.boxed { border: 1px solid green ; }
Technology

Monthly Star Gazing Guide

Orbax, Production Specialist for Physics Education Content, Department of Physics, University of Guelph
orbax@uoguelph.ca

Greetings everyone! Orbax here. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been a member of the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph as an instructor for over 13 years now, and most recently as a production specialist in physics education content. Just like you, I love physics and I love teaching physics. I remember when I was young laying in my parents’ bed and poring through a book my father had from his university class on astronomy. I had very little understanding of what I was looking at in those pictures but I knew that the fantastic images in front of me showed a universe that laid just beyond the clouds, one that captured my imagination and that sent me down a path to becoming a physicist.

Since then my career has taken me to many places but I have never lost the fascination I’ve always held for outer space. I feel there are few things more galvanizing to scientists and interesting to the population as a whole than space exploration. As such, I’ve started a video series of monthly ‘Star Gazing Guides’. Very much in the tradition of the old Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer series (does anyone else remember those?), we take a look around the night sky for upcoming events of interest. The videos are very much aimed at the general population with little or no astronomy experience, but as a physics teacher, I try to use a portion of the video to slyly backdoor some actual physics education content. We talk about wavelengths of light, rotational axes, basic planetary interactions, and try to explain things like the solstice or an eclipse. Read More...

Fast Feedback

Felipe Almeida, Toronto District School Board
felipe.almeida@tdsb.on.ca

As every student in an introductory physics course (like SPH3U, the grade 11 physics course in Ontario) is untrained, all their practice should be portioned appropriately in both task and problem. I have created scaffolded practice problems for the grade 11 physics course in Google Forms so students can submit their responses for immediate feedback. The forms are intended to save time and make practice/‘homework’ more meaningful and rewarding for both teachers and students. A previous article presented the forms used for portioned practice, this article will present fast feedback.
Read More...

Portioned Practice

Felipe Almeida, Toronto District School Board
felipe.almeida@tdsb.on.ca

As every student in an introductory physics course (like SPH3U, the grade 11 physics course in Ontario) is untrained, all their practice should be portioned appropriately in both task and problem. I have created scaffolded practice problems for the grade 11 physics course in Google Forms so students can submit their responses for immediate feedback. The forms are intended to save time and make practice/‘homework’ more meaningful and rewarding for both teachers and students. This article presents the forms used for portioned practice, a future article will present fast feedback. Read More...

Using Quizlet with your Virtual Classes

Steven Fotheringham, Halton District School Board
fotheringhas@hdsb.ca

As you prepare your classes for the new quadmester, you will be looking for new ways for your students to make connections with one another. Whether your classes are in-person, virtual or blended, you can try Quizlet in your classes. I have had a lot of success integrating Quizlet Live into my virtual teaching practice. Here's a quick overview of how Quizlet can be used in virtual classes. Read More...

Review: Phyphox

Robert Prior, ePublisher of OAPT Newsletter
science@robertprior.ca

How do you conduct physics experiments remotely? Most students will not have access to much in the way of measuring equipment, but most of them have smartphones that contain a variety of sophisticated sensors. Phyphox is an award-winning app developed at RWTH Aachen University that allows access to these sensors for performing physics experiments. Read More...

How to Use a Green Screen for Teaching

Steven Fotheringham, Halton District School Board
fotheringhas@hdsb.ca

In August 2020, rather than to try to simultaneously juggle both the teaching of students online as well as face-to-face, I decided to focus my efforts on doing online teaching exclusively for the school year. It seemed like a better idea than the alternative, as our school board (HDSB) has expected teachers to teach to students online and face-to-face simultaneously.

This seemed like a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attempt something creative as well as to endeavor to solve the teaching requirement of the foreseeable future.

After months of experimenting with various settings, a solution presented itself that would allow me to superimpose my image onto a screen. This method worked with all video conferencing software such as Brightspace's Virtual Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, etc. In this article, I will show you the physical setup of my virtual classroom, as well as the free software used to superimpose my webcam over my virtual blackboard. Read More...

Review: The PocketLab Voyager Bluetooth Sensor

Robert Prior, teacher at Agincourt CI
robert.prior@tdsb.on.ca

For years we’ve used computer-connected sensors to do physics. They can be extremely useful, but are expensive and require computers (which in my school are a limited resource). I discovered a pair of cool projects on Kickstarter that solve these problems: the PocketLab Voyager and PocketLab Air, made by Myriad Sensors. I just received my PocketLab Air, so in this article I’ll describe the PocketLab Voyager. Read More...

Marking Tests Faster

Robert Prior, teacher at Agincourt CI
robert.prior@tdsb.on.ca

Many of us find marking tests a necessary chore. It has to be done, but it’s drudgery. This article describes how I use an app and the Ontario Achievement Charts to mark tests 2-3 times faster, as well as analyze the results. Read More...

Intersection Traffic Signals: Coding to Control Series and Parallel Circuits in Grade 12 College Physics and Grade 11 University Physics

Tim McCarthy, Teacher, St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School, Oakville, ON
mccarthyt@hcdsb.org

Coding is an important skill for physics students to learn. Grade 12 College and Grade 11 University physics students must build series and parallel circuits, so why not use coding to control them and model an everyday, real-world situation? This can be done by first using TinkerCAD simulations, followed by construction of the simulation using real components; Arduino UNO R3 microcontroller boards, breadboards, LEDs, resistors and wires. Students have a high level of satisfaction as they complete a task that is brand new to most and learn skills that they are likely to need in their post-secondary education. Read More...

Quizlet Live!

Steve Fotheringham, OAPT Treasurer
fotheringhams@hdsb.ca

Are you looking for a quick way to assess your class’ understanding of a topic, a way to easily integrate technology into your lessons or a way to break up the routine of your class? If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, let me introduce you to Quizlet. Read More...

EdPuzzle

Adam Mills, OAPT Workshop Coordinator, Teacher - Assumption College Catholic High School
adam-mills@wecdsb.on.ca

One tool that has really helped change the look of my Physics classroom is Edpuzzle. https://edpuzzle.com/ Edpuzzle is a website that allows teachers to embed questions within videos already created from YouTube or other sources. I find this tool particularly useful to help minimize the amount of direct instruction that I am giving my students in class. This allows my students more time to participate in richer educational strategies such as peer instruction, cooperative group problem solving and inquiry based learning. Read More...

Mirrors and Ray Diagrams App for Grade 10 Science

Matthew Craig, Teacher at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto
matt.simon.craig@gmail.com

I’ve been programming a suite of PC/MAC/Android simulations designed for teaching the Ontario curriculum for science and physics. Previously, I wrote about a Metal Leaf Electroscope Simulator.

In this article I am introducing a simulation I use to teach mirrors and ray diagrams in grade 10 optics. PhET has a simulation for refraction and one for lenses but there is nothing for mirrors, so I developed this simulation for grade 10 optics. Read More...

New Physics Videos from the University of Guelph

Joanne O’Meara, Professor and Associate Chair University of Guelph
omeara@uoguelph.ca
Orbax:
orbax@uoguelph.ca

As part of a recent endeavour of at the University of Guelph to flip the classroom, we have created a library of YouTube videos to accompany one of our first year courses: Physics for the Biological Sciences. Read More...

DIY Simulations

Tasha Richardson, OCT
tasha.richardson@tdsb.on.ca

Like many physics teachers in Ontario, I have used pre-boxed learning simulations: PhET, by University of Colorado; Gizmos, by ExploreLearning, and so on. But after having a conversation with a former student, I now have students build their own simulations. I like to ask former students what I could have done better to help prepare them for their post-secondary program. The student in question shared that his engineering program required students to run a simulation of any experiment they were intending to perform prior to doing so in the physical lab.

Note: This article is a summary of a session at the upcoming 2018 OAPT Conference. (Session B: Friday, May 11, 11:15 am) Read More...

Metal Leaf Electroscope Simulator

Matthew Craig, Teacher at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto
matt.simon.craig@gmail.com

I’ve been programming a suite of PC/MAC/Android simulations designed for teaching the Ontario curriculum for science and physics. One topic for which I have never had an effective simulation is the metal-leaf electroscope for grade 9 science, and revisited briefly in grade 12 physics.

The electroscope simulation I have developed is a very simple simulation that can be used to show induced charge separation, charging by contact, charging by induction and grounding. Read More...

Integrating Google Quizzes Into Your Teaching Practice

Steve Fotheringham, OAPT Exhibit Hall Coordinator, Teacher Oakville Trafalgar High School
Fotheringham@hdsb.ca

As with most teachers, I struggle to provide enough feedback for my students so that they can gauge their understanding of the material. As well, I receive emails on a regular basis from the parents of my students asking about their progress in class and they expect detailed answers. To resolve both challenges, I have turned to Google Quizzes for help. Read More...

Advanced Curve Fitting

Eric Haller, Secondary Short Term Occasional Teacher, Peel District School Board
rickyhaller@hotmail.com

In many experiments students collect two-variable data, make scatter plots, and then try to find the line of best fit so they can talk about how two variables are related. Microsoft Excel has a built-in function that readily does this. Read More...

Webinars and Video Calls in the Classroom

Stacey Joyce, Program Manager at Partners In Research Canada (PIR)

I’m sure that you employ a variety of tools and strategies in your classroom, including inquiry activities, independent or group projects, “assessments as, for and of” learning… the list goes on. But how do you and your students answer the questions they come up with during or after the initial inquiry activity? What types of resources do you teach students to use for their independent research? How do you introduce the students to career options that use Physics?

Here’s where video calls and webinars come in, and don’t think that you can’t afford these options — they’re free from Partners In Research Canada (PIR)! Read More...

GIFs in the Classroom

Eric Haller, OCT
rickyhaller@hotmail.com

It’s autumn, and maybe you’re looking for a new way to impress your physics students this semester. I find it easy to amaze my class by using various forms of technology in my lessons. Often our students don’t realize how tech savvy physicists need to be, picturing us using chalkboards to give lectures and not using supercomputers at CERN or developing video games which use physics simulations. Ok maybe I’ve never been to CERN or made a video game, but I can make my own GIFs. In this article I’m going to show you some GIFs you can use in your lessons, and also teach you how to make your own GIFs. Read More...

Doing a 180 on the issue of cell phones

Christine Hudecki , Teacher Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School
christine.hudecki@wellingtoncdsb.ca

“Phones are a distraction”. “Teens don’t have the self-discipline to have a phone in class”. “It’s best to 100% ban the cell phones from the classroom”.

That was my attitude for many years. Ten years ago when I started teaching high school, there were only 1 or 2 students in each class with a mobile phone. Now it’s 1 or 2 students in each class that do not have a phone. Ten years ago cellular phones could make voice calls and send text messages. Now standard software and free apps enable students to do a wide range of useful activities: take pictures, record voices, capture short videos, set up a calendar, plan/manage their time, set up reminders and alarms, create to-do lists, do math calculations, check current events and of course, snapchat and Instagram their friends. I decided to start my new school year with the goal of frequently integrating the use of smart phones into my grade 10 science and grade 11 physics lessons in meaningful ways. Read More...

Review: ZipGrade App for iOS and Android

Robert Prior, teacher at Agincourt CI
robert.prior@tdsb.on.ca

Are you tired of marking multiple-choice tests? Put away your overlays and highlighters, download ZipGrade to your smartphone, and not only will you save time — you'll also learn more about what your students are really thinking! Read More...

Seeing and Photographing High Speed Events

Martin Fischer, Science Education Branch, Ontario Science Centre
martin.fischer@osc.on.ca

See the shards of a popping balloon, watch water drops suspended in the air or witness glass shattering — all of it seemingly frozen in time. Some of these events last less than one thousandth of a second but you can see them with your own eyes, thanks to the persistence of vision and a homemade sound trigger that releases a camera flash at exactly the right moment. Read More...

Optics, Density, Holography, and Curve-Fitting

Dianne Ness, Humberside C.I.

Four demonstrations from Dianne Ness. Read More...
©Ontario Association of Physics Teachers Contact the Newsletter