SNOLAB staff and scientists were delighted to welcome Karen Kennedy-Allin, the 2017 recipient of the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Excellence in Teaching award, to site this December. As part of the award, recipients visit a participating research institution for a hands-on learning experience. The goal is to immerse teachers in exciting, leading-edge physics so they can bring their experiences and enthusiasm back to their students; promoting physics at the highschool level and encouraging students to consider the possibilities in the field of physics.
Karen teaches at Weyburn Comprehensive School in Saskatchewan and is well known as an innovative teacher who works to make learning physics exciting. She strives to connect the material in class to pop culture, careers and to everyday life. Her time at SNOLAB was spent learning about the lab and job shadowing with physicists, engineers and technicians to learn about the experiment programme.
After a general tour of the lab Karen spent time at SNO+, the largest experiment in the lab seeking to learn more about the nature of neutrinos. She shadowed the SNO+ detector operator to learn about how the experiment works and to understand the calibration process. Later she spent time with the SNO+ engineering team to see the commissioning process that was underway in the scintillator plant; where the large volume of target fluid will be purified before being loaded into the detector. DEAP-3600, the large cryogenic argon detector currently searching for dark matter, was the focus of another day. She spent time with the DEAP team understanding the detector components and the data acquisition process. Attention was also paid to the support services such as the low level radioactivity measurement lab, chemistry lab, machine shop and even the cleaning process.
Karen took time to connect the science at SNOLAB to the concepts she teaches. She will be knitting these experiences into her coursework to shed a light on the process and people behind the science for her students. Learn more about Karen’s visit at her class blog where she detailed her experience each day!
More about the CAP Excellent in Teaching Award:
The CAP Excellence in Teaching award was introduced by CAP in 2010 to encourage and promote physics at the high school/CEGEP level in Canada. In addition to an educational grant, recipients have the opportunity to participate in a one-week training program at a participating Canadian research institution. The awards are given annually in each of the five regions of Canada; BC/Yukon, Prairies/NWT, Ontario, Quebec/Nunavut, and Atlantic Canada. Learn more about the awards by visiting the CAP website.