OAPT Ontario Association of Physics Teachers
Award Winner


Roberta Tevlin

Roberta Tevlin



2010 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Ontario)

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2010 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Ontario) is awarded to Ms. Roberta Tevlin, Danforth Collegiate & Technical Institute (Toronto, ON), for her work as a pioneer in innovative teaching methods in physics that have influenced not only the students she interacts with year after year, but also many physics teachers in the Ontario region and beyond. For students she will provide "hands-on" learning experiences in physics that include devising ways of getting an LP record to move down a corridor at maximal speed and modelling a quantum eraser. For teachers she has given numerous presentations at workshops that have encouraged them to move from a passive teacher-centred approach to an active student-centred one. She has shown outstanding leadership in organizing science fairs, mentoring teachers, running physics camps, speaking at teacher workshops, and writing journal articles about physics teaching. Her tireless energy and innovative pedagogical approach to physics teaching make her a worthy recipient of the CAP High School/CEGEP Physics Teacher Award.


Roberta Tevlin believes that there are many ways to explore and play with physics. Roberta founded a tradition of mass participation in a Sci-Tech Fair at Danforth C.T.I. For the month of February each year the students in her classes get a break from listening to the teacher and have the chance to explore in depth a problem of their own choosing. The most successful are selected to present their projects at the Metro-wide Sci-Tech Fair where many have earned medals and a dozen have been selected to continue to the National Sci-Tech Fair.


For the students with a practical bent, Roberta has developed a two-year interdisciplinary course in Engineering Design. In this course the students apply the principles of physics in a series of engineering contests, competing in small teams against classmates to design and build the best hovercraft, speed boat, glider, trebuchet or hot air balloon. Roberta’s students have won awards in the Canada’s Wonderland Roller Coaster Contest, OCAD's Sumo Robot Contest and the Canada FIRST Robotics Competition.


Many students are fascinated by the weird and wonderful ideas modern physics and their applications. Unfortunately these topics are not well understood by many teachers. Roberta has developed a collection of resources for teachers that allow students to explore these topics using hands-on activities. They throw water bottles to understand the Equivalence Principle of General Relativity. They use laser pointers and polarizing filters to create quantum erasers. They draw spacetime diagrams to help them visualize the effects of Special Relativity more clearly.


Roberta is a giver. She works tirelessly with beginning and experienced teachers, helping them to incorporate the hands-on modern physics resources that she has developed. She writes articles, gives workshops to and has developed a website http://roberta.tevlin.ca/ to make these resources widely available.