Science Discovery Squad Volunteer Program
Make sure you scroll all the way down to see the many opportunities available!
Updates for 2023-2024: See new information listed in purple.
The SEP Digital Library
Links and/or information relevant to the Science Discovery Squad Volunteer Program within the digital library include include:
- Volunteer Demonstration Videos and Hands-on Activities (Click on the third tab of the worksheet.)
- Amazing Air Pressure – Gr. 6 Air and Flight
- Floating Egg Experiment – 3 versions with connections to Gr. 2, 5 and 7/8 Matter and Energy
- Pulleys – Gr. 4 Structures and Mechanisms
- Light - Refraction - Gr. 4 Light and Sound
- The Plasma Ball – Gr. 5 Matter
- The Van de Graaff Generator – Gr. 6 Electricity and Electrical Devices
- Canada Agriculture Day presenter videos
- Taylor Talks Environmental Science - see past presentations (Click on the fourth sheet in the workbook)
- Additonal Agriculture links suggested by our Canada Agriculture Day volunteers (Click on fifth sheet of the workbook)
SDS Virtual Library Available anytime, at your convenience.
Taylor Talks Environmental Science Sessions
Taylor Maris is an Environmental Engineer who is excited to bring her passion for environmental awareness to our students through a series of monthly virtual sessions called “Taylor Talks".
Each Google Meet session will address curriculum topics in a different grade. Participation for each session will be capped at 90 classrooms to maintain quality streaming. A tentative month/grade schedule for 2023-2024 is posted below.
Invitations to sign up will be sent directly to grade specific teachers in both the LKDSB and SCCDSB, (through their respective elementary program departments,) in the appropriate month.
October - Gr. 1
Novemeber - Gr. 4
December - Kindergarten
January - Gr. 5
February - Gr. 7
March - Gr. 3
April - Gr. 6
May - Gr. 2
June - Gr. 8
Wonder Wednesday Science Sessions
Similar to the format used for Taylor Talks, SDS Volunteers and Special Guest Volunteers will offer a new virtual science learning opportunity each month.
As events are scheduled, invitations to sign up will be sent directly to grade appropriate teachers in both the LKDSB and SCCDSB through their respective elementary program departments..
National Engineering Month Activities
Truss Building Challenge:
In conjunction with the local chapters of the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO), the Science Education Partnership will once again offer schools the chance to participate in an activity celebrating National Engineering Month.
This hands-on structural engineering activity will be offered in two formats.
- Virtual Activity - With the help of instructional videos created by PEO volunteers, students will work individually to design, draw, and build a truss structure from craft sticks and white glue. The classroom teacher will perform in-class testing using a specially designed test rig that safely allows students to measure the load as force is applied to the structure. Teachers can work through this activity at their own pace.
- In-person Activity – A pair of NEM volunteers will visit the classroom to lead students through the activity. Students will work in pairs to design, draw, and build a truss structure using craft sticks and hot glue. Volunteers will test the resulting structures by measuring the load at failure. This activity is anticipated to take at least two blocks. Volunteers request that the activity be scheduled to start first thing in the morning. NOTE: Volunteer manpower is limited, and it is anticipated a relatively small number of in-person opportunities will be available. Each assignment will depend on volunteer availability and travel preferences. Update January 2024 - all in-person time slots for this activity have been filled for the year. You can still sign up to work through the virtual version of this activity via the Google Form below.
In both cases, students will have the real-world engineering challenge of building the strongest truss they can with the least amount of material.
This opportunity aligns with expectations in the Gr. 5 Forces Acting on Structures unit. Teachers can schedule this activity anytime between October and early May. All materials will be
provided by the SEP Science Centre. Classes
participating in the virtual format will receive construction and testing
materials via the interschool courier.
Each individual teacher is asked to register his/her own class independently by submitting their information a Google Form that will be posted here in October 2023. Sign up your Grade 5 Class for the virtual version of this activity: Google Form NEM Sign Up
Canada's Agriculture Day 2023
A memo inviting classrooms to sign up for an visit from a local farmer will be sent to schools in January 2024.
A list of agriculture-related web resources is available in the SDS virtual library, including links to short videos introducing our local agriculture volunteers created by the SEP. Link: SDS Virtual Library
Who better to talk to your students about where their food comes from than the people that produce it? In February of each year, the SEP offers a special opportunity for your class to celebrate Canada Agriculture Day. Local farmers visit interested classrooms to talk about how they grow food, take care of their farm animals, how they care for their soil, and the science that drives modern day agriculture. A memorandum will go out to all schools in mid-January inviting classes to sign up for this activity. Questions? Check out the FAQ page.
Science Discovery Squad: IN-PERSON and VIRTUAL VISIT Science Demonstrations
This unique program pairs volunteers with an interest in science with educators who are teaching science in their classrooms. The program mission statement reads: To foster a greater interest in science at the elementary school level through "hands-on" science.
Sessions are offered throughout the school year based on the availability of the lead volunteer.
2023-2024 - Demonstrations are described in the underlying chart. Please sign up using the link to the Google Form below.
Sign up form
You will receive an email confirmation as orders are processed.
Movement - Currently unavailable
Large scale simple machines (levers, inclined planes, wedges, winches and wheels/axles,) are used to show students that tasks easier with the use of the devices.
IN-PERSON VISIT - Sugar Science (Liquids and Solids)
In pairs, students will work through a series of experiments using sugar and water.
|IN-PERSON or VIRTUAL Visit - Soil
|Every living thing depends on soil and farmers know it is important to look after and maintain soil strcuture. What types of soil do we have in Chatham-Kent and Lambton? What crops are grown locally? What do these crops need to grow? These are just a few of the qustions that will be answered as students learn first hand from a local farmer.
Students will learn about the strength of arches/domes, the importance of triangles, ties and struts, centre of gravity, breadth of base, and compression and tension forces.
Part 2 can be done outside (weather permitting,) or in the gym.
|Co-existing in a Healthy Habitat: Saving Birds and Keeping Cats Safe: This 2 part activity is designed to raise awareness of two connected issues: the well-being of cats and the protection of wild bird populations. Some wild bird populations have declined by more than 70 percent. Students will learn about local bird species and their behaviors to gain an understanding of the many roles that birds play in within the ecosystem. An interactive game demonstrates that the balance within a habitat can be disrupted. Topics including habitat loss, climate change, adaptations, basic needs, biodiversity, and food chains are discussed.
200- 220 min.
Concepts covered include; properties of light, reflection, refraction, convex, concave, fiber optics, polarized glass and optical illusions.
IN-PERSON VISIT Sound-
Students should know terms "pitch" & "volume".
Part 1: A whole class activity showing sound is a form of energy that travels in waves.
Part 2: Small groups of students (max. of 8) will work with the volunteer to perform experiments with an oscilloscope and tuning forks.
IN-PERSON VISIT Pulleys & Gears
Middle to the end of the unit. Note: "Mode" is used in calculations.
Pulleys: Students will participate in an interactive demonstration that showcases three types of pulleys systems. Students will lift a load and measure the effort required to do so. Students also participate in a tug of war that clearly shows the advantage of using a pulley system.
Gears: In small groups, students explore different gear trains, measuring speed and observing gear ratios and changes in direction. Various everyday uses of gears will be highlighted, such in a bicycle and cassette tape deck
|IN-PERSON VISIT Coding - Introduction to Scratch Cup Stacking Activity
|Students will participate in an UNPLUGGED activity to understand the logical set of steps required to recreate a pattern of stacked cups. After a brief introduction to Scratch, volunteers will lead them through a PLUGGED version of the same activity.
|VIRTUAL VISIT Newton's Cradle for Conservation of Energy
|Students will see different motions of the cradle and will learn how these relate to conservation of energy and momentum.
|End of the unit
|What is gravity? What did Galileo and Newton learn about gravity from falling objects? How do pendulums work? What is escape velocity? Why do satellites stay in orbit? How does gravity affect tides?
|IN-PERSON VISIT - Coding Extension - Mars Helicopter
|For students with Scratch experience
|In this activity, students use Scratch to create a video game that lets players explore the Red Planet with a helicopter like NASA's Ingenious!
|IN-PERSON VISIT - Coding Extension - Zombie Doctor Game
|For students with Scratch experience
|After a brief introduction to Scratch, students create their own "Zombie Doctor" video game
|IN-PERSON VISIT - Coding Extension - Spirograph, Fractals and Kaleidoscope
|For students with Scratch experience
|In this activity, students use Scratch’s pen extension
to draw fascinating dynamic patterns.
Introduced are user created blocks (i.e., subroutines), arguments,
parameters, and recursion.
IN-PERSON - Flight
Second part requires use of gymnasium
Late in the unit
An introduction will review the properties of air, Bernoulli's Principle, Newton's Third Law, adaptations that allow animals to fly and a brief history of flight if time permits. Part two: Students will perform test flight using gliders, (must be done in the gym,) to determine how different variables (wing position, tail position, nose weight and launching thrust,) affects flight.
IN-PERSON VISIT Electricity
End of the unit.
In small groups of 2-3, students will work through several activities; Students connect batteries in different ways and measure voltages, work with magnets and an electromagnet to understand the connection between magnetism and electricity, compare different materials to see what conducts electricity, and are introduced to the concept of current. The session concludes with a demonstration using a plasma ball.
IN-PERSON VISIT Heat
Middle to the end of the unit.
This demonstration is intended to extend students understanding of heat and temperature; specifically, how properties of common materials change with decreasing temperature. This activity needs to be done in the gym or other spacious area.
Cells - Currently unavailable
Prior knowledge should include difference in plant/animal cells and osmosis.
Volunteers will set up 15 microscopes and have students, working in pairs to will compare size and appearance of cheek and onion skin cells. They will also observe the affect of osmosis.
Systems - Currently unavailable
End of the unit
Students are introduced to "systems" thinking by focusing on how simple machines use and waste energy to achieve useful purposes. Among others, a trebuchet (medieval catapult) is used as an example.
IN-PERSON Fluids REQUIRES use of gymnasium
Middle to the end of the unit.
Using syringes, tubing devices, and examples of hydraulic and pneumatic systems to illustrate various concepts in relation to fluids. Students will ride a home-crafted hovercraft and explore where hydraulics and pneumatics are used in everyday life.