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Lambton Kent District School Board
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Additional Learning Opportunities

​​​​​​​Science Discovery Squad Volunteer Program

A Note About 2020-21 
Due to pandemic safety restrictions, volunteers are not currently conducting in-person visits to schools. 

We do have "pandemic possible" options!  See information about our new SDS Virtual Library resource, Synchronous Virtual Visit opportunities, the 2021 National Engineering Month Truss Challenge below.   

Introducing the SDS Volunteer Virtual Library
The Science Education Partnership is excited to announce a new resource for elementary educators!

We have developed a digital library that allows educators to access volunteer presentations at their own convenience. 

Links and/or information catalogued in the library include:

  • Agriculture Links - videos featuring our own Canada Agriculture Day volunteers and list of agriculture-related web resources
  • Information on a virtual Coding opportunity
  • Science Demonstration videos
    • 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
    • The Plasma Ball – Gr. 5 Matter
    • The Van de Graaff Generator – Gr. 6 Electricity and Electrical Devices
  • Taylor Talks Environmental Science sessions

The link below will take teachers to a list of the opportunities organized on the curriculum grid.  

SDS Virtual Library​ ​

Science Discovery Squad: Virtual Synchronous options

  • ​Air Pressure (Gr. 6 Flight)
  • Newton' Cradle (Gr. 5 Conservation of Energy)
  • The Floating Egg (Gr. 2, 5, 7/8 Matter and Energy strand))
  • Pendulum (Gr. 5 Conservation of Energy)
  • Stability (Gr. 3 Structures & Mechanisms)
  • Coding (Junior level "unplugged" activity)

​Please email the SEP Science Centre for more details. 

Volunteers are also offering something new... "Ask a Volunteer".  Do you want assistance with a specific topic/grade?  Email the SEP Science Centre for more information.  ​

To order SEP resources by either:

  1. e-mailing your order to

  2. calling the Science Resource Centre at (519) 336-1500 ext. 31580​

Science Discovery Squad: Traditional In-person Presentations:​

These opportunities will be available once safety protocols allow volunteers to once again visit classrooms in-person.  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.


Title /Topic

Demonstration Duration
(set-up time not included)

Recommended Timing Within Your Unit / Prior Knowledge

Demonstration Includes:



60-70 min.


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.


Sugar Science (Liquids and Solids)

100 min.


In pairs, students will work through a series of experiments using sugar and water.



60-80 min.


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.



200- 220 min.


Concepts covered include; properties of light, reflection, refraction, convex, concave, fiber optics, polarized glass and optical illusions.



100 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.



100 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.



100 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.



180 min.

Late in the unit

An 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.



180 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.


Mini 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.



80-100 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.



100 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.



180 min

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.



60-80 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

A Note About 2020-21 
The SEP is happy to announce, that with the help of our partner, the  Professional Engineers of Ontario, we have  to created an activity celebrating National Engineering Month Truss Challenge that is in compliance with safety protocols.  Information is pasted below.

With the help of instructional videos created by PEO volunteers, students will work individually to create a truss structure from craft sticks and white glue.   

Students will have the real-world engineering challenge of building the strongest truss they can with the least amount of material. 

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 until it fails. 

  • This opportunity is open to classes covering the Gr. 5 Forces Acting on Structures unit.

  • The activity will be available from mid-March to late May.

  • As there is not a mechanisim in place to deliver materials to individual students, this activity works best in an "in-person" learning situation. 

  • Classroom teachers can sign up by contacting Wendy Hooghiem at .  Each individual teacher is asked to register his/her own class independently.

  • A construction equipment package will be sent from the SEP Science Centre to the classroom teacher.

  • Using the instructional videos, classrooms can work through the activity at their own pace. 

  • Testing materials will need to be ordered from the SEP Science Centre separately once the activity has been completed in the classroom.  Due to a limited number of testing rigs, this equipment will only be loaned to each class for one week.

  • Participating classrooms are also encouraged to sign up for an optional virtual visit from a volunteering engineer.

The Agriculture Division

Canada Agriculture Day 2020-21 

Individual LKDSB and SCCDSB classes are invited to participate in this activity in several ways:

  • Local farmers have offered to virtually visit classrooms during the month of February.   This option was only available in February of 2021.
  • A list of agriculture-related web resources has been compiled, 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 and the FAQ page.

The Coding Division

A Note About 2020-21 
Our Coding Division volunteers have an "unplugged" virtual option for their cup stacking activity in place for 2021.  Email to arrange this opportunity for your classroom.  ​​

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.