Sam McKagan

American Association of Physics Teachers

Sam McKagan is the creator and director of, a website that supports physics faculty in using research-based teaching and assessment in their classes and departments. She has conducted research into physics faculty members’ and department heads’ needs around research-based teaching and assessment, and conducted several meta-analyses of the impact of research-based teaching in physics.

She is currently serving as editorial director for EP3, and as design and development director for the Living Physics Portal (, an online environment for physics faculty to share and discuss free curricular resources for teaching Introductory Physics for the Life Sciences.

She has served as a physics education research consultant or evaluator for Seattle Pacific University, University of Colorado - Boulder, Augsburg College, and Boise State University. She was a post-doc with the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado - Boulder, and has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington for theoretical work on Bose Einstein Condensation.

Website Contributor

Website Content Contributions

Activities (5)

Resources for using PhET simulations in class – PhET Activities Database part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
The PhET Activities Database is a collection of resources for using PhET sims. It includes hundreds of lesson plans, homework assignments, labs, clicker questions, and more. Some activities have been created by the PhET team and some have been created by teachers.

Teaching Method Module (1)

PhET Interactive Simulations part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations
Compiled by Sam McKagan*, based on material from the PhET Team *American Association of Physics Teachers, McKagan Enterprises What is PhET? PhET is a suite of research-based interactive computer simulations for ...

Other Contribution (1)

How a nationwide departmental change database could support equitable STEM education part of Transforming Institutions Conference 2023:Program:Presentations:Session B
We discuss a potential new tool that would bring together several existing projects to support physics departments in departmental change efforts and support departmental change researchers in identifying and ...