When the registration period opens for Kinesiology Lab Days, dates sell nearly as quickly as Taylor Swift concert tickets. 

Within just a couple of minutes this year, all the available spots were full for Ontario high schools to sign up students to attend the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences’ (KHS) live labs for an interactive experience in university-level education. 

Approximately 1,700 grade 11 and 12 students (from 54 high schools), with an interest in science, physical education and kinesiology, are taking part in kin lab days this year. Participants travel from regions across the province to attend, including Windsor, Oshawa, Peterborough and the Greater Toronto Area, in addition to local schools. 

“This year is special because it will be more of a celebration with some extra swag and prizes, and we have a new lab we didn’t offer in previous years,” says Rob Hicks, operating manager and a Kin Lab Days organizer. “We want to show how multidisciplinary kinesiology is and to offer a hands-on learning experience where complex concepts are taught in a way that’s easy to understand.” 

From examining real human brain specimens to controlling a car with muscle activity, all labs are led by current KHS undergraduate and graduate students. 

“It’s a great opportunity both for the high school students and for our students who get to experience teaching and leadership,” said Hicks. “I’ve been participating since around 2013 and it’s a very fun environment.” 

Students explore human musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, neuroscience, injury prevention, biology, chemistry, sensory inputs and more. 

Tamara DeSouza, a current Master of Science in Kinesiology and Health Sciences student, will be instructing at Kin Lab Days this year, as she did in her undergraduate studies. 

“The labs are a teaser to the types of experiences and protocols that students will have if they choose to pursue a BSc in Kinesiology,” she says. “It can motivate them to pursue further education.” 

Kin Lab Days began 50 years ago to introduce the relatively new field of kinesiology and the world’s first Department of Kinesiology, established by the University of Waterloo in 1967. The department created a place for human biochemistry, physiology, neuroscience and biomechanical scientists to work together with psychology and sociology experts to investigate and define the science of human movement. 

This year’s Kin Lab Days take place from December 6 to 8 and December 11 to 15 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.