**Curriculum Connections**: Quantum Mechanics is part of the physics
curriculm in Ontario, but often so much time is spent on the personalities and
history of Quantum Mechanics that students don't really get a chance to understand
the key concepts and how it is so radically different from classical mechanics.
Curricula in many other places have almost no time alotted to Quantum Mechancs.
This is a travesty when Quantum Mechanics is the basis of our understanding
of chemistry, nuclear energy, computers, lasers, medical imaging etc. However,
if you are teaching **wave interference** of springs, water and
light, you can also throw in electrons. **Radioactivity** is often
hidden in the curriculum somewhere. Why not take a bit of time to point out
how truly strange its randomness is. Similariy, if you are teaching about **polarized
light** as a wave phenomena, you can go a little further and discuss
how a single photon can be polarized.

1) Interference

This lesson introduces students to some of the key concepts of quantum mechanics
(wave-particle duality, randomness, uncertainty and the effect of measurement)
through a **simulation** of electron interference. These ideas
are reinforced with a 5-minute** video** of the **real experiment**
and then data from a interference experiment involving buckminsterfullerene
molecules - objects that are five orders of magnitude bigger! The question is
examined further in the Quantum
Eraser lesson.

This lesson was developed before the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics developed their wonderful 25-minute video and Teachers Guide on the same subject called The Challenge of Quantum Reality. You should order your free copy (for teachers in Canada) today and use it instead of or in addition to the lesson here.

2) Radioactivity
and Intrinsic Randomness

This lesson emphasizes one of the key concepts- randomness. The students explore
a** physical model ** using the pseudo-randomness of dice in small
groups and then they examine intrinsic randomness of radioactivity** **using
a **computer simulation**.

3) Quantum
Polarization

This lesson starts with **experimenting** with polarizing filters
and calcite and then analyses the results in terms of a wave model. A series
of **thought experiments** around polarized photons has the students
explore the meaning of quantization of states, the effect of measurement on
reality and entanglement. Finally, **games** involving polarized
photons in quantum cryptography and tic-tac-toe are introduced.

4) Bose-Einstein Condensates

Bose-Einstein condensates are a weird state of matter predicted by quantum physics,
where millions of atoms are in the same place at the same time! There used to be a great lesson
on the Physics 2000 site of the University of Colorado.** IT IS NO LONGER THERE. :( **. In addition to Bose-Einstein condensates it explains and uses
the following topics: **temperature, absolute zero, Big Bang, atomic spectra,
lasers, Doppler shift, magnetic fields **and** Heisenberg’s
Uncertainty Principle**. This is a great way to tie together many standard
concepts covered in your curriculum, while having your students learn some truly
modern physics.

5) Heisenberg' Uncertainty Principal
and Diffraction

This looks at the** diffraction** of light through a **single
slit** using a really cheap hands-on **demo**, an **experiment**
with slits of known width and a **simulation**. Diffraction is
usually taught as classical wave behaviour, but light is made of **photons**,
so the diffraction of light must be a quantum mechanical phenomena and it must
have a quantum mechanical explanation. The explanation is **Heisenberg's
Uncertainty Principal**.

6) Quantum Editor

This lesson looks closely at the perplexing question of how a single photon
can **interfere** with itself. Which path does it take in a **double
slit experimen**t - one side, both or neither? It looks at a **set
of demonstrations** which require a laser pointer, straight pin and a
few polarizing filters.

7) Measuring Planck's
Constant with LED's

This is one of the rare simple and cheap **experiments** you can
do in quantum mechanics. It has been around for a while and keeps being rediscovered.
Essentially it is **conservation of energy** with a quantum device.
One electron liberates one photon and eV = hf. If you graph eV against f it
looks like the graph for the **photoelectric effect**, because
an LED is just the PE effect run backwards.

8) Quantum Information

This is a brief introduction to quantum cryptography and quantum computing.
It requires that students are already familiar with **wave-particle duality,
quantum superposition ** and **polarized light**. It is a
very difficult subject and has been kept very short, active and conceptual.

9) Quantum Uncertainty

This lesson joins lessons 1, 3, 5 and 6 in the common theme of quantum uncertainty.
It is a summary of the wave model and how it must give way to quantum physics
when the light is faint, much as Newtonian mechanics and gravity must give way
to special and general relativity.

10) How to make a Laser

This lesson uses a great PhET simulation and a couple of short videos to fully
involve the student in understanding what these ubiquitous tools are all about.