Questions about Science Kits ...
What is a science kit?
A science kit is a large plastic tote box full of materials that pertain to a grade and strand in the Ontario Curriculum. It contains consumables, non-consumable equipment, posters, and print resources for both the student and teacher.
What kits are available?
There is at least one kit every grade and stand. See the List of Science Kit link.
Is one kit enough for my classroom?
One box will be enough for your classroom. Don't expect to find enough materials in the kit for every student to do every experiment, but quantities should be enough for small groups to work through experiments.
What won't I find in the kit?
The kit inventory includes items that are not typically or easily found within a school setting. For example, paper, glue, pencils would not be included.
Will you send out a customized kit if I request it?
Unfortunately, no. The Science Centre receives between 1600 and 1800 kit bookings per year. If this service was offered,it would become an unmanageable situation from both an "inventory" and "budget" point of view to do this.
How do you decide what goes in a kit?
Factors we consider when building a science kit include:
space - all items must fit into a 68 L plastic container
weight - teachers, the couriers, and science centre staff must be able to lift the boxes
budget - a typical kit has $400 to $600 worth of materials included
safety - glass, perishable food items are not included
How do I book a kit?
See our booking details page.
Do I have to pick up my kit at the Science Resource Centre?
No. Your kit will be delivered by the same courier that brings interschool mail to your school. If you would prefer to pick up your kit at the resource centre at Errol Public Road in Sarnia, please call ahead to be sure there is a copy available.
How does the courier system work?
There are two couriers, and four courier routes across the district.
A route - Sarnia city and River Road schools
B route - Lambton county schools
AA - Dresden, Blenheim, Ridgetown, Thamesville, Bothwell, and Wallaceburg schools
BB - Chatham, Merlin, Tilbury and Wheatley schools
Routes alternate. For instance, one week your school will have delivery on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the next week it will be on Tuesday and Thursday.
Routes intersect at the three board offices (Lambton Kent Sarnia/Chatham, and St. Clair Wallaceburg). This means that materials can be shipped between the two Boards with ease. Your school office should have a copy of the schedule.
When does courier service start?
Courier service to all schools begins the week before Labour Day.
How long can I keep my kit?
Kits for grades 1-8 are booked out for 8 weeks. Kindergarten kits are booked out for 4 weeks.
What are my responsibilities as a kit user?
See the List of Science kits link.
How do I know when to return my kit?
There will be a shipping label on the top of your kit with the return date listed. Please do NOT remove this label. It allows both couriers to see the ship/due dates.
How do I get my kit back to the science centre?
Simply leave your kit at the same location your secretary leaves the interschool mail bags for pick up. Don't forget to check the inventory!
Can I return my kit early?
Yes. Just attach a note to the lid that says "please return" so the courier knows it is o.k. to take it before the due date. Please do not remove the original shipping label.
What if I'm not quite done with my kit as my due date approaches?
Check with the science centre to see if the kit booked for another school right away. If not, you'll be assigned a new due date. If someone else is waiting for it, you'll have to send it back. Please remember to check the inventory first!
What if I've broken something in my kit?
Attach a note to the inventory sheet with explanation.
What if I've lost something from the kit?
It is not policy at this time to have schools replace lost/missing items, but you're expected to keep looking for them and return what you find. If a large part of your kit is missing, future bookings may be suspended until the missing items are returned.
Why can't I book kits after the May long weekend?
All science kits need to be returned in the third week of June to ensure there is enough time to check them prior to the summer holiday. That means many boxes need to get back to the science centre in the remaining 10 courier days for each route in the month of June. The total capacity of the courier vehicles is needed for these returns.
When can I start booking for the next school year?
Orders for the next school year are accepted once the courier schedule is set, which is usually around the third week in June.
Is the science centre open in the summer?
Generally, science summer hours are 8 to 3, Monday to Thursday, but the best practice is to call ahead. Staff routinely takes holiday time over the summer months.
Can I book for the whole year in advance?
Yes. Once bookings open in late June, you can book your kits for the entire next year. Changes can be made at any time should your schedule change but could possibly be restricted by kit availability.
Can SEP resources be borrowed by someone other than LKDSB or SCCDSB teachers?
No. Only teachers employed by the Lambton Kent District School Board or the St. Clair Catholic District School Board can book SEP resources. Student teachers should book kits through the regular elementary teacher to whom they've been assigned.
Are the foam trays and egg cartons found in SEP kits new?
Yes. Both are purchased from local supply companies.
Are there items containing latex in science kits?
Yes. Most of our science kits have components that likely contain latex. (e.g. balloons, elastics etc.)
Questions about the Science Discovery Volunteer Program ...
Who are the volunteers?
The volunteers are people with an interest in science who want to help students learn about science. Our Science Division volunteers are primarily retired people from the petrochemical industry in the Sarnia area. Most of the volunteers are in the Bridge Building Division are retired engineers. Our Agricultural Division volunteers are actively farming, and many have additional full-time jobs, either within or external to the agricultural sector. Our Coding volunteers are retired from the information technology sector.
Do A-a-S volunteers have to have criminal background checks?
In accordance with LKDSB and SCCDSB policies, all volunteers must have a Vulnerable Sector Criminal Background checks. Copies of all record checks are kept on file at the Science Resource Centre in Sarnia. They are updated according to the school board volunteer policy.
Will SDS volunteers from the Sarnia area travel to Chatham Kent?
The Science Division of the Science Discovery Squad began as the "Adopt-a-Scientist" program in 1995, prior to amalgamation of school boards. Many of the volunteers are retired from Sarnia area petrochemical industries, and therefore reside in the Sarnia area. Some volunteers are willing to travel to the south part of the district, while others prefer to stay within the Sarnia area.
Why don't you take Science Discovery Squad bookings in June?
Most volunteers list themselves as "unavailable" in June. We've also experienced great difficulty in scheduling volunteer visits considering the large number of year-end activities happening in schools.
Why do you ask us not to leave volunteer visits for a supply teacher?
We ask that the teacher who invited the volunteer into the classroom and made all the arrangements to be actively involved throughout the visit. There have been instances in the past where staffing changes throughout the course of the visit resulted in poor experiences for the volunteer.
Will there be more than one volunteer in the class?
Possibly. You will be given the name of the "lead" volunteer, and he/she will be your main contact person. Depending on the demonstration, he/she may ask additional volunteers to help. If this is the case, the lead volunteer makes all arrangements with the helper volunteer(s).
Why do I have to wait for the memorandum to go out to schools to sign up for either Bridge Building or Canada Agriculture Day visits?
Both programs will only run each year if we have adequate volunteers. This is determined in mid-September for Bridge Building and early January for Canada Agriculture Day. Once it has been established that the programs have adequate manpower, the memorandums will go out to all schools, and teachers can sign up.
Why is there a different format for the Bridge Building Activity in Chatham-Kent and Lambton?
The SEP partners with two local chapters of the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) offering this activity to celebrate National Engineering Month. The Lambton Chapter has enough members who are retired and have the time to physically deliver this activity in classrooms over the course of one day. The CK PEO volunteers are still working full time, and are therefore unable to clear full days to be involved via this traditional format. To keep the activity running in all parts of the district, a pilot "Virtual Volunteer" program was tested in 2018-19. Volunteers created a set of instructional videos that teachers could use to deliver the bridge building activity themselves. In-class testing, which only requires an hour of volunteer time, was then performed by CK PEO volunteers. Over the summer of 2019, the instructional videos and accompanying documentation were updated according to feedback from the pilot teachers. The Virtual Volunteer format will be offered to all CK schools in 2019-2020 for the first time,while the traditional format will continue for Lambton schools. A memo will be sent out in late late September with instructions on how to sign up.
Why is there a limit of 32 students and a maximum of 4 students per group for the Bridge Building activity?
The volunteers will bring in all the materials required for the activity. There is only enough equipment for eight working groups. Group size is limited to four students per group. This ensures all students can actively participate in bridge building, as opposed to watching from the sidelines.
When and where is the Bridge Building Finale this year?
For Lambton Schools: TBA (More information will be posted in the winter of 2020.)
For Kent Schools: TBA (More information will be posted in the winter of 2020.)
Why do you organize the Canada Agriculture Day visits in February?
We've received feedback suggesting we move this volunteer opportunity to the spring when teachers are more likely to be covering the units that correspond to the topics Agriculture volunteers present. The reason visits are scheduled in February is because our "Ag" volunteers are typically unavailable during harvest/planting seasons, which includes the springtime. February is a much better time for them to come visit your class.
Questions about Our Partners ...
Who are the partners in the Science Education Partnership?
Please see our Partners page.
How do I become a partner?
We welcome you to be a part of this exciting educational opportunity. Your company can become a supporting member of the Science Education Partnership, either by making a financial contribution, or by providing personnel with expertise in science or technology for our Science Discovery Squad Volunteer Program... or both! Please contact the science centre at 519-336-1500 ext. 31580 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If I chose to make a financial contribution, to whom do I make out the cheque?
All cheques should be made out to the Lambton Kent District School Board. The SEP is under the wing of this larger charitable foundation which covers all school charities. The Lambton Kent District School Board is a registered charitable organization with Revenue Canada, and tax receipts are issued for all donations. Cheques should be sent to the Science Education Partnership Science Resource Centre, c/o Errol Road Public School, 989 Errol Road East, Sarnia ON N7S 2E6.