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First Impressions of ChatGPT

Robert Prior, ePublisher of OAPT Newsletter

The new artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, from OpenAI, has been in the news lately, with many pearls clutched about the possibilities of students using it to cheat, while boosters have proclaimed that it is poised to revolutionize teaching.

I’ve spent some time playing with it, and at the moment it doesn’t match the hyperbole of either side. Read More...

Skill Fluency and Memory Consolidation in Grade 9 Science

By Chris Meyer, Past-President, OAPT

Does it seem like students are getting slower and slower when working on a quiz? Do they behave like a gas, expanding to take up all the time for the test no matter how much time you provide? Why is this happening? The answer to this is likely complex. Students are more anxious and risk averse than in the past and are desperate to avoid “losing” any marks. These are cultural factors that are very hard for us to control. But another factor is that we don't train students to be fast! Speed or fluency is seldom an explicit goal of our science instruction. Read More...

Building LED “Candles” for Grade 10 Optics

Richard Taylor, retired Physics teacher, Ottawa Carleton District School Board

“Brrrriiinngg! Hello, Richard? I was just cutting up some candles to use in the grade 10 optics labs and I got thinking about those cute little LED things you made. Do you think you could make some more for me?”

Certainly I remembered the grade 10 optics labs! Carefully prepping all those candles and optical benches, carefully priming the students to use the candles. Turn out the classroom lights and then the chaos begins. Matches breaking, fingers and hair getting singed, wax spilled on lab benches and floors (amazingly slippery!), images too dim to be seen, and which way up is that candle flame image anyway?

Several years ago, I came up with a better idea: mounting a red and a green LED on top of a 9 V battery. The LEDs produce about the same amount of light as a candle, and having the two different colours makes it easy to see whether an image is upright or inverted. After building 15 more of these, I thought it was about time to share the instructions so that other teachers can build their own. Read More...

Virtual Physics Hour is back!

The Ontario Association of Physics Teachers (OAPT) is excited to bring back the Virtual Physics Hours series due to popular demand! In addition to our spring conference, the OAPT will be hosting virtual evening PD sessions for educators to drop in, learn, and share with colleagues. Session 1 will be held on Wednesday December 7th at 7:00pm EST.

Our first session will be focused on Destreaming Grade 9 and feature a panel of incredible educators who each are experts in different areas. Andrea McPhee, Sean Jackson , Chris Meyer and Ashley McCarl Palmer will all share insights into their own current grade 9 classrooms and answer your questions.
  • Andrea (@ms_mcphee) brings a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to bringing technology into the classroom.
  • Sean (@mrjacksondotca) is a specialist in teaching tools and is an expert when it comes to choosing the right teaching strategy to engage learners.
  • Chris (@ChrisMeyerSci) is well known for his thoughtful scaffolding and collaborative inquiry focused classroom.
  • Ashley (@phsyicswithmcp) has done a deep dive into assessment and grading strategies, shifting the focus back on to learning.
Sign up is via this form. Given this session is not primarily physics focused, any high school science educator is welcome to join, so please pass this along to anyone who may be interested. A zoom link will be sent to those that signed up closer to the date.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

The OAPT Physics Hour Committee

2023 Conference: Call for Presentations

We are back! The 2023 OAPT Conference will take place May 4-6, 2023 at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo.

The search is on for presenters. Do you have an interesting lesson, a novel teaching idea, a hands-on activity or pedagogical tips that you would like to share? Please consider submitting a proposal for a presentation or a workshop that touches upon any aspect of physics teaching.

The workshops will be offered during four blocks on Friday (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) and two blocks on Saturday morning. Presenters can choose the length of session they want to present in. Please note: Presenters receive a special discounted conference rate.

We offer three formats: 15-minute presentation, 25-minute mini-workshop and 60-minute workshop.

Deadline for presentation proposals: December 10, 2022 Please submit proposals here: 

Questions? Contact Saara Naudts or Olga Michalopoulos (Conference Co-Chairs).
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