.boxed { border: 1px solid green ; }

Colloquium at U of Guelph - Revolutions in Physics Education

Chris Meyer will be presenting at the University of Guelph Department of physics this coming Tuesday, January 24. All are welcome.

Title of Talk: Revolutions in Physics Education: Build a Better Student, Build a Better Teacher

Abstract: We live in an exciting time for teaching physics. Over 30 years of education research by physics professionals is transforming physics teaching from a mystical art into a practical science. In the process, many educational myths have been successfully challenged. Research is providing great insight into the cognitive development of our students’ physics understanding and the accompanying physical changes that take place in the brain. As a result, pedagogical techniques have broken free from the traditions and fads of the past, and are now grounded in an empirical understanding of how humans learn. By creating a research-based learning environment, we can literally build better students and build better teachers. In this talk, Chris will share the key results from education research that inspired him to create a lecture-free high school physics program that is now spreading across Ontario.

For more information visit: https://www.physics.uoguelph.ca/events/physics-colloquia/revolutions-in-physics-education-build-a-better-student-build-a-better-teacher

STEM Talk: Modelling Climate using Science, Mathematics and Technology

Dr. Jason Cole
Research Scientist, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma)
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)

Date: Tuesday February 21, 2017
Location: Durham District School Board, 400 Taunton Road East, Whitby Ontario
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Understanding Earth's climate and factors that affect it is a complex and important issue for society. Models of varying detail and scope are tools that can be used to capture our knowledge about climate and to explore its response to different scenarios. In this talk, Dr. Cole will discuss the basic ideas behind one such model, called an Earth System Model, illustrating how we translate our scientific understanding into mathematical models and in turn use computer technology to solve the mathematics.

Jason Cole is a research scientist at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (CCCma), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). He works on development and improvement of atmospheric processes in the Canadian Earth System Model and its evaluation using satellite-based observations. Dr. Cole was granted his PhD and MSc in Meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University after having obtained his BSc in Physics and Atmospheric Sciences from McGill University.

Astronomy workshop for teachers

Jan.23 to Feb.10 2017

Is astronomy part of your school curriculum but you feel uncomfortable teaching it to your students? We have the solution! Discover the Universe offers a free online astronomy workshop for teachers. In this workshop, we will cover many astronomy subjects such as phases of the Moon and the Solar system and we will provide material and activities to use in class.

For information and registration: www.discovertheuniverse.ca

Call for Workshop Proposals for the 2017 OAPT Conference

This year’s conference is being held at York University from May 11 - 13 and is sponsored by the Lassonde School of Engineering. The theme this year is Affective Physics, Harnessing Passion to Power Physics.

We are now accepting proposals for workshops. If you are interested in presenting, please fill in a proposal at https://goo.gl/forms/D39iNoOEcON6TmEZ2 The deadline for submitting is Jan. 16, 2017.

Are you unsure of why the affective domain is important in physics education? You might want to read this short introduction.

OAPT-OTF Physics Camp is back!!!

July 6 – 8, 2016
London, Ontario
Presented by James Ball, Saara Naudts, Roberta Tevlin
OAPT Physics Teachers

This summer’s physics camp will be three days packed full of physics, pedagogy and professional friendship. The good news is that the OTF will pay for your overnight accommodation, meals and travel expenses. Your only cost is a $50 registration fee, and this is refunded once you complete the course. Registration is only open until June 24 and we usually fill up well before the deadline, so register ASAP. Read More...

OTF Webinar: Exploring the “E” in STEM

May 31, 2016, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Presented by: Lisa Lim Cole Dave Doucette
Ontario Association of Physics Teachers

This webinar examines how the “E” in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) aligns with the inquiry process in the Science, Science & Technology, and Mathematics curriculae. This session will connect both the engineering design process to hands-on, minds-on curricular activities and the engineering innovation mindset to serving individuals, society and our environment. Building structures is just a beginning. Inspired students will build a future.

Audience: K-12

Young Women in Engineering Symposium

Micah Stickel
Associate Professor, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto
cfy@ecf.utoronto.ca, m.stickel@utoronto.ca

We are planning a fall campus event designed to increase the number of young women entering STEM professions in Ontario, and we need your help! We are reaching out to Physics educators to identify top female Grade 11 Physics students to take part in our third annual Young Women in Engineering Symposium.

This free Symposium will feature:
• A keynote address from a leading female scientist or engineer
• Hands-on workshops
• An Engineering myth-busters panel
• A luncheon with current engineering female students

Please share the application link below with up to three of your top Grade 11 female students (note that students must be entering their Grade 12 year in September 2016 and be planning on taking Grade 12 Physics):


Students interested in participating in the Symposium are asked to complete their application by Wednesday, June 22. Due to limited space, we may not be able to accommodate all applicants, and so we will confirm their participation through email by the end of July.

Thank you very much for your help with this initiative. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Kate Nguyen (kate.nguyen@ecf.utoronto.ca) if you have any questions.

Demystifying STEM

The next STEM Talk, “Demystifying STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math” will be held on Wednesday May 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Durham District School Board! It’s FREE! It’s OPEN TO ALL!

Join us as Mark Abbott speaks about STEM Career Pathways!

Gravitational Wave Resources from Perimeter Institute

Greg Dick, Educational Outreach Manager, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

No longer a rumour, scientists at Caltech, MIT, VIRGO and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration have confirmed that gravitational waves have been detected! The discovery of these ripples in the fabric of spacetime could revolutionize our ability to understand the workings of the universe.

Perimeter Institute is offering you several ways to share this pivotal moment in scientific history with your students:

  • Share the excitement through classroom lessons plans and supplementary information specifically developed to help your students understand gravitational waves and the impact this discovery will have on their scientific future.

Today, a new window has been opened on our universe. We look forward to celebrating with you.

2016 OAPT Conference: Capturing Diverse Perspectives in STEM

The OAPT annual conference will be held at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario on May 12-14, 2016.

Registration is NOW OPEN!

The Ontario Association of Physics Teachers works to support science teaching and learning. Physics is a large component of K-12 Science Curriculum. Professional dialogue, tools and opportunities for networking from a wide variety of perspectives is critical in developing strong partnerships that will enhance learning in the classroom. A wide variety of exhibitors will also be present at the conference.

A Northern Teacher Subsidy is also available for the following School Board Districts: Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming.

Any teachers from the above school boards can apply for funding to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and conference registration at: http://goo.gl/forms/wxesejxdVy. An OAPT Executive Member will be in touch with you once you have applied to confirm your financial support.

BBC Reith Lecture: Stephen Hawking on Black Holes

Professor Hawking takes us through the history of scientific thinking about black holes, and explains how they have posed tough challenges to conventional understanding of the laws which govern the universe. He also poses (and more importantly, explains) the question: Do black holes have no hair?

Listen to the lectures on the BBC.

EUREKA Talk: Metamaterials & the Science of Invisibility

Saturday January 30, 2016; 10:30 AM
Room 2005, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, University of Ottawa
Presented by Professor Sir John Pendry

The University of Ottawa Department of Physics is excited to launch a new series of public events to bring cutting edge physics to the Ottawa community. These events are targeted at high school students and their families.

The inaugural Eureka Talk will be on Saturday January 30 at 10:30am in the Faculty of Social Sciences Building (room 2005) at uOttawa. Professor Sir John Pendry will speak on the science of invisibility cloaks, which he described for the first time. We will then have a moderated discussion with Sir John about what it is like to be a practicing physicist, including such topics as decisions he made that went well and perhaps ones that he regrets. Read More...

Perimeter Workshop: Black Holes

Host: James Ball
Wednesday January 20th 2016
Room 209 John F. Ross C.V.I. 21 Meyer Drive Guelph, Ontario N1E 4H1
4:00 – 6:00

Come and check out Perimeter's latest resource of black holes. There will be activities that are suitable for the grade 9 universe unit as well as both the grade 11 and 12 physics courses. Please R.S.V.P. to James Ball (james.ball@ugdsb.on.ca) if you are planning on attending.

DDSB STEM Talk in the New Year!

Wednesday January 20, 2016; 7:00 – 8:00
Room 1011, Durham District School Board (400 Taunton Road East. Whitby)
Presented by Jen Rowsell and Sarah Langer

The Biology of Camel Spiders and Arachnid Fieldwork Adventures

Forensic Entomology: HowInsects Can Help Solve Crimes

Northern Ontario Teacher Subsidy for the OAPT Conference

We are excited to announce funding support to Northern Ontario Teachers to attend the OAPT conference at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario on May 12-14, 2016!

The Northern Ontario teacher Subsidy will cover the cost of travel, accommodations, registration, and supply coverage! Don’t miss out!

Fill out the form at: http://goo.gl/forms/qnZ8Jc6uoe

The Definition of Northern Ontario can be found here: http://nohfc.ca/en/about-us/northern-ontario-districts

Contact Lisa Lim-Cole for more information: lisa.cole@ddsb.ca

TAPT Postponed: Physics Games — Phun with Physics

The TAPT session Physics Games — Phun with Physics has been postponed until after Christmas. We will make another announcement when the new date is confirmed.

Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP)

May 30-June 10, 2016

Start the summer with a two-week introduction to the theoretical and experimental study of quantum information processing which includes 30 hours in the labs. You will get the opportunity to interact with students from around world, work with graduate students, postdocs and IQC faculty. This program is fully funded — including your accommodations and food. You can also apply for travel bursaries.

Watch this quick video to get a feel for the full experience.

Undergraduate Research Award - all summer
Join us at IQC for the summer through an Undergraduate Research Award and work with one of our researchers – experimentalist or theorist. Not only will you enhance your research experience and prepare for your graduate studies and research career, but you get the chance to attend IQC seminars, lectures, and student talks. This is a unique opportunity to interact with an interdisciplinary research community.

Apply before January 11!
You can choose to only apply to attend USEQIP, to only apply for an Undergraduate Research Award, or apply for both.

  • If you want to apply to both, click the USEQIP button. Complete the application and check the appropriate box for the Undergraduate Research Award.*
  • If you only want to apply for USEQIP, click the USEQIP button. Complete the application but do NOT check the box for the Undergraduate Research Award.

TAPT: Physics Games — Phun with Physics

NOTE: session postponed until after Christmas. Will be reposted when date confirmed.

Tuesday December 8, 2015; snacks 4:00, session 4:30 – 6:00
Staff Room, Agincourt CI (2621 Midland Avenue. Toronto)
Presented by Kathy DeNoble and Robert Prior
Games can be an excellent way to reinforce student learning. In this session, we will play three different games designed for kinematics, and discuss how they fit into the curriculum.

  • KineCards: A card game that builds position-time and velocity-time graphs of an object's motion. Players must play matching D-T and V-T segments while competing to end at different positions.
  • The Amazing Rally: An orienteering game that sends students around the school following a trail of clues. Players must draw and follow a vector diagram while maintaining a schedule, neither too fast nor too slow.
  • Space Battles: A 2D space miniatures game. Players pilot spaceships which use realistic vector acceleration and movement. Advanced options add combat and relative velocity.
Although this TAPT session focuses (naturally) on physics, we will also have non-physics games on display for those of you teaching other science courses.

As usual, we will have snacks and socializing time from 4:00 – 4:30. Please email Robert (robert.prior@tdsb.on.ca) to let him know that you are coming so we can be sure to have enough food. See you there!

FAST Motion Studios - Physics Field Trip

Over the past 18 months the OAPT has been working with Paul Rapovski, CEO of FAST Motion Studios (2 Denison Rd W, Toronto) to develop an experiential field trip for high school physics students. The intent is to reveal the variety of career pathways in the recession-proof business of entertainment production — movies, television and gaming. We successfully tested our model in September with a focus group of physics teachers — including a complement from the OAPT team. This field trip program was revealed at the recent STAO conference and we are extending the offer to our members.

To this end there are three attachments:
  • FAST STEM connection: outlines the rich STEM base of the motion picture, television and gaming industry (general info)

Please feel free to pass these along to colleagues. The first step is to identify potential date(s) for the field trip and connect with me to confirm (dave@fastmotionstudios.com). As well, contact me if you require more information.

Thank you for your time and attention to this unique and exciting initiative.

Upcoming STEM Talk at the Durham District School Board on November 25 at 7:00 pm!

Please share it with educators, students, parents, community members and any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) enthusiasts! It is a free event and all are welcome to attend! Mark your calendar! Hope to see you there!

Durham District School Board
400 Taunton Rd E.
Whitby, ON L1R 2K6
(905) 666-6384
Toll Free: 1-800-339-6913, Ext. 6384
Email: cole_lisa@durham.edu.on.ca

James Ball wins the Irwin Talesnick Award for Excellence in Teaching

A physics teacher from Guelph’s John F. Ross CVI has won a prestigious award, recognizing excellence in the teaching of science.

James Ball will be awarded the Irwin Talesnick Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Science by the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO) this November at the STAO’s annual conference. Among the many requirements of the recipient of the STAO award are unique and extraordinary accomplishments in teaching science to students in the province. Ball’s colleagues and students attest to his dedication and passion both in and out of the classroom.

CBC Interview: Nobel Prize and Physics Teaching

Today the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Canadian physicist Arthur McDonald for his work on neutrino oscillations. Chris Meyer heard about it while driving to work, and talked about it with his first period class, but little did he suspect that before noon he would be interviewed by CBC Newsworld!


Call for Proposals and Exhibitors for the 2016 OAPT Conference

This year’s OAPT conference will be held at Wilfird Laurier University, Waterloo form May 12-14 and the theme is Capturing Diverse Perspectives in STEM. See the flyer for more information about the conference.

We are now accepting proposals for workshops up until Nov. 30, 2015. If you are interested in presenting please fill in a proposal at http://goo.gl/forms/F3naNAQMuH

If you are interested in reserving a table in the exhibitor space, please fill in the exhibitor information form at http://goo.gl/forms/8BXlsHlPsl

Goethe-Institut Toronto & UWaterloo Engineering Competition

Waterloo Engineering has partnered with the Goethe Institut to run a new engineering competition this November for girls in grades 10-11 (WE GO Design).

WE Go.DEsign is a two day Engineering Design and Research Competition for women in grade 10 and 11 presented by the Goethe-Institut. The Grand Prize will be a language, engineering and culture trip to Germany during Summer 2016! There are two elements to the competition, a Research Symposium and a Design Challenge. Each element will be judged by Goethe Institut and University of Waterloo faculty and staff, with prizes awarded in each element.

For more information, visit the website:

Workshop: Perimeter Institute presents Hands on Wave Particle Duality

Hosts: Stephanie Barich and Jeannette Rensink (Pickering High School), Damian Pope and Glenn Wagner (Perimeter Institute)
Contact: Stephanie Barich, barich_stephanie@durham.edu.on.ca

Date: October 9, 2015
Time: 8:30 am - 11:00 am or 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: 180 Church Street North, Ajax, ON

Come explore the Challenge of Quantum Reality, a classroom resource designed by educators in collaboration with Perimeter Institute researchers to introduce senior physics students to the wonder and power of quantum physics. Experience the electron double-slit experiment as you participate in a hands-on classroom activity that will introduce the fundamental concepts involved in wave-particle duality.

Field Trip: The Physics of Movie Stunts

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease! Stage epic martial arts battles or use your super powers to save the universe! Find out how they really do these amazing stunts in Hollywood movies! At FAST Motion Studios your students can design their action movie sequence, act it out on camera, and analyze the physics!

Know any students who might want to try that kind of thing? Thought so! Read More...

UoW: Teaching Quantum Technology workshop

Learn how to include quantum technology in your curriculum

Apply for the Teaching Quantum Technology workshop (TQT) before October 30

Would you like to deepen your understanding of quantum mechanics and how to convey its beauty and societal importance to your students? The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) has a free workshop on quantum mechanics and technology that will provide you with lesson plans and affordable, ready-to-go activities to take back to your classroom. On December 5 and 6th you will participate in hands-on activities, attend a few lectures and enjoy enrichment activities, as well as take part in roundtable discussions on how to incorporate what you’ve learned into your curriculum.

You will leave this workshop with:
  • The ability to teach quantum mechanics beyond the basics and discuss cutting-edge advances in the field
  • Lesson plans and other affordable, ready-to-go activities for you to take back to your classroom
  • Discussion points about how quantum mechanics can transform society

Space is limited, so apply now for TQT, December 5-6.

If you wish to be added to the mailing list to automatically receive updates about TQT as well as our high school students program, please sign up here giving us the consent to add you to the list.

TAPT: Playing with the New Physics Practicals Room at U of T

Host: Jason Harlow
Monday Nov. 9
U of T McLennan Physical Labs, 255 Huron St. Toronto
Room 126
4:00 – 6:00 (Refreshments 4-4:30)

At this session, you will get a chance to visit our new “Practicals” room where our physics majors do their weekly activities. I’ll be sharing my experiences teaching physics by having university students work through activities in teams of 3 or 4 – rather than the lectures that you probably experienced. You will get to play – just as the students do – with three physics toys. Using “Poppers”, you will work through an inquiry-based lesson based on the different forms of energy and how energy can be transformed from one form to another. Next you will try out our good quality yo-yos and work through a lesson based on friction, work and torque. Finally, you will use a Cartesian Diver, to explore pressure, volume and buoyancy force. There will be lot of time for questions and discussions of how to make the high school-university transition smoother for our students.

As usual, we will have snacks and socializing time from 4:00 – 4:30. Please email Chris (christopher.meyer@tdsb.on.ca) to let him know that you are coming so we can be sure to have enough food. See you there!

TAPT: Mastering Static Electricity

Host: Chris Meyer
Wed. Sept 30 
York Mills CI, 490 York Mills Rd., Rm 112
4:00 – 6:00 (Refreshments 4-4:30)

Does static electricity have you perplexed? Boost your confidence and improve your understanding of this fascinating and shocking (couldn't resist) topic, which is the foundation for our understanding of current electricity. Join Chris Meyer at York Mills C. I. for an after school session of hands-on exploration. You will work through an inquiry-based lesson on the fundamentals of static electricity and build your understanding of how charges behave in solid matter. The lesson helps target common student (and teacher!) misconceptions and will be of particular interest to teachers of grade 9 science and grade 12 physics who would like to polish their skills. The session will also give you lots of ideas for activities to use with your students. Grab a colleague to bring along! As usual, we will have snacks and socializing time from 4:00 – 4:30. Please email Chris (
christopher.meyer@tdsb.on.ca) to let him know that you are coming so we can be sure to have enough food. See you there!

Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO) 2015 Conference

Date: November 12th-14th, 2015
Location: International Plaza Hotel, 655 Dixon Rd., Toronto

The STAO2015 conference offers many sessions for Secondary school educators. Highlights of the conference include:
  • inquiry-based science activities, including technology-enhanced learning ideas
  • STAO's 125th celebration with cake and hands-on activities from Mad Science
  • Guest speaker, Bob McDonald from CBC's Quirks and Quarks, on Saturday, November 14th
  • over 50 daily sessions focused on the science and technology classroom
  • The STAO conference itself, along with numerous poster sessions that will inspire you

Please visit stao.ca for more information!

Welcome Back!

The 2015/2016 school year is starting up and as you start to think about the courses you will be teaching and the work you will do with your students, I encourage you to connect with us as we work together to support physics teaching in Ontario. The OAPT Conference will be held on May 12 – 14, 2016 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. The conference will provide active learning workshops, collaborative networking opportunities and exploration of current trends in scientific and technological research. This year, the OAPT conference will focus on Diversity in Physics and STEM.

OAPT continues to support physics education at STAO. Workshops will be presented for Grade 7-10 science programs and the OAPT will be present in the exhibit hall. Let your fellow science teachers know!

I also invite you to join the OAPT team. We would love to have you join us as we prepare for this school year. Currently, we are seeking volunteers to help with the organization of the conference, writing articles for the newsletter, preparation of the Grade 11 Physics Contest and graphic design aspects of public communications for OAPT. If you are interested in joining us, contact me at: cole_lisa@durham.edu.on.ca

Looking forward to another great year!
Lisa Lim-Cole, President

University of Toronto Science Summer Camp

Applications are now open for “Science Unlimited Summer Camp” at the University of Toronto! A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for high school students to participate in a week of Physics, Astronomy, Earth Sciences, Computer Sciences, Math and Chemistry workshops.

For more information and to register, visit: https://scienceunlimited.utoronto.ca/home/

Early Bird Deadline to Apply: April 30, 2015 Regular Deadline to Apply: June 15, 2015 Read More...

OAPT Conference Approaching

The OAPT Conference is quickly approaching!

Join us at the University of Guelph on May 7-9! Let's explore the exciting world of science and build a network of science and physics educators from K-12 to post-secondary!

Registration is open!


  • Keynote by Jay Ingram!
  • Active learning workshop by experienced teachers!
  • Discussion panels!
  • Update from University of Guelph researchers!

Why take part in a Physics Contest?

Shawn Brooks, UTS (University of Toronto Schools)

While they are in high school, I encourage all of my students to try their hand at a physics contest — at least once.

However, it must always be seen as a voluntary enrichment activity, as like any adjudicated performance, a contest creates anxiety. To help my student cope with this I share the following advice. First, you can choose your level of preparedness. You can simply show up and write it, or you can prepare, if you wish to. It is up to you. Second, if you are not completely satisfied with your results, you do not need to tell anybody your score. Conversely, take pride in your score if you do well (just don’t forget there was some luck involved). Third, the OAPT contest is linked directly to SPH3U curriculum. It has questions from the 5 units (Kinematics, Forces, etc.) and is a great review for the exam. And, any preparation students undertake in preparation for their final exam will counter the effects of anxiety later on.

I would like to encourage you to think about offering the OAPT contest to your students this year. It is free. It takes 60 minutes of class time and it might be the last physics contest they ever write!

Welcome to the New OAPT Newsletter

Lisa Lim-Cole, President of OAPT

The 2014/2015 academic year has been an exciting one with many new initiatives for the OAPT. The OAPT website has a new look and the upcoming conference hosted by the University of Guelph Department of Physics promises to be another opportunity to obtain inspiration for physics/science teaching and network with educators across Ontario (K-12 to Postsecondary). Additionally, the Newsletter team continues to find ways to improve our OAPT publication. 

Several years ago we shifted from a quarterly print newsletter to an electronic publication, which in addition to being environmentally conscious, allowed us to include colour images, and a greater variety of articles. The latest rendering of the newsletter offers the same articles, but with greater immediacy as you will no longer have to wait quarterly for your fix of physics! Articles will be published at newsletter.oapt.ca, and archived by date of publication. Categories and tags will enable you to quickly find articles of interest to you; and, the complete set of past issues are readily available. As we move to a more dynamic platform to share upcoming events, news and resources, we encourage all of you to contribute to the Newsletter!
©Ontario Association of Physics Teachers Contact the Newsletter