Frequently Asked Questions

Information About Scientists in School (SiS):

Information About our Workshops and our Booking Process:

Information About Scientists in School (SiS):

What is Scientists in School?

Scientists in School is a dynamic and growing non-profit charitable organization dedicated to sparking children's interest and love of science, through hands-on discovery. Our mission is to ignite scientific wonder in children so that they question intelligently, learn through discovery, connect scientific knowledge to their world and consider a career in science.

Who runs and delivers Scientists in School?

SiS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with diverse backgrounds in science, business, law, education, non-profit management, technology and conservation. Day-to-day operations is overseen by a staff team located in a national office in Ajax, Ontario and branch offices in East Central Ontario (also in Ajax), West Central Ontario (Guelph), Eastern Ontario (Ottawa), South Central Ontario (St. Catharines and Hamilton) and Southern Alberta (Lethbridge). Our classroom workshops are delivered by over 375 local workshop presenters who bring their passion, science and technical knowledge, education and career backgrounds into elementary school classrooms every day. Each presenter commits to delivering at least 30 workshops during the year (the average is around 60!) and spends countless hours of volunteer time outside of the classroom developing their workshops, building their "kits", gathering supplies, training and doing trial workshops. Visit our Contact Us page for listing of regional contacts.

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What does Scientists in School do?

Scientists in School brings science to life through hands-on discovery. Our primary activity is the delivery of our in-class science and technology workshops to enrich the education and opportunities of children and youth. SiS's presenters are strong role models, who open pathways to careers in science and engineering for students. Depending on the region, SiS offers up to 60 curriculum-aligned topics for students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. We also work with teachers to enhance their capacity to promote science by putting them in direct contact with scientists and engineers right in their classrooms and by providing ideas and resources to complement their in-class teaching. Finally, SiS understands that we need to reach beyond the classroom to inspire children and their families and cultivate a society that embraces science and technology. Where possible, we bring enrichment opportunities to youth (and parents!) during school science nights, girl guide and scout group meetings, community "family" events and other such initiatives.

Why was Scientists in School created?

SiS began in 1989 as an outreach project of the Ajax-Pickering chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), which saw a need to "spark" scientific interest in children at a young age by bringing science to life in the classroom. Recognizing that children learn best by doing, CFUW members established a program whereby local science experts and role models bring their knowledge and passion into elementary school classrooms to deliver hands-on, curriculum-aligned workshops, using materials and equipment well beyond that available within the traditional school system. In 1999, Scientists in School registered as its own charitable organization to meet the strong interest coming from other communities wanting to be involved.

Who does SiS serve?

Scientists in School serves the diverse needs of students, educators, parents and local groups in over 195 Ontario communities and is now branching out to bring our program to Alberta, starting in Lethbridge. To learn more about our program, visit the For Teachers section.

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Does Scientists in School work with any other partners?

Scientists in School represents a partnership in science education. We work together with school boards, educators, local scientists, parents, corporations, government agencies, community groups and any others who share our passion for science literacy. We recognize that achieving our mission requires the active participation of all sectors of society.

Is Scientists in School a charity?

Yes, Scientists in School is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to motivating lifelong interest in science and technology learning and to fostering tomorrow's innovators and leaders. (Charitable registration number: 867139537RR0001). Visit the Get Involved section of our website to learn about the many ways you can support SiS.

Why does Scientists in School charge schools for its workshops?

SiS charges a subsidized user fee to schools in order to support ongoing operations and ensure the long-term sustainability of our program in their communities. We work hard to keep our user fee at rate feasible for most schools and fundraise actively to subsidize the cost of every workshop. We also raise funds to enable us to offer complimentary workshops to those schools most at-need as determined in consultation with the school boards.

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How do donations help support Scientists in School's programs?

SiS relies on donations from generous supporters to complement classroom workshops revenue and enable us to bring our program to hundreds of thousands of children each year. Where our programs are already established, donations are used to subsidize the costs of every classroom workshop, to enable SiS to provide complimentary workshops to "at-need" schools (through a dedicated fund), to upgrade equipment and workshops and to undertake special initiatives. For new regions or new program areas (e.g., French-language), significant donations are needed to enable SiS to purchase high-quality science equipment, build workshop kits, establish a regional staff presence, recruit and train local scientists and engineers as presenters, foster partnerships with school boards and schools, develop program materials, conduct community outreach and offer promotional workshops to schools.

Your support - big or small - is put to good use inspiring our next generation of innovators and leaders.

How can I become a supporter?

SiS welcomes your support! Please visit our Get Involved section to learn more about the many ways you can support SiS.

Can I just donate funds?

Yes! Charitable donations enhance education experiences and career success for young people by fostering life-long passion for science and discovery. Your support will allow us to reach more children and contribute to a bright future for Canada. To donate now, visit our Get Involved section or simply visit this link to make a secure on-line donation!

How do I volunteer with Scientists in School?

SiS welcomes volunteer participation in our organization. To learn more, please visit our Career And Volunteer Opportunities section.

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Are there any job openings with Scientists in School?

Job openings are posted on the Career And Volunteer Opportunities page in the Get Involved section of our website as they become available.

Where did the name 'Scientists in School' originate?

The name of the organization reflects the participation of students as "scientists" in their classroom. It also speaks to the science backgrounds, knowledge and career experiences of SiS classroom workshop presenters.

How do I contact Scientists in School?

To contact an office in your region, please visit the Contact Us section of our website.

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Information About our Workshops and our Booking Process:

How do I book a workshop?

Workshop requests are welcome throughout the year. Booking early for best topic availability is highly recommended. Please visit the Book a Workshop section of this site to book workshop(s) online.

You may also download and print the booking form. Once completed, return it to your regional Scientists in School office via Canada Post, fax, or email.

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How much does it cost?

Current workshop fees are available in the Book A Workshop section of our website.

Is there a program catalogue or brochure that can be sent to me?

For a downloadable program catalogue or brochure for your region, newsletters and other information please click here. Educational resources for teachers can be found on the For Teachers section of our site.

Who are the presenters and what are their backgrounds?

SiS's highly-trained and experienced workshop presenters - with degrees and career backgrounds in physical and life sciences, engineering and technology - are drawn from the local community. They provide positive role models who inspire children to continue science education and consider future career paths in science-related disciplines. To learn more about our presenters, click here.

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Can I specify the area of science, engineering or math I want covered in a workshop?

To learn about what topics we offer in your region click here. There are often several workshops to choose from in each area of science depending on the location of your school and the availability of presenters. Across our regions, we have over 375 presenters who deliver workshop topics related to their area of expertise.

How long does the booking process take before I can host a workshop?

Generally allow for 3 to 4 weeks from the time of booking to hosting a workshop.

Can I change topics or cancel a workshop once I've booked?

If you wish to change your topic or cancel a workshop, please contact your regional office by phone, fax, or email, and we will be happy to make the change for you. If you change workshop topics, the presenter for the new topic will contact you within 3 weeks to confirm a mutually convenient presentation date. If you cancel a workshop, please note that the booking deposit will be refunded in full if: a written request to cancel a workshop is received within one month of submitting your request; a written request to cancel a workshop is received prior to October 31; or if Scientists in School cannot fulfill a requested workshop or arrange a satisfactory replacement. . Complete booking terms and conditions may be found here. To book a workshop, please click here.

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Is there a limit to how many workshops I can book in a year?

No. SiS often has a wide variety of curriculum-aligned topics for each grade level, plus a number of enrichment workshops too.

Is there a limit on number of students per workshop?

Yes. In order to ensure that all students are able to actively participate and benefit from learning in a 'hands-on' manner, SiS is able to accommodate up to 30 students per workshop.

Does a SiS workshop enrich and support my science and technology curriculum?

Absolutely. The large majority of SiS workshops have been developed by scientists in conjunction with educators to enrich and support provincial curricula for science and technology. In those instances where we have topics that are not as strongly connected with curricula this is indicated in our program catalogues with a "Special Interest" designation. Even our "Special Interest" workshops are designed to enrich curricula for the grade level(s) at which they have been offered. All SiS workshops have a strong focus on cultivating science process skills, inquiry-based thinking and a curious mind. To support teachers in extending the learning and investigations, SiS provides a topic-related resource package. We also provide a pre-workshop list of the investigations within our workshops, with an indication of connections with curricula.

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Can parents book workshops?

At this time, workshops are available only to elementary teachers located in one of our many regions. If you are a parent who would love to see SiS in your children's school, why not share some of our downloadable program information? If you would like to cover the cost of a workshop(s) for your child's school, please contact your regional office.

I booked a workshop and I haven't heard from anyone - what should I do?

During the school year, the presenter for your workshop will contact you directly by phone, fax, or email to arrange a mutually convenient date. If you do not hear from them within 3 weeks, please contact your regional office. We will respond to requests pre-booked for the following school year as soon as school starts in early September. To contact your regional office, please click here.

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young boys


During the 2010-2011 school year

student participants

classroom workshops delivered

schools visited

enthusiastic parent volunteers

passionate workshop presenters

communities participated

growth in classroom reach in the
last 5 years

Over 100
community events with 1000s of children and adult participants inspired