Joseph Muise – Inclusion and Achievement in Science

Year: 2021 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

St. Thomas More Collegiate
Grades 11 and 12 - physics & astronomy
Burnaby, British Columbia


“Mr. Muise goes beyond being an excellent teacher. The energy that he puts in to teaching is rooted in a deep care for his students - both as people and as learners. The connection he makes with his students brings them to develop an interest in science and make it an integral part of their lives. He challenges his students to perform at their highest potential.”


Teaching Approach

One of Joe’s goals in the classroom is to improve the general scientific literacy of all his students, not just those going on in Science. He feels that is important to have an informed population that is better able to distinguish between pseudo-science and evidence-based research; that can make informed decisions about big issues facing society. To that end, he dedicates part of his class time to developing students’ ability to assess quality resources, and with that their critical thinking.

In the Classroom

Fifteen years ago only twenty percent of the senior physics class at STMC was female. Joe realized that the science culture in the school needed changing and went to work promoting physics to female students. Joe has noted changes in the classroom dynamics with the increase in female students. Female representation in Joe’s senior physics class has been steadily increased, reaching sixty-one percent in 2020.

Joe’s classroom is very much an illustration of the concept of applied science. He relates stories of how he has observed physics in his daily life and encourages his students to find examples in their lives. He uses examples of physics he sees in situations outside the classroom and challenges his students to analyse how it applies to the concepts from class.

Outstanding Achievements

In 2019, Joe approached the leadership of the US-based STEP UP (Supporting Teachers in Encouraging the Pursuit of Undergraduate Physics) project about adding a Canadian ambassador to their program. STEP UP lessons are built to promote dialogue in the classroom to change the culture to be more supportive of female students. He has reached out to ministries of education across the country and collected statistics about gender representation in Canadian high school physics classes (which will be published this year by the Canadian Association of Physicists). Joe is now an Advocate Lead, working with an international group of teachers to train them on the STEP UP lessons, and help them adapt the lessons for use in their countries.

Joe works to find experiential learning opportunities for his students. He has lead four groups through the Canadian Light Source's Students on the Beamlines Program. Through Joe’s leadership and support, STMC was first Canadian high school team to take part in the European Space Agency's Can-Sat Competition. Joe mentored and accompanied a team of five senior students to Bologna, Italy in late June 2019 to launch a satellite that they designed and built. They are the first Canadian team to have their CanSat launched by the ESA and were awarded second place in the technical report competition.

Get in touch!

St. Thomas More Collegiate
7450 12th Ave
Burnaby, BC V3N 2K1
(604) 521-1801
Facebook: @StThomasMoreCollegiate
Twitter: @STMCBurnaby