doug de la matter

bio photo

Partial Resumé

Who is this person?

Since (ouch!) 1973, Doug has been a teacher of Chemistry, Physics and other science courses at Madawaska Valley D.H.S in Barry's Bay, Ontario, 300 km northeast of Toronto, attracted there by the chance to teach Chemistry and by the school’s class set of canoes.

He never found a compelling answer to the question:

"Why leave?"

Over the years, Doug has written a weekly science column for the local newspaper, and published numerous articles in Chem 13 News and elsewhere. He has served on the organizing committee for two Chem Ed conferences, and has given presentations on science teaching at Chem Ed, BCCE and STAO conferences.

In his day job, he has taught science courses at every level and grade in the Ontario Secondary School system and has marked over 45 000 lab reports at night.

In 1996 Doug was the recipient of the Science Teacher's Association of Ontario's Irwin Talesnick Excellence In Science Teaching Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the teaching of science.

In April 2001 he was presented with an Award of Excellence by the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa, recognizing " a teacher who went above and beyond to make a difference in students' lives."

In June 2001, Doug finally "graduated" from High School and found truth in the rumour that life can be just as busy when you don't have a steady job! He gave the keynote Reg Friesen Memorial Lecture at the Toronto Chem Ed Conference in August 2001. That fall, he worked with the folks at Nelson-Thompson Learning, reviewing and writing support materials for new Chemistry texts. In October, he presented a paper at the New Jersey State Science Convention and in November, he presented another at STAO 2001 in Toronto. A week later he went to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield CT. to make chemistry look and sound like fun for two groups of about 200 elementary school students.

In February of 2002, he was a guest lecturer for the 47th Berzeliusdagarna at the University of Stockholm, a series of lectures for outstanding science students presented by the Swedish Chemical Society. He could not have done it without the help of his wonderful host, Christer Gruvberg ( . Tack så mycket, Christer! After a sidetrip to Spain to visit with a former student and her family, (and England, and Germany), Doug made it back in time to assemble the questions for the Merck State Science Contest (Chemistry) held in May in New Jersey.

2002 also included presentations at the BCCE conference in Bellingham Washington and at the STAO conference in Toronto.

After writing another Merck State Science Contest, and talking to students at Hudson HS in Quebec, he gave a 90 minute presentation to 800 Science teachers for Flinn Scientific's "Morning of Chemistry" at the annual NSTA conference in Philadelphia in March 2003.

In the summer, he presented at three events during ChemEd '03 at Auburn U. in Auburn, AL, then went to Greeley CO as a guest lecturer at a session of the Flinn Institute for High School Chemistry at UNCO where he enjoyed sharing the stage with Lee Merek, Jesse Berenstein and DeWayne Leineman.

October found Doug in the tropical climate of Houston TX, where he presented a session and a banquet speech at the CAST conference, thanks to the hard work and hospitality of Roxie Allen. November meant another STAO conference and presenting two more Scienceworks Electricity Workshops.

2004 began with a presentation at Westwood HS in Hudson QC sponsored by the Organix Foundation and a Plenary Speaker talk at the Ottawa Carleton Science Teachers' PA Day.
Another Chemistry Contest was written for the New Jersey State Science Day and the rest of the spring was spent tech. writing about Magnetism for  Indigo Instruments. This also led to a presentation at STAO 2004 about various experiments and demonstrations involving neodymium magnets. (See the Physics link on the home page.) He also worked at refining experiments for a Swimming Pool Chemistry Kit for Flinn Scientific and made ongoing contributions to the STAO Virtual Library. In the autumn, he presented a talk to Renfrew County HS Teachers on Teaching in Three Dimensions and contributed to a science teaching workshop. The STAO conference produced more ideas for the Virtual Library.... which led to more work.

2005 started with a full day PD workshop for the staff of L.B Pearson School Board at Westwood HS in Hudson, and yet another Chemistry contest authoring stint for the New Jersey State Science Day. Preparation for Chem Ed '05 led him to develop a talk on experiments to do using cdn. coins and further refined his ideas about teaching three-dimensional learners. Will he ever get time to let his interest in photography "develop"?

2006 began as did 2005, with a motivational presentation for students at Westwood HS. and another Contest created for Merck State Science Day in New Jersey. He was appointed Chair of the STAO Virtual Library Committee and thus became a member of the STAO Board of Directors. In late spring, he was invited to Gotenborg University in Sweden to give a talk on 3-Dimensional Learning and visited Berlin to give a talk on Chemical Demonstrations to high school teachers in an outreach program of Rostock University. A pleasant side trip to visit his daughter who is studying Early Baroque Music in London and a stay with friends in Hoylake, site of the '06 British Open, made his return home just in time to bid goodbye to the annual Blackfly season. Through the spring and summer, he had worked with Lew Brubacher writing an article: "Enrich Your Classes with Canadian Coins" which was published in the September '06 Chem 13 News. November brought another hectic visit to the annual STAO Conference where he helped present two workshops on Teaching Electricity and one session highlighting teacher-contributions to STAO's Virtual Library.

2007 began with preparations for a presentation of the STAO Scienceworks Workshop at the Faculty of Education at Queens U. in Kingston. After a short rest, more consultation work showed up for the Merck New Jersey State Science Day Contests. Through out the Spring lots of time was spent creating and assembling the pictures for "Nature: Close-Up and Personal", his first solo photography exhibit in the South of 60 Gallery in Barry's Bay which ran for the month of August. The Comments Book was so full of compliments that he applied to Algonquin Park Gallery for a reprise in 2008. Giclee "paintings" from the show were sold to visitors in Ontario and as far away as British Columbia. The summer was also filled with managing a Summer Project for STAO which managed to review and post over 700 items to the Elementary section of the Virtual Library. Once again, November was busy with STAO business and co-presenting sessions of the "Electricity Survival Guide" Workshop at the annual Conference.

Will 2008 be more restful? With a talk scheduled the OCSB PD-day and two student-teacher workshops in Ottawa and another photo-show scheduled for August in the Algonquin Park Visitor's Centre, the chances are looking slim (as usual)!

Doug De La Matter August, 2007