Resources: secondary school

To support and nurture high school students' love for science discovery, the University of Waterloo Science Outreach team offers in-class workshops and on-campus activities to complement the Ontario Science Curriculum.

You can learn more about what we offer through either the subject-specific table shown here or the expandable categories below the table. To book a workshop in class or on campus please visit our online booking form or contact Heather Neufeld at for more information.

High school teacher resources: Curriculum connections and outreach programs

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

Grade Biology Physics Chemistry Environmental Science, Earth and Space Science
9 Sustainable ecosystems:
Endangered Earth IP
The Characteristics of electricity:
Canadian Energy Resources with the ESM IP
Atoms, elements and compounds:
Timeline of the Elements project or Chemistry of the Cosmic Calendar IP

The study of the universe:
Ancient Astronomy IP or Gustav Bakos Observatory tour OC or Chemistry of the Cosmic Calendar IP

10 Tissues, organs and systems of living things:
The Ins and Outs of Digestion IP
Light and geometric optics:
Enlightened Optics IP
Chemical reactions Climate change:
Energize: Sustainable City Challenge IP

Diversity of living things: Evolution and the Tree of Life IP

Evolution: Evolution and the Tree of Life IP

Genetic processes:
Gels and Genes IP or Marshmallow Meiosis IP

Animal structure and function 

Plant anatomy, growth and function

Physics Lab Day OC involves most of the topics below 



Energy and society

Waves and sound

Electricity and magnetism: Geophysics with the ESM

Chem Lab Day Acetaminophen Synthesis Lab OC involves most of the topics below 

Open Science Online Interactive Chemistry Lessons involve most of the topics below

Matter, chemical trends and chemical bonding

Chemical reactions

Quantities in chemical reactions:Geochemistry in Water Resources with the ESM OC

Solutions and solubility:
Geochemistry in Water Resources with the ESM OC

Gases and atmospheric chemistry: Geochemistry in Water Resources with the ESM OC

Scientific solutions to contemporary environmental challenges:
Geochemistry in Water Resources with the ESM OC or Energize: Sustainable City Challenge IP

Human health and the environment

Sustainable agriculture and forestry

Reducing and managing waste

Conservation of energy


Let's Talk Cancer IP

Metabolic processes 

Molecular genetics:
Gels and Genes IP


Population dynamics: Viral Vaccines IP

Physics Lab Day OC involves most of the topics below 


Energy and momentum

Gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields: Geophysics with the ESM

The wave nature of light

Revolutions in modern physics; quantum mechanics and special relativity:
Einstein and Beyond workshop IP (also refer to IQC resources and Perimeter Institute resources)

Open Science Online Interactive Chemistry Lessons involve most of the topics below

Chem Lab Day: Acetaminophen or C17H14O Synthesis LabOC covers Organic Chemistry, Structure and properties of matter, Energy changes and rates of reaction, and Chemical systems and equilibrium


Geochemistry in Water Resources with the ESM OC

Astro-Bubble and Gustav Bakos Observatory tour OC

Planetary science

Recording the Earth's geological history

Earth materials:
Rocks, Minerals, and Microscopes OC with the ESM

Geological processes

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 (or on campus) to conduct curriculum-aligned, hands-on science activities with your students at no cost to you or your school. Please visit our online booking form to register your class for a visit.

The workshops that we currently offer are:

Ancient Astronomy: Gr 9 IP Follow in the footsteps of the great astronomers and discover how they learned about the cosmos through the use of ancient tools and simple math. Compare this with the tools used in observational astronomy today.

Chemistry of the Cosmic Calendar: Gr 9, 10 IP From the formation of the planets to the construction of smartphones, how do elements make up the world around us? Explore how elements formed the planets, and where we discover and use certain elements today.

Einstein and Beyond: IP A quick survey of modern physics: from general relativity to particle accelerators, explore modern physics concepts through hands-on activities. Learn about the research that is happening today at PI, IQC, the University of Waterloo, and other world-class physics institutions.

Endangered Earth: Gr 9 IP Students assume the role of conservation biologists and work in teams to protect endangered species and their habitats. Learning about species at risk, teams allocate funding and advise on land development.

Energize: Sustainable City Challenge: Gr 10 IP In a board game simulation, students develop a sustainable energy strategy for the Waterloo Region using real-world data. Teams are challenged to reduce their carbon emissions by 80% before the year 2050!

Enlightened Optics: Gr 11 IP Explore reflection, refraction, and total internal reflection through demonstrations and activities. Discover the different ways light travels and moves in the environment.

Evolution and the Tree of Life: Gr 11 IP Reconstruct relationships and unravel evolutionary timelines in this workshop that outlines the past, present and future of the tree of life.

Gels and Genes: Gr 11, 12 IP or OC With hands-on micro pipetting and gel electrophoresis experiments, students learn techniques in interpreting and analyzing DNA in a forensic setting.

Let's Talk Cancer: Gr 11, 12 IP Explore the biology of cancer and emerging biotherapeutic treatments. Students assess cellular proteins and problem-solve to develop a cancer treatment.

Marshmallow Meiosis: Gr 8, 11 IP A fun intro or wrap-up to your meiosis unit, this workshop has students sort parental chromosomes, select new offspring chromosomes, and decode the new chromosomes to construct their unique baby creatures.

The Ins and Outs of Digestion: Gr 11, 12 IP Our bodies digest food every day, but what's really happening inside us? Explore digestion with this hands-on kit that discusses digestive anatomy, processes and some ways digestion can go wrong!

Viral Vaccines: IP Through hands-on activities and experiments, students will act out a zombie apocalypse scenario from the perspective of scientists working for the World Health Organization. Students will learn that vaccines are effective at preventing and protecting against the spread of infectious disease.

On-campus resources

Earth Sciences Museum workshops

The Earth Sciences Museum has developed several workshops that are tailored specifically to meet the Ontario Science curriculum and can be delivered in your classroom, on campus, or virtually. For full workshop descriptions and to book, please visit their Programs page. Their geochemistry workshops on campus are popular!

Chem Lab Days

The Department of Chemistry offers on-campus laboratory activities that correspond to the Ontario science curriculum. Your Gr 11/12 students will conduct hands-on science in a university lab setting. Science tours and lectures might also be arranged. These visits occur only during our exam periods in December and April. Pairs well with the Geochem in Water Resources workshop and lab tour with the ESM for a whole-day visit. Chem Lab Days info and booking.

Gustav Bakos Observatory

Young astronomers can view the universe through the telescope at the University of Waterloo's Gustav Bakos Observatory. Free tours include a short talk on astronomy (around 30 minutes) plus an opportunity to ask questions, followed by a tour of the dome. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a private tour for your class, please email the observatory coordinator at


Join scientists from the Waterloo Centre for Astrophysics in our portable planetarium to learn more about the wonders of the Universe! This activity can happen on campus during your group's visit, or we can bring the night sky to you. Very specific location requirements are described in more detail on the request form.

Physics Lab Days

Grade 11 and 12 physics classes engage in investigative lab stations specially designed to ignite their curiosity and to encourage them to make connections between various aspects of Physics. These visits occur only during our exam periods in December and April, on campus. Physics Lab Days info and booking

Other resources

Institute for Quantum Computing

Students will get a hands-on introduction to the quantum principles of superposition and measurement. They will use these ideas to build their own laser-based quantum cryptography demonstration to transmit information with security guaranteed by the laws of physics. See the IQC Outreach page for more details.

Open Science Online Interactive Chemistry Lessons

The Department of Chemistry has developed freely available, interactive online chemistry lessons covering select topics from grade 11 and 12 Canadian high school curricula. Each lesson focuses on clearly articulated learning objectives using a combination of text, images, animations, interactive questions with immediate feedback, and narrated example problems with solutions. For more information and to access the lessons, visit

Periodic Table Project

In celebration of International Year of Chemistry (IYC), the University of Waterloo's Department of Chemistry and the Faculty of Science encouraged chemistry educators and enthusiasts worldwide to adopt an element and artistically interpret that element. The project created a periodic table as a mosaic of science and art, with interactive apps available for android and iPhone. Visit the Periodic Table Project to find out more!

Timeline of the Elements

We celebrated 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table by investigating the discovery of the elements. This project consists of a website resource, posters for high school classrooms, and an exhibit in the Science Teaching Complex on campus. Explore more at the Timeline website.


Chem 13 News is an online magazine published for teachers of introductory chemistry by the Chemistry Department at the University of Waterloo. Eachissue contains articles, labs, puzzles, cartoons and helpful advice for high school chemistry teachers. Past issues can be viewed on the web page, and stay tuned for amazing special issues over the next year! To find out more, visit the Chem13news home page.

Perimeter Institute

The Faculty of Science is proud of our strong ties with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Perimeter’s award-winning outreach team brings science to life and raises scientific literacy through classroom resources, public lectures, teacher workshops, an educator network, and a summer school where students interact with Perimeter researchers. For more information, visit the Perimeter Institute Outreach page.

Science Subject Contests

Challenge your students. Test their knowledge. Arrange for a Waterloo Science Exam.

  • Sir Isaac Newton Exam: A prestigious physics prize exam, written each spring by thousands of students from across Canada and around the world. Covers basic physics, mainly from the Ontario Secondary School Physics Curriculum. Annually in May.
  • Chem 13 News Exam: This challenging contest has been running for 50 years! Students compete for scholarships. Covers material a well-read senior high school chemistry student is likely to encounter. Annually in May, 40 questions in 75 minutes.
  • Avogadro Exam: Ontario Grade 11 chemistry students and students anywhere at a similar level are eligible. This 40-question, multiple choice exam covers the Structure of Matter, Bonding, Reactions, Solutions and Gases. Written during one 75-minute period. Annually in May.

For general inquiries please contact:

Heather Neufeld
Manager, Science Outreach
Phone: 519-888-4567 x31083
Location: EIT 2010