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Additional Learning Opportunities

Science Discovery Squad Volunteer Program

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.

Currently, there are four Science Discovery Squad Divisions, each focusing on a different area of science;
Descriptions of the activities offered in each division are listed below.  For more information about how you can book these sessions for your classroom are outlined on the Booking Science Resources page and the FAQ page.

Science Division

Volunteers in this division have developed seventeen different "hands-on" curriculum linked demonstrations.  Sessions are offered throughout the school year based on the availability of the lead volunteer.

GradeTitle /TopicDemonstration Duration
(set-up time not included)
Recommended Timing Within Your Unit / Prior KnowledgeDemonstration Includes:
2Movement60-70 min.AnytimeLarge 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.
2Sugar Science (Liquids and Solids)100 min.AnytimeIn pairs, students will work through a series of experiments using sugar and water.
3Stability60-80 min.AnytimeStudents 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.
4Light200- 220 min.AnytimeConcepts covered include; properties of light, reflection, refraction, convex, concave, fiber optics, polarized glass and optical illusions.
4Sound100 min.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.
4Pulleys100 min.Middle to the end of the unit.  Note:  "Mode" is used in calculations.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.
4Gears100 min.Middle to the end of the unit.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.
5Matter200 min.Students need to know how to multiply and divide to one decimal place and plot a graph.This demonstration can be done anytime within the unit and works well as either as a preview or a review. The activity begins with a 30-minute presentation.  Students will then be working teams of two to conduct two experiments;

  • calculating density of different objects by measuring the volume by displacement and the mass 
  • measure temperature over time during freezing and melting of water and plot their results.
5Vitamin C (Human Body)100 min.Students need to multiply and divide with decimalsAfter a short introduction highlighting the importance of Vitamin C in the diet, students will measure the Vitamin C content of various juices, fruits and vegetables.
6Flight180 min.Late in the unitAn introduction will review the properties of air, Bernoulli's Principle, Newton's Third Law, and a brief history of flight.  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.
6Electricity180 min.End of the unit*. In small groups of 2-3, students will work through three activities; comparing power consumption of different light bulbs and other electrical units, studying the conductivity and magnetic properties of materials, and setting up series and parallel circuits. Adequate work space is required for six stations. *Students should know magnetism basics, how to complete a circuit, and work with numbers to one decimal.
7/8Mini Cranes (Gr. 7/8 Structures & Mechanisms Strand)min. of 200 min.*Middle to the end of the unit.Students will build mini cranes using hot glue and craft sticks, syringes and other materials.  *This could likely take more time, depending on how quickly students build their cranes.
7Heat80-100 min.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.
8Cells100 min.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.
8Systems180 minEnd of the unitStudents 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.
8Fluids60-80 min.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.
 

The Bridge Building Division

This is an opportunity offered to classes learning the Gr. 5 "Forces Acting on Structures" Unit.  Students will build bridges using wood craft sticks and hot glue to a given set of specifications.  The strongest bridge from each class is forwarded to a final competition held in the spring of each year.  A memorandum goes out to all schools in late September inviting classes to sign up for this activity.  Questions?  Check out the and the FAQ page.

The Agriculture Division

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 and the FAQ page.

The Coding Division

This introductory activity presents the basics of computer coding to junior level students in Grades 4-6.  They first complete an "unplugged" activity without a computer and then use the programming language Scratch to complete the same exercise.  As an extension, students can develop their own Zombie Doctor game.  This activity is available throughout the year based on volunteer availability.