Resources: elementary schools

University of Waterloo Science Outreach connects our students with your students! Our in-person and online workshops help science discovery happen.

The various resources that we offer to Grade 1-8 classrooms and community groups are shown in the Grade-specific table below and linked to more detail in the following sections. Please visit our online booking form to register your class for a visit.  

Two students play with an electrostatic generator at an open house event.

Elementary school teacher resources: Curriculum connections and outreach programs

V: virtual/online; IP: in-person; OC: on-campus only

Grade Life Systems Structures and Mechanisms Matter and Energy Earth and Space Systems

Needs and characteristics of living things: Welcome Home Bear V

Materials, objects and everyday structures

Energy in our lives:
Energy Exploration IP

Daily and seasonal changes: Welcome Home Bear V

2 Growth and changes in animals:
Building Bugs IP
Medieval Machines IP
Properties of liquids and solids:
Matter Matters IP or WWCGF or What Floats in a Moat? V, IP

Air and water in the environment: WWCGF or Groundwater Adventures with the ESM IP or V

3 Growth and changes in plants:
Root of the Matter IP
Strong and stable structures:
Earthquake! V, IP or One Dog Sleigh V
Forces causing movement:
Earthquake! V, IP or What Floats in a Moat? V, IP or One Dog Sleigh V
Soils in the environment: WWCGF
4 Habitats and communities:
Wetland Food Web IP or WWCGF
Pulleys and Gears:
Pulling Your Weight IP 
Light and sound Rocks and Minerals:
Rocks and Minerals with the ESM V, IP, OC or Earthquake! V, IP
5 Human organ systems:
Fight or Flight V, IP
Forces acting on structures and mechanisms:
Natural Disasters with the ESM
Properties of and changes in matter:
Crime Labs V, IP
Conservation of energy and resources:
6 Biodiversity Flight:
High Flyers V, IP

Electricity and electrical devices: Graph-light! IP with the ESM

Exploration Mars V, IP or Observatory tour OC
7 Interactions in the environment Form and function:
Entrepreneurial Science IP
Pure substances and mixtures:
Mix it Up V, IP
Heat in the environment
8 Cells:
Marshmallow Meiosis IP
Systems in action:
Watershed Moments IP or Entrepreneurial Science IP
Hydro-Logical Cycle IP 
Water Systems:
Watershed Moments IP or Hydro-Logical Cycle IP or WWCGF

Let's Talk Science Workshops

Let’s Talk Science provides a unique opportunity for you to invite University of Waterloo Science student volunteers into your classroom (in-person, or virtual/online) to conduct curriculum-aligned, hands-on science activities with your students at no cost to you or your school (if virtual, you provide the basic supplies for activities if needed). The workshops that we currently offer to Grade 1-8 classrooms and community groups are listed below and in the Grade-specific table above. Please visit our online booking form to register your class for a visit.

Building Bugs (Gr 2-3, 75 min., IP): How are living things adapted for survival? Design the best bug, for various environments! Students learn about the form and function of various insect.

Creatures of Habitats (Gr 4-6, 75 min., V): Where the wild things are? Right outside our houses! Students explore the importance of communities within their habitats through origami. They will create energy pyramids that not only show who eats who but where all that energy goes! They will then choose their own animals and figure out where they belong as they navigate through several different habitats.

Crime Labs: (Gr 4-8, 75 min., V, IP) CSI? Dexter? Bones? Crime Scene Investigation may seem like it really only happens in movies and TV shows but forensic science applies various disciplines of science like chemistry and biology to find and test evidence to help solve cases. Students apply their knowledge of density, chemical change, and fingerprinting as members of the forensic science team who were hired to find a thief. (Warning: Lots of materials required, but super fun)

Earthquake! (Gr 3-5, 75 min., V, IP): Oh no! There’s an earthquake! Wait, what even is an earthquake? Students learn how and why earthquakes happen and about the technologies that allow structures to resist an earthquake’s powerful force. They then build and test their earthquake-resistant structures on earthquake tables.

Energy Exploration (Gr 1-2, 60 min., IP): Use all of your senses to categorize and investigate different types of energy and find out where energy comes from.

Entrepreneurial Science (Gr 6-8, 75 min., IP): Students learn about the economics of science by forming companies to design self-propelled objects. Teams design, 'purchase' parts, build, and test their creations.

Exploration Mars (Gr 6-8, 90 min., V, IP): Experience the challenges of space exploration using unmanned space probes. Explore different types of space probes - Orbiters, Landers, and Rovers. Students will build and test a lander in hopes of discovering new information about Mars and whether it could ever have supported life!

Fight or Flight (Gr 4-6, 90 min., V, IP): Grown-ups are not the only ones who experience stress - kids get stressed too! Students explore what happens in their nervous system, endocrine system, and circulatory system when their brain detects stressful situations. Students will also discuss ways to identify, reduce, and manage stress in their lives.

High Flyers (Gr 5-6, 75 min., V, IP): Explore various aspects of flight and how machines and birds are able to achieve efficient flight. Discuss “what forces act on a plane”, “what causes lift in a plane”, and “how do different wing shapes help achieve different types of flight”. Students will apply their knowledge by building and testing various paper planes in an ultimate paper plane building championship.

The Hydro-Logical Cycle (Gr 8, 75 min., IP): Explore our relationship to the water cycle by discovering how much water is on the planet, how it behaves, and how to conserve it.

Marshmallow Meiosis (Gr 8+, 75 min, IP): This activity introduces genetics and is an extension to the Gr. 8 curriculum. Students sort parental chromosomes, select new offspring chromosomes and decode the new karyotype. Meiosis, fertilization, development, and birth – all in one class!

Matter Matters (Gr 2, 75 min., IP): Students explore the properties of solids, liquids, and gases and their interactions in exciting hands-on stations.

Medieval Machines (K-Gr 2, 75 min., IP): Catapults, drawbridges and castles teach students about levers, wheels, axles, gears, pulleys, and inclined planes. A great introduction to the topic with hands-on simple machines.

Mix It Up (Gr 6-8, 90 min., V, IP): Flowers and fireworks? Who knew chemistry could be so beautiful?! Chemistry must really matter... (badumtsss!) Students explore why some things dissolve and not others, how particles interact with each other, and how we can use separation techniques in the real world. (Warning: Lots of materials required, but super fun)

One Dog Sleigh (Gr 3, 60 min.): Oh what an adventure! In this science storytime, our volunteers will share a book following a child and her dog, and all kinds of forces that cause movement are at work. Gravity and friction can be their friends or their foes as they ride the sleigh through the forest on a snowy winter’s day. Students then build their own sleigh to participate in the ultimate sleigh loading contest!

Pulling Your Weight (Gr 4, 60 min., IP): There's hard work to be done! Which machine will make your work easier? Students problem-solve and learn about gears, pulleys and ramps.

Root of the Matter (Gr 2-3, 75 min., IP): Within a species, plants show remarkable diversity. Learn about the adaptations within known food plants, and how your bean plant will survive different scenarios (e.g. drought, frost, pests).

Watershed Moments (Gr. 8, 75 min., IP): Hands-on activities for students to learn how watersheds work, where their water comes from, and our local Grand River watershed.

What Floats in a Moat? (Gr 1-3, 60 min., V): Time to set sail! In this science storytime, students follow the adventure of Archie the goat and his friend Skinny the hen as they try to figure out the best way to cross a moat without sinking. After our volunteer reads the book to your class, students explore the different properties of solids and how they relate to buoyancy in water by building and testing out their own boats.

Welcome Home Bear: (Gr 1-3, 45 min., V): Not too deep, wet, dry, or steep! In this science storytime, bear is looking for a new place to live but needs everything to be just right. After our volunteer reads the story to your class, students will help different animals find a place to live by matching them to their environments in a game of animal BINGO.

Wetland Food Web (Gr 4-6, 60 min., IP): Examining the biodiversity within a wetland ecosystem, students learn how all living things are connected and used in energy pyramids that can alter various habitats and communities.

On-campus resources

Earth Sciences Museum

The University of Waterloo's Earth Sciences Museum is located in the heart of Waterloo's main campus. We also have an amazing virtual tour of our exhibits! We offer virtual, in-person, and on-campus curriculum-aligned online workshops appropriate for elementary school classes. View our workshops and register, or email

Guskav Bakos Observatory

The Gustav Bakos Observatory, named in honour of the first astronomer at the University of Waterloo, houses a twelve-inch telescope, which is located on the roof of the Physics building. The observatory has been in operation since 1967. The telescope has been used for research on visual binary stars, undergraduate student assignments and public tours. To book an online talk or tour contact

Other Resources

Engineering Science Quest

This award-winning joint initiative from the Faculties of Engineering and Science has a number of excellent workshops for your classroom. For more information, visit their workshop page and download the brochure.

Let's Talk Science Challenge

This free, fun-filled program for Grades 6-8 encourages students to build their team skills, interact with relevant role models and test their abilities against peers. The Challenge, online for the last two years, is a weekly fun team quiz event that inspires students to acquire science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) knowledge beyond their curriculum. The Challenge runs in the spring, register directly through Let's Talk Science.

Tomatosphere Project

Join an international and outer-space project brought to you by Let's Talk Science! Students compare the growth of tomato seeds that were either exposed to normal Earth conditions or to 22 months in space. More information and resources.

Waterloo-Wellington Children's Groundwater Festival

The Earth Sciences Museum and many of our UWaterloo researchers help out at this popular festival every year. Whether virtual or in-person, this event is a great addition to your teaching, and their website has plenty of resources available year-round.

General inquiries

Heather Neufeld
Manager, Science Outreach
Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 31083
Location: EIT 2010