In January of 1990, teachers from five schools in Illinois began working with Professor Jule Scarborough at Northern Illinois University (NIU) on a collaborative project funded by the National Science Foundation, the Illinois State Board of Education, Department of Adult, Vocational and Technical Education, and NIU's College of Engineering & Engineering Technology.
The overall project goal was to improve high school physics, without diminishing the content or rigor of the physics, for the purpose of encouraging those students who do not traditionally enroll in physics to do so. Comparatively few high school students actively select physics as a science option while in high school. There is a very large number of students in each high school categorized as "average" in their performance who have the ability to do well in physics, but who resist or choose not to enroll for a variety of reasons. The same is often true for upper-level mathematics and technology courses.
The path chosen to achieve the project goal began with acknowledging the inherent relationship of physics, mathematics, and technology. Therefore, the focus of the educational reform was to restructure the content and instructional delivery of physics, mathematics, and technology, integrating the academic content and instructional delivery of the three disciplines to improve physics.