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Conference 2020

McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Physics & Astronomy

Conference Cancelled

On behalf of the OAPT conference committee, I regret to announce that we are cancelling the OAPT conference at McMaster University for May 2020. The combination of drawn-out contract negotiations and the spread of the COVID-19 virus has brought about too much uncertainty and has overwhelmed our "hope for the best" strategy. During the March break, we will begin the refunding process for those who have already paid.  I would like to thank everyone on our conference team for the great work they have done - all the nuts and bolts were in place for a fantastic conference! Stay tuned for our regular email updates from the OAPT newsletter; we will continue sharing helpful teaching ideas and will work to keep everyone connected this year.

Please stay tuned for our plans in 2021!


Chris Meyer

OAPT President

Micheal DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery

May 21-23, 2020


Join the OAPT and our hosts, the McMaster University  Department of Physics, for our annual conference featuring workshops from award- winning high school physics teachers and university physics faculty.

Detailed session descriptions and conference information are available here.

Teachers from District 20 (Halton) Teacher Bargaining Unit are eligible for funding here.

Funding is available for first time attendees and those traveling from Northern Ontario.

About Contract Negotiations:

We are all hoping to have contracts settled by May, but in the unlikely event that they are not and we cannot run the conference, we will refund everyone's registration fees. In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to register and pay so we can plan the conference for the appropriate number of people.  This would be extremely helpful for us, so let's cross our fingers and please sign up!


Thursday, May 21




4:30 - 6:00pm



6:00 - 7:30pm



7:30 - 7:40pm

Welcome from McMaster and OAPT (Sara Cormier and Chris Meyer)


8:00 - 9:00pm

  • McMaster Nuclear Reactor (30 people)
  • W.J. McCallion Planetarium (35 people)
  • 3D GeoCAVE (Centre for Advanced Visualization and Exploration, 30 people)

9:00 - 11:00 pm

Social: The Phoenix Bar and Grill (

Friday, May 22





8:00 -8:45am

Coffee and Exhibitors

8:45 – 9:45

Keynote Address: Dying to be beautiful? Using medical physics tools to answer a historical mystery

Fiona McNeill, McMaster University


Sessions in blue have a university focus.

Session A

10:00 – 10:45

Physics Teacher Preparation at Hubei University
Weining Wu
Yiming Ding
Daniel McIsaac

A: Tangible Waves & Sound

B: Why do you sound like Mickey Mouse when you inhale helium?

A: Saara Naudts

B: James Ball

A: Teaching grade 11 and 12 Physics in the same classroom

B: Twitter part 2: sorting it all out

A: Olga Smakhtina

B: Andrea McPhee

Pitch Black!

Miranda Carlson-Strain

STEM Club and Travel

David Page

10:45 – 11:15

Break and Exhibitors

Session B

11:15 – 12:15

A: Closing the Gender Gap in High School Physics

B: Meta-demonstration: Choosing a lecture demo approach

A: Eamonn Corrigan

B: Carolyn Sealfon

A: Radon Gas: Ionization, tumor formation by alpha particles.

B: Debunking Radiation Myths

A: David Gervais

B: Mona AbuSharkh

Time Dilation and Detector Physics (PI)

Damian Pope

The freedom of not knowing the right answer

Tasha Richardson

KABLAMMO! Physics demos for the classroom


12:15 – 1:30

Lunch and Exhibitors

Session C

1:30 – 2:45

Media Numeracy: What Story Do the Numbers Tell?

David Venus

A: Developing Transferable Skills in the Physics Classroom

B: Cognitive Apprenticeship: Teaching Students to Think Like an Expert

A: Miranda Schmidt

B: Chris Meyer

Going Gradeless in Senior Physics

Ashley McCarl Palmer

Fields are Real: Visualizing Fields (PI)

Damian Pope

Laura Pankratz

Hack your curriculum with Astrobiology

Libby Boulianne

The search for dark matter

Blaire Flynn

Chelsea Pike

2:45 – 3:15

Break and Exhibitors

Session D

3:15 – 4:30


Carolyn Sealfon

Problem Solving Challenge: Thor’s Hammer!

Mike Doig

Herman Lam

NEW Black Hole Physics (PI)

Kelly Foyle

Damian Pope

A: Towards Open Education in Physics at Ontario Tech University

B: Integrating computation into undergrad physics curriculum

A: Joseph MacMillan, Rupinder Brar

B: Matt Steffler, Michael Massa

Connecting Physics & Human Homeostasis - Online Case Study

Amanda Wilson

4:30 – 4:45

Plenary Session – The Day’s Wrap Up

4:45 - late


Saturday, May 23





Session E

9:00 – 10:10

Phun with Fizx

John Caranci, OISE/UT

Defining Quantum Uncertainty (IQC)

John Donohue, IQC

A: Geoengineering 101

B: Circuits - Predict, Observe, Explain, Reflect

A: Robert Prior

B: Alasdair Paterson

10:10 – 10:30


Session F

10:30 – 11:40

A: Exoplanetology for the rest of us

B: Balloon Astrophysics

A: Andrea McPhee

B: Vjera Miovic

How Strong of a Vacuum Can You Make with Your Mouth?

Eric Haller

Spacetime Diagrams in Special Relativity

Adam Mills

11:50 – 12:30

OAPT General Meeting

We are looking for feedback on the conference and for volunteers to help the organization. Everyone is Welcome!



Our registration desk and the conference sessions will be held at the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery:


If you are driving, but not staying in residence, parking passes are available for purchase at the same discounted price of $12/day as those staying in residence.  Passes may be purchased at the Commons Building, at the location shown on the above map.


The conference offers a Thursday evening dinner; and coffee, snacks, and lunch on Friday. Breakfast is provided only with accommodation registrations. The Friday evening dinner will take place at local restaurants. Signup for Friday dinner locations at the conference Friday morning.


Accommodations for the conference are at Les Prince Hall, with a selection of rooms for single/double occupancy at a cost of $60 or $40 per night, respectively, including a hot breakfast.  The breakfast location is at the Peter George Centre, a new building across from the Commons Building.

Each room has its own bathroom and shower. There are two common/shared kitchen facilities on each floor, with stove, fridge, kettle, toaster, and microwave, but no cookware, dishes, or cutlery.  Please note that residence registration for check-in/out is at a separate building, the Commons Building.

Registration for accommodations is available here.

The map above has been modified to highlight the Commons Building (Service Centre for check-in/out), Les Price Hall Residence, Michael DeGroote Centre (conference sessions), parking areas closest to residence, and the Peter George Centre (breakfast), along with suggested driving and walking routes connecting these locations.

Parking is available to guests staying overnight at Les Price Hall, at a reduced cost of $12/day. Parking passes can be purchased at the residence registration desk upon arrival (Commons Building). (Please note that guests staying from Thursday afternoon to Saturday will need parking passes for each of the three days.)


The exhibit area welcomes vendors, non-profit charitable organizations, and academic institutions to showcase science educational resources and services. The exhibit area is in a central location where coffee and lunch breaks will be held. Break times are extended for teachers to visit exhibitors and vendors (see the schedule above for exact times). 

The exhibit area will include one 6' x 2.5' table at a cost of $250. One extra table can be obtained for an additional $100. Non-profit, charitable organizations will not be charged a fee. Organizations who are identified sponsors of the OAPT Conference will not be charged a fee. The Exhibit area will be set up for Friday May 22, 2020 only. Set up will be made available by 7:00 am, with participants arriving by 8:00 am. The last coffee break is 2:45 pm and the day ends at 5:00 pmIf you wish to obtain an exhibitor table(s), please fill our exhibitor information form. The number of tables is limited by space. Please sign up early to assure availability. 

First-Time Subsidy 

The OAPT believes that encouraging first-time attendance will create a new generation of teachers who will want to attend annually, having learned the professional value that the conference delivers.  To encourage FIRST TIME ATTENDEES, we will cover their supply teacher costs for Friday May 22nd. This offer will be made available on a first-come first-serve basis until the available funds have been allocated. Register for the conference and complete this form for the travel subsidy. The OAPT will contact you to confirm that you are approved for the subsidy. Initially, the board pays for the supply teacher and after you attend OAPT Conference, the school board will send us an invoice for the supply cost and OAPT will reimburse the cost directly. 

Travel Subsidy 

The OAPT recognizes that teachers in northern Ontario lack many of the PD opportunities that are available in the south and have much higher travel costs. For the 9th year running, the OAPT will be covering the travel costs for teachers north of Algonquin Park. We would like to thank the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics for helping us to provide this subsidy. To apply, please complete this form.  

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