus $35 for the school.  So if I get more than 35 registrations, I will return $1 to you on the day of the test.  Both tests will be held in the Media Center (aka library).

For more information and practice exams, visit

STEM Community Outreach Symposium at Rutgers (STEMcosR)

posted Sep 19, 2018, 4:30 PM by Barbara Fortunato

From the organizer:

On behalf of the organizing committee, it is with great pleasure that I invite the West Windsor-Plainsboro High Schools to the STEM Community Outreach Symposium at Rutgers (STEMcosR) on Friday, November 16th at 10:00 AM in the New Chemistry Building on Busch Campus at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

This free symposium is a unique opportunity that brings together undergraduate and graduate students, academic and industrial professionals across many different science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to share their individual experiences and insight. At last year's inaugural STEMcosR event we had over a hundred people in attendance and hope to increase that this year! There will be a poster session featuring both undergraduate and graduate student work across many different STEM fields, networking opportunities with STEM industry representatives, and a Q&A panel featuring academic and industry professionals. This event is a valuable opportunity for students to ask questions and gain perspective on various STEM careers.

I have attached a flyer with more information about the symposium. Please forward this invitation to any students and faculty that you think would be interested in attending. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or visit our website at

Xiomara Perez

Princeton University Physics Competition (PUPC) - Sun, Nov 19th

posted Sep 19, 2018, 9:27 AM by Barbara Fortunato   [ updated Sep 19, 2018, 9:28 AM ]

Register by Thursday, October 18th.
More info available at

From the organizer:

PUPC provides a golden opportunity for your students to expand their physics knowledge and meet fellow peers who are interested in physics, all while competing for awards and prizes.

The PUPC exam consists of several challenging mechanics problems that will test the students' knowledge at a deeper level than that of conventional high school physics problems. If your students cannot make the onsite portion of PUPC, I encourage them to sign up for the online portion of PUPC, which is run by the nonprofit organization Physics Unlimited. The online portion consists of several problems related to contemporary physics research, and the students will be given a week to solve them (November 11 - 18).

This year, PUPC will be held on Sunday, November 19, in Jadwin Hall, Princeton University. The competition will be held in the morning, and we will provide lunch as well as have a distinguished speaker give a talk to the students in the afternoon.

Registration for the onsite portion of PUPC closes on Thursday, October 18, so sign your students up as soon as possible! Click here for the link to register.  [I think you can sign yourselves up individually.]

Pirates Against Hunger Donation Drive

posted Apr 20, 2018, 7:21 AM by Barbara Fortunato   [ updated Apr 20, 2018, 7:23 AM ]

Please see below for a message from the Pirates Against Hunger club. They would like everyone to spread the word about their donation drive. It ends next Friday, April 27.

The Pirates Against Hunger Club is having a donation drive and they are collecting ALL TYPES of breakfast bars and crackers, as well as hygiene items. The hygiene items include: toothpaste (any flavor), toothbrushes, bar or liquid soap (any scent or kind), toilet paper and paper towel rolls. All proceeds will be donated to the Plainsboro Food Pantry, where they will then be given to local families in need. Please spread word to your students! Drop off bins are in front of the main office and the drive is scheduled to end on 4/27. Thank you!

Green Fair

posted Apr 20, 2018, 7:19 AM by Barbara Fortunato

I was asked to share the following information with you:  


posted Feb 22, 2018, 6:08 AM by Barbara Fortunato

Check Google Classroom for information about standardized testing.

AP Exam Registration now open!

posted Feb 7, 2018, 5:55 AM by Barbara Fortunato

Don't forget to register for AP Exams.  AT Physics prepares you to take TWO AP Exams:  AP Physics C Mechanics and AP Physics C E&M.  You can register for one or both.  See me with questions.

curiousSCIENCEwriters - A Science Communications Program

posted Feb 7, 2018, 5:51 AM by Barbara Fortunato   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 4:03 PM ]

From a student at HSN:

Dear WWP Science Teacher,

I am Akila Saravanan, a junior at WWPHS North.

Many of you may already be aware of curiousSCIENCEwriters (cSw), the extracurricular science communications training program endorsed by The Biology Teachers Association of New Jersey (BTANJ). cSw is a non-profit steAm initiative that helps high school students develop skills to present and publish complex science concepts to general audiences through the power of story [].

I wanted to share my experience with you, and I hope that you will share them with some of your own students who are interested in science, writing, and art. When I was a freshman, my teachers from CMS - Dr. Rebecca Mclelland Crawley and Ms. Lisa Sacca, introduced me to the cSw program and supported my application. Over the past two years, I have gained invaluable experience as a writer and the Chief Editor-in-training. Being a part of this program has also given me tremendous opportunities to network with eminent personalities in the field of science, report on STEM events, conduct interviews, and organize webinars. Besides improving my skills as a writer, the experience has drawn me towards STEM fields.

I have observed that there is a high representation of students from other New Jersey schools in the cSw program - a result of greater awareness of the program in those areas. I would like our school district to also benefit from this tremendous steAm program.

Besides the benefit that students directly involved in the program will reap from cSw’s workshops, the overall quality and content of scientific information that has accumulated over the years on their website is a valuable tool for scientific literacy. While the articles are written, edited and published by students, students are advised by experts and communications mentors. cSw’s content can be a valuable supplement to the science curriculum in your classrooms.

I invite you to share this year’s call for application for writers, editors, graphic designers and social media coordinators with your current and former students who will be in grades 10-12 as of September 2018. The applications for the 2018-19 program are due on March 15th [].

cSw alumni speak highly of the program and emphasize the learning experiences they gained and its importance for their college applications. The mandatory residential workshop scheduled June 23-26 at Kean University as well as the daylong forum on May 19 at Monmouth University offer an amazing networking opportunity. I highly recommend this program to students who are passionate about STEM fields.

Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.

Akila Saravanan
Class of 2019

PhysicsBowl 2018!!!

posted Jan 29, 2018, 2:39 PM by Barbara Fortunato   [ updated Jan 30, 2018, 5:14 AM ]

Interested in participating in a fun physics contest for prizes, bragging rights, and fun? If so, fill out the form below, and get $6 to me by Monday, February 12th. 
The AAPT PhysicsBowl contest will be held on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 12:45-1:45pm -- B-day 5th hour (period 8).

For more info, check out the official website:

Please spread the word!

gif animationDon't forget to hit SUBMIT at the bottom!!! gif animation

Thinking about becoming a physics teacher?

posted Nov 21, 2017, 7:19 PM by Barbara Fortunato

If you are even remotely thinking about becoming a physics teacher and are interested in learning how you might get a scholarship (up to two years free tuition) at TCNJ, send me an email before December 4th so that I can nominate you to attend an informational event on December 9th. 

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