Welcome to Celebrate Science

Celebrate Science is a website and annual event devoted to sharing a passion for science and information about Canadian Science Writers for Children.  Each year Celebrate Science a Festival of Science Writers for Children and Youth is held at the University of British Columbia during Celebrate Learning Week.   The event is intended for teachers, librarians, teacher candidates and parents to connect them to science writers for children.

Pathways To Improving Mathematics and Science Literacy: STEM Community Engagement, Vancouver, July 2014

Angus Building July 15 9:45-10:45
Shar Levine, Science writer shar.levine@shaw.ca; Leslie Johnstone, mjlj@telus.netScience Dept. Head/Writer, Vancouver School District No. 39; Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia marina.milner-bolotin@ubc.ca; Jo-Anne Naslund, Education Librarian, University of British Columbia, joanne.naslund@ubc.ca
The success of developed countries depends on a scientifically literate population. Despite worldwide recognition of Canada’s contributions to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a large segment of the population remains ill-informed and disengaged in these disciplines. Recent results of the 2013 OECD survey of adult skills as well as OECD PISA have shown inadequate science and mathematics performance by Canadian students and adults. To help address this problem Canadian families and educators need to foster excellence in STEM education.

Our response at the UBC Faculty of Education has been to offer two annual community events: Celebrate Science and Family Mathematics and Science Fair. Such STEM outreach activities have involved partnerships between the University of British Columbia Library, Children’s Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia Society, Faculties of Education, Science, Land and Food Systems, and Beaty Biodiversity Museum. UBC scientists together with science writers for children speak about their research, books and passions. Participants leave inspired with increased awareness of the importance of science and mathematics. At the Family Mathematics and Science Fair, prospective teachers and teacher-educators, engage families in hands-on mathematics and science activities.

The presenters will offer descriptions of these programs, resource lists and insights on some of the benefits and challenges encountered.

Celebrate Science 2012

Who knew Deans could cook?

tastes like shrimp!

and they are even Kosher

Another year, another Celebrate Science. This year’s event was even better than the previous ones! Three weeks before the Nov. 3rd date, we were not only sold out, but we had a waiting list of about 20. Dr. Ron Jobe did his usual excellent job as emcee and moderator, keeping things on track and on time. Speakers this year included: illustrator Dianna Bondar, who shared her thoughts on why science illustrations had to be both fun and accurate. Information Book Award nominee, Dora Lee spoke about some of the fascinating information in her book and her passion for inspiring young girls to pursue careers in science. New to the panel was Alex Gabriel whose day job includes researching and captioning science museum exhibits and doing so in a manner that both adults and children will find fun. Gillian Richardson described how things go boom, or more accurately KABOOM in her new book. And who knew that bikes were for more than transportation? Michelle Mulder a writer and bike enthusiast wowed the audience by describing how bikes can be used as centrifuges, knife sharpeners and other unusual products. What Celebrate Science would be complete without a hands-on science demonstration by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone. The two writers had the audience up on their feet performing science tricks from their new book Hockey Science.
Keynote speaker was Dr. David Close, Director, Aboriginal Fisheries Research Unit at the UBC Fisheries Centre. His presentation on Protecting the Pacific Lamprey inspired the audience and the one tidbit that everyone took away was that spitting into the water near a lamprey will make it release its grip from the rocks.
One of the highlights of Celebrate Science is the private party for presenters the night before the event. Previous years have featured a tour of the Wine Research Centre, and the Science of Wine and Cheese. This year was really special: Crunchy Science. Professor Murray Isman, Dean of Land and Food Systems generously offered up some of the insects from his lab. His preparation and demonstration of things to do with meal worms and locusts had guests squealing with delight. Roasted meal worms taste a bit like peanuts, while locusts-sautéed in garlic and butter were the same flavor and texture as shrimp. And yes, we all ate them!

Celebrate Science Turn Kids On To Science

Join us for our third annual celebration of science—an event for educators, writers, librarians and parents.  Find out how to inspire young minds to love science and math through interesting science books, simple hands-on activities and science collections!

9:30-12:00  Beaty Biodiversity Museum 2212 Main Mall, UBC  Saturday, November 3, 2012

Featured Scientist
Dr. David Close
(traditional name Himko-kaps-kap) of the Aboriginal Fisheries Research Centre will share his passion for protecting the Pacific lamprey—an eel-like fish with a large, sucking mouth full of horny teeth.  Through cutting-edge science and traditional knowledge he furthers our understanding of one of the oldest native fish species and why it is disappearing in British Columbia.

Featured BC Science Writers
Dianna Bonder
, illustrator of Leon’s Song; Alex Gabriel, science centre/museum interpreter & writer; Dora Lee, Biomimicry & advocate for the Canadian Association for Girls in Science;   Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone, written over 70 hands-on science books such as Backyard Science, Nature Science, Projects for a Healthy Planet;  Michelle Mulder, science enthusiast; Gillian Richardson,  Ecosytems,  Kaboom Explosions of All Kinds and more.

Come on a guided tour of one of Vancouver’s premier museums and learn about their fascinating collections and exciting programs.  Did we mention the best part? This year the event is FREE!  Who could turn down a fun-filled morning featuring the skeleton of a blue whale?

science from a window

Science from a window

It’s cold, wet and nasty outside, but that’s not an excuse to explore science.

Here’s some quick science experiments that you can do from the warmth of your home or classroom.

1.  This is for the birds!

Here’s how to create classroom ornithologists

Bird feeder – make suet feeders and hang for birds, great for fall and winter

Simply roll suet in bird feed and suspend this close to a window.  See what bird your feed attracts.  Print a bird identification chart and have the children check off each bird that pecks at the feeder

Bird bath

Take two identical, large terra cotta pots.  Turn one pot upside down, so the wide end is facing the ground. This is your base.  Balance the second pot right side up on the base.  Place a large, deep flowerpot saucer on top of the second pot and fill it with several inches of water. Using your bird identification chart, see what bird take baths.


Have children bring in different kinds of feathers. Use a magnifying glass to study the feathers. Feel the feathers- do they all feel the same? Do they all look the same? Are the colors of the feathers identical on each side of the feather?


Watch birds preen. Why are they doing this. How do kids brush their hair? How do they take baths? What is a fowl doing when they squeeze their feathers? Compare bird preening to cats and dogs cleaning their fur.

Weather Happens!

Weather happens. It’s outside every day and easy to observe, measure and record.

Taking Temperature

Hang a thermometer on the window and have a child read the thermometer each day. Record this on a calendar. Or graph it. Compare the actual temperature to the temperature that Accuweather predicted for the day.

Rain. Rain

Make a rain gauge using a straight sided , wide mouthed container.  Tape a ruler to the outside of the container and use it to measure the rainfall. Create a graph of the daily rainfall.

Cloud ID

Print a cloud identification chart and post it near the window. See if you can match the picture to the cloud.

Dew you love me?

This is a great activity for a fall morning- look at the dew on the grass.  Here’s a way to explain where dew comes from. Pull the label off a tin can.  Put the can outside on a ledge and fill ½ way with water. Dry the outside of can with towel. Add ice to fill and watch outside of can. Tiny drops of water appear. You made dew. Warm air around can had water vapour in it. Air touched cold can, cooled and condensed.


Bios and photos


Ever thought of trying pinterest? Celebrate Science

Celebrate Science on Pinterest will link you to many teaching ideas and you will find interesting Science teaching ideas.