North Delta Secondary Physics teacher Favian Yee received an unanticipated letter in the mail this week.
“I was nominated for the (Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP)) award back in 2014,” said Yee. “But (after 2014) came and went, I never thought much about it afterwards.
Given to one teacher in each of the five regions of Canada, the award recognizes excellence in teaching physics in Canadian high schools or CEGEPs and to encourage and promote physics at the high school/CEGEP level in Canada.
Yee is the 2016 recipient for British Columbia and Yukon.
Like most teachers, Yee admitted he is honoured for the acknowledgment, but that his work isn’t about awards, it’s about the students.
“I was absolutely surprised about receiving the CAP Excellence in Teaching High School Physics this year,” said Yee. “There are so many great physics teachers out there, so I am honoured that I was chosen to be the 2016 recipient for B.C.-Yukon.”
Yee has been teaching science in the Delta School District for 20 years. He started teaching physics in 2001 at South Delta Secondary and served as department head in 2005 before leaving the position to serve as the District Science Coordinator for Secondary Science in 2006.
There he was able to work with teachers to usher in the new science curriculum.
As a coordinator, Yee also started serving on the B.C. Science Teachers’ Association (currently as secretary). At the same time, he was also asked to serve as a founding committee member of the South Fraser Regional Science Fair (currently as chair).
“I started teaching the physics program at North Delta Secondary School in 2011 and have been serving as their science department head for the last five years, working with an amazing set of colleagues whose goal is to improve student engagement and scientific literacy,” he said.
In that time, the program has grown to a full seven blocks for a school of more than 1,000 students.
Yee believes strongly in hands-on experiential learning and gives his students the opportunity to see and feel the physics they’ve learned about each year at Playland. There students apply their knowledge of the physics pertaining the motion, energy and momentum of the amusement park rides.
“For the physics 12s, my approach is similar to Iron Chef,” said Yee with a grin. “Where students are given a few required items and they have to use their skills and understanding of the concepts to solve the problem with whatever resources are available.”
In his physics classes, students are often given inquiry challenges that prompt them to find solutions using the concepts they have been taught.
“I do believe that in addition to teaching a successful physics program, my work to engage students in science inquiry and support of science teachers were also influential factors to my receiving this award.”
To learn more about the Canadian Association of Physicists and the Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics, visit cap.ca/