Ready to innovate?
DIY Science Centre develops critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills with experiential learning that prepares students for the real world!
Students building science exhibits guided by STEAM professionals
$10 per student
Students grades 5-12 are encouraged to register
Class or individual student registrations are available
To adapt to the changing environment, DIY Science Centre will be offered virtually. Staying innovative! For the first time, TELUS Spark is opening registration to individual students. Register your child for a unique design thinking experience.
DIY Science Centre (formerly known as Prototype Project) challenges students to build their own science exhibit guided by Spark staff and local professionals. This semester-long program empowers students to build, test, and collaborate! The program will end with a digital celebration showcasing all the prototypes from various participating schools.
Robin is a recently retired oil-industry (Geo)Physicist who firmly believes that science education should be fun for kids of all ages! Spark asked him how and here are some of his awesome examples.
"Much of physics can, with a little thought, be made to look like magic. For example, magnets that make something levitate: Newton's laws of motion making water rockets launch into the air; heat that powers movement in a simple engine. Add planet earth into the mix and we get magnetic fields causing Northern Lights; Mantle convection causing plate motion - which gives rise to earthquakes (and how to survive them), tsunamis (and how to survive them too
Throw 'Life' on Earth into the mix and I think we get the 'perfect storm' - how the physical planet facilitated the origin of Life in the first place - how Life has subsequently altered those conditions (eg by Oxygenating the atmosphere) - how the planet 'fought back' (anthropomorphism !!) and caused multiple mass Extinctions - and how Life has invariably recovered, albeit in a sometimes radically altered way (no more dinosaurs !!). And the story is far from over..."
Maura is an explorer and curious human. She started off her career with Imperial Oil, coding in assembler. Living through the Y2K hype she moved onto consulting for Omnilogic, a small start-up; clients included Canadian Pacific Railway, Imperial Tobacco and Pratt and Whitney. Her formal education in computer engineering helps her to make sense of the world.
As a young girl, Maura always asked “why”. She believes in STEM learning for all, inspiring others to ask their own “why” questions and search out the possible answers.
She is a keen hiker and cyclist. She is often heard saying “let’s continue on, and see what is around the next corner!”
Maura joined Spark as a volunteer in October 2019. Her interest in mentoring and coaching youth in robotics competitions was ignited through her most recent work with FIRST Robotics and then Community Robotics Training Association. She continues to share her passion for prototyping, exploring and experimenting with the Spark DIY Science Centre project.
Teachers will be invited to professional learning workshops via Microsoft Teams Event or Zoom. These workshops will build on the pre-recorded videos and allow teachers to meet Spark staff. The video calls will do a deeper dive into design thinking and provide opportunities for teachers to participate in online brainstorming sessions. Online resources will also be provided to assist the teachers in their learning. Video calls may cover a variety of topics or could be more specific, and can be recorded and accessed later for those participants who are unable to attend.
Teachers will be encouraged to show pre-recorded videos to their students to introduce DIY Science Centre, design thinking, and the concept of rapid idea generation (RIGs). In lieu of a visit to TELUS Spark, students will participate in a video call with Spark staff for a more detailed introduction to the project. Students will then separate into breakout rooms via Microsoft Teams Event and a Spark staff member will facilitate them in either an online brainstorm (Microsoft Whiteboard or Miro) or a RIG in their own classrooms. Sessions will be interspersed with live or pre-recorded videos of Spark staff or external partners with science tidbits (e.g. “Did you know?” segment).
Pre-recorded videos from Spark staff (e.g. RIGs, Archaeology, tours of Spark) will be provided along with video calls to connect with mentors and experts in the field – Spark staff member always in the call with students
Once the on-boarding of teachers and students has been completed, resources can be shared with teachers to assist them with supporting their students in the classroom. These resources will be in the form of documents, videos, and video calls with Spark staff.
Students contribute individually ahead of time on online whiteboards, then use video call to discuss the different contributions. If students are in school, in-person brainstorm sessions will be encouraged, and possibly facilitated by Spark staff via video call.
Students will work in groups of up to 3 to write a proposal for their project. These proposals will be submitted to Spark staff for review through Google Docs, and once the feedback has been provided, students can proceed with building their prototypes. Spark staff can also be contacted via video call during office hours, or asynchronously through an online chat group or email. If students are in their classrooms, in-person peer feedback sessions will be encouraged.
The building of prototypes will occur over a time period of a several weeks, with students and/or teachers acquiring materials on their own. Because the building phase involves continuous feedback, there will be scheduled check-ins and live events with Spark staff and mentors/experts throughout the process. Students can share their progress on class- or school-specific Flipgrids. There is also an opportunity for Spark staff to present specific challenges or progress reports, either presented on Flipgrid or video calls.
Schools will host their own celebrations of learning in early December to showcase their final projects. Spark staff can connect virtually with the classes before or during the celebration of learning and videos of the projects can be uploaded to Flipgrid.