Don Rathjen: Teacher Institute Staff
Don has taught physics for over fifty years—“since the crust cooled,” as he's been known to say—in settings ranging from a college in Liberia and a high school in Turkey to public high schools in Pleasanton, California. He was a participant in the Teacher Institute’s first Summer Institute in 1984. He has been working with science teachers at the Exploratorium since 1985, and co-authored (with Paul Doherty) the Exploratorium Science Snackbook, first published in 1991. The Snackbook shows teachers how to use simple materials to build classroom versions of over 100 Exploratorium exhibits. He also co-authored (again with Paul Doherty) Square Wheels, with thirty-one additional science snacks.
In 1983, Don began “Physics Day” at Great America, an amusement park in Santa Clara, California, an event that has grown from ninety students to more than 20,000. Continuing his lifelong interest in toys, he was the author of Lego Crazy Action Contraptions. More recently, one of his grandkids worked as a volunteer and intern for three years TI Summer Institute.
Don received a BS in Engineering from Stanford University and an MA in Science Education from Columbia University. He and his wife, Ann, live in Pleasanton, California.