Skip to content

Guelph students learn hands-on science at STEM week event

Grade 5 and 6 students had an interactive experience learning science with Royal City Science

The Guelph Civic Museum was filled with the bustle of Grade 5 and 6 students Monday eager to learn about the wonders of science outside of the classroom.

STEM week put on by Royal City Science at the museum is back on and in-person this year. Staff and students from the University of Guelph ran four different science activities for students on Nov. 28.

In one room, Royal City Science co-founder Jason Thomas, better known as Orbax, showed students electricity experiments using a variety of equipment and then students had the chance to use electricity kits for their own experiments.

For another activity, students were split up into groups of three and designed a tubed tunnel on a peg board for a marble to go through. The goal was for the marble to go through the tubes at the slowest time possible. 

The last activity was a grid taped on the floor with different items to ultimately drop into a box. The students mapped out a list of commands such as, walk three steps, turn left and pick-up cube. The goal was for students to go through the grid with the least amount of moves.

"I think there's an element to of getting young people directly in touch with scientists are working with scientists," said Orbax.

"So much of learning happens in the classroom, but so much of learning happens outside of the classroom," he said. 

They tried to implement as much of the science curriculum students learn in school, into the science activities, like coding, said Joanne O'Meara, co-founder of Royal City Science. 

"You know, being able to see women doing, you know, physical sciences, I think is really important, too," said O'Meara.

The museum has a women in STEM exhibit the students also circled through called Iron Willed: Women in STEM.

Students were told three definitions to keep in mind while they were going through the exhibit, diversity, equity and intersectionality. Diversity meaning the variety of different people who could be involved with STEM, equity meaning fair treatment, and intersectionality, meaning different intersections of identity of who people are. 

Orbax said he loves showing students all the different equipment used to make electricity, even some from over a hundred years ago because today, the way electricity works is all hidden. 

"Circuits are so great, because you literally have the light bulb moment when they connect the light bulb to the battery, turn the switch. And that's actually how the electricity flows in the house, which they don't really get to play with that stuff," said O'Meara.

The students had a blast and tried new things and different ways of thinking O'Meara said she hadn't even considered. 

Students were sent home with an activity book so they could continue learning by having at home science experiments. They were asked to try the activities out over winter break and post their results on social media, with a chance to win prizes. 

In 2023, Royal City Science will be starting an after school STEM club for students ages 12 and under. They will be going to different communities and neigbourhoods each month. The club is free to join.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
Read more