January 2020
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Visiting Gibson Elementary School in Delta, BC

Posted: January 18th, 2020, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

For the last fifteen years, I have been visiting K-12 schools in British Columbia with science and mathematics presentations and hands-on activities. I am one of many scientists, engineers, educators, and innovators who donate their time and who are supported by Scientists and Innovators in the Schools organization. We volunteer our knowledge, time, and expertise to inspire students in BC schools through school visits. I also would like to support our many dedicated and hard-working teachers who are working on designing interesting hands-on STEM activities for their students.

It is hard to find students, who would be uninspired by the Van de Graaff generator. While it’s hard for me to bring it to schools, I bring many smaller and effective demos with me.

Last Friday, January 17, 2020, I was invited by a librarian at Gibson Elementary School (Mrs. Grace Yan) to visit their school – Gibson Elementary School. It was clear, Mrs. Yan is a Teacher who wants to support her students in STEM. As a librarian she makes sure the students have a variety of STEM resources. She also organizes after school STEM activities and supports other teachers. It was very clear to me when I visited the school.

When I came (and it is a relatively long drive from UBC), I tried to interact with as many students as possible. This time, Mrs. Yan arranged me to see the kids from three different groups – from the very young to older (1-2, 3-4 and 5-6). It was a very interesting opportunity as this is a very diverse school  in terms of the students’ SES, as well as their origin. Moreover, the place is relatively removed from the big universities in our city. However, it was clear that both Mrs. Yan and Mr. Gerry Rietze were very inspirational teachers. I thin the students are very lucky to have them.

I hope to visit the school in the future again. I also the students from this school will come to UBC for our next Family Math and Science Day:

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The Second Decade at UBC

Posted: January 13th, 2020, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I took this picture in May a few years ago when Valery and I camped at Joffre Lake Provincial Park. Some of the ice on the lake already melted, while most of it was still there. So you can see the reflection of the trees and the water on the lake. The lake is located in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park near Pemberton, BC:

Today, I realized that this term I am starting my second decade at the UBC Faculty of Education. Time certainly flew fast and much faster that I could ever expected. It feels as if I returned to UBC only recently and at the same time as if I came a long time ago. Thinking of this last decade, I cannot but feel grateful for the experience. I have learned a lot, learned to deal with the challenges that came my way, met amazing people, and also was able to contribute to both STEM Education research and STEM teaching and outreach at UBC and beyond. It was definitely a learning experience for me.

Now it is January and we are getting ready for the 42nd UBC Physics Olympics with more than 80 preregistered teams from all across BC. Together with my BCAPT colleagues and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, we are preparing a Pro-D day for science teachers to take place at UBC on February 22nd: We are also getting ready for the summer STEM in Education conference to be held by UBC (my colleague Prof. David Anderson and I are conference co-chairs). I am working on a very interesting study with my students and colleagues. So this has been a very interesting and inspiring experience.

Most importantly, I feel now that the Faculty of Education is my home. I am very passionate about STEM teacher education and professional development and I am proud of what we were able to achieve in the last ten years. At the same time, I have big dreams for the next decade. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues, students, and mentors from all across UBC, Canada and the world!

STEM in Education 2019 Symposium Chongqing, China

Posted: November 24th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I just returned from the STEM in Education 2019 Symposium that was held in Chongqing, China: . Southwest University organized the symposium. It was a very interesting conference as we had a few opportunities to visit local schools, to interact with the students and faculty members and learn about this amazing city. I was very fortunate to be invited to be one of the keynotes speakers:

Milner-Bolotin, M. (2019). Implementing innovation in STEM education: From more technology to enhanced learning. Keynote presented at the STEM in Education International Symposium, Chongqing, China.

My presentation can be downloaded here:


Presenting a keynote talk at STEM 2019 Conference in Chongqing, China

This summer we are organizing STEM in Education 2020 Conference here, at the University of British Columbia: I hope we will also be able to organize an exciting conference.

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Slow-Motion Videos in Physics Teaching

Posted: November 7th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

In 2016-2017, we received a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund grant that allowed us to explore how we can use educational videos to promote experimentation in physics teacher education and in physics education in general. This grant promoted us to create a YouTube channel of educational videos: STEM Education Videos for All. While working on that grant, we realized the power of slow motion videos in science education. So in 2018, we applied and received another grant to explore the slow motion videos in physics teaching. The result is that developed a set up for showing slow-motion videos in physics classes and now we published a paper about it. We are very exciting about it as hundreds of undergraduate physics students have experienced the power of slow motion videos in Valery’s classes, as well as many physics teacher-candidates and guests at the UBC Family Math and Science Day.


Milner-Bolotin, M., Aminov, O., Wasserman, W., & Milner, V. (2019). Pushing the boundaries of science demonstrations using modern technology. Canadian Journal of Physics, Accepted September 12, 2019, 15. doi:

STEM Outcomes of Second-Generation Students

Posted: November 7th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I am very proud to share with you that our new paper has been published. This is a collaboration between Svetlana Chachashvili-Bolotin, Sabina Lissitsa and myself:

Chachashvili-Bolotin, S., Lissitsa, S., & Milner-Bolotin, M. (2019). STEM outcomes of second-generation immigrant students with high-skilled parental backgrounds. International Journal of Science Education, 20. doi:10.1080/09500693.2019.1686549

GIREP Newsletter (European Physics Education Group)

Posted: November 6th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

While we naturally focus on the science and physics education communities in North America, there is a log going on in the field in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America. Last summer I was lucky to participate in GIREP 2019 Conference in Budapest. And today I got a Newsletter published by our Australian colleagues. The Newsletter is by the IUPAP – International Union for Pure and Applied Physics and it is International Newsletter on Physics Education. This Newsletter describes what is happening in physics education worldwide. One part of it was about GIREP 2019 and another was about the UBC Physics Olympics.

You can subscribe to it by clicking a Subscribe button on the top left side of the web site. It is a great opportunity to keep abreast of the physics education developments worldwide. Check it out!

Master in Education in Mathematics and Science Education Programs

Posted: November 4th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

My colleagues and I are proud to launch the second year of our M.Ed. in Science Education and the first year in the Mathematics Education Programs:

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UBC Tec Expo 2019

Posted: November 4th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

Once again my team and I participated in the UBC Faculty of Education annual TEC Expo – this is an opportunity to share how innovative technologies can be used to make our teaching more engaging, meaningful and impactful. This year Ryan Lin and Jenny Zhu have helped to discuss our project – the AR and VR resources for STEM education:

We are grateful to the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund for helping us make this project a reality.

TEC EXPO – 2019

GIRLS and STEAM Symposium and Showcase

Posted: October 31st, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

I was invited to contribute to the Girls and STEAM Symposium and Showcase that will take place on Saturday, November 1st at TELUS World of Science. My colleague Wes Wong is one of the organizers. I am glad I can contribute to this event as a mentor and as a volunteer. More than 150 grade 6-8 girls from all over BC attended the event. It was a very special experience for them and for the volunteers:

Pictures from the event: click here for pictures.

Social Media for the Girls and STEAM Symposium and Showcase

Hashtag – #GirlsandSTEAM

Background –

On Saturday, November 2, 300 girls will arrive at Science World for the second annual Girls and STEAM Symposium and Showcase at TELUS World of Science.

During the Girls and STEAM Symposium the girls will enjoy a day filled with unique workshops, amazing keynote speakers, and opportunities to connect with STEAM professionals. They will learn how to be a disease detective, build self-driving cars out of cardboard and discover how movement can be applied to robots, among many other captivating experiences. All participants will receive lunch and snacks, and take home some awesome Girls and STEAM swag and accessories at the end of the day.

The Girls and STEAM Community Showcase is open to the public and will include eye-popping science shows, table-top demonstrations and opportunities to connect with roles models and mentors to explore science careers and the cool science happening right here in our community. The Community Showcase is open to the public from 10 am-6 pm.


Celebrating Math and Science at UBC Faculty of Education

Posted: October 20th, 2019, by Marina Milner-Bolotin

The Physics Room was very busy during the day, as well as our mathematics, biology, chemistry and earth science labs.

Yesterday, on October 19th, 2019 we hosted our 9th Family Math and Science Day. We had more than 600 guests and almost 150 volunteers. We started this event in 2010 and we were not sure how many people would be on board. I was lucky that my colleague – a math educator Dr. Cynthia Nicol and our Education Library Librarian – Jo-Anne Naslund were immediately on board. Most importantly, my husband – a Physics Professor – Dr. Valery Milner was ready to help me out with everything from science demonstrations to the organization of the event and of course with the clean up. We were also lucky to get support from our Faculty and our colleagues.

The first event drew about 200 guests and about 80 volunteers. And it was a good start. Next year it was much easier to attract the families, as the families who attended our first event and enjoyed it told their friends and the event has become a part of the science methods courses for future teachers. So in a few years, it has become an amazing tradition of bringing mathematics and science to the general public and inspiring our future elementary and secondary teachers to engage students and their families in science and mathematics.

The kids and their parents enjoyed biology, chemistry and earth science exhibits very much.

This event also shows that through collaboration you can achieve much more than any one of us can do alone. This year, this was especially clear when we had so many students, staff and faculty came to participate. We also had a lot of secondary science teachers volunteers who came to engage younger students and their families in science. We had many elementary teacher-candidates participate this year as well. Thanks to all of them we were able to explore STEM connection to music, arts and many other exciting fields. As always we had Yvonne Dawydiak and Wes Wong bringing exciting hands-on activities for the students. This year we also had Pacific Museum of Earth with us, as well as Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, which was very exciting.

We also had local mathematics and science organizations such as The Spirit of Math, Math Potential, and Seaquaria engaged. This was especially valuable for the parents, who are looking for extra curricular opportunities for their children.

For more pictures from the day click here.

For some of the experiments from the event click here.

For our research on the topic, clear here:

Milner-Bolotin, M., & Marotto, C. C. F. (2018). Examination of parental engagement in children’s STEM education. Part I: Meta-analysis of the Literature. LUMAT: International Journal on Math, Science and Technology Education, 6(1), 41-59. doi:

Marotto, C. C. F., & Milner-Bolotin, M. (2018). Examination of parental engagement in children’s STEM education. Part II: Parental attitudes and motivation. LUMAT: International Journal on Math, Science and Technology Education, 6(1), 60-86. doi:

Milner-Bolotin, M., & Milner, V. (2017). Family Mathematics and Science Day at UBC Faculty of Education. Physics in Canada, 73(3), 130-132.

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