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Important Information about the Let’s Talk Science Challenge

Important Information about the Let’s Talk Science Challenge

Why participate in the Challenge?

This event series is both fun and challenging! The Let’s Talk Science Challenge supports the development of positive attitudes towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), which leads to sustained interest in these areas in high school.

At a time when students are on the cusp of making important decisions about their high school course choices, participation in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge gives them a unique, positive experience with STEM. There is no charge to participate, so everyone can join!

What does the Let’s Talk Science Challenge look like?

The Let’s Talk Science Challenge is a team-based competitive event offered in the spring of each year to students in Grades 6-8 (ages 11-13) across Canada. This free, enrichment program includes an exciting Question & Answer Competition, a hands-on Engineering Challenge, and a team spirit activity named the Lorna Collins Spirit Award.

Preparation for the competition is important. Students will work in teams or individually to learn STEM concepts provided in a handbook prior to the competition. Let’s Talk Science also offers practice quizzes and design and build challenges available weekly throughout the Build & Learn weekly activities portion. 

In addition to the virtual format offered since 2020, the 2023 Let’s Talk Science Challenge will be offered in-person at various locations to be announced in September.

Schedule for the Challenge

November 1st: Registration opens
January 10: Sending registration package
February 1st: Handbook published
Mid-February to end of April: Build & Learn Weekly Activities (preparation)
The Build & Learn Weekly activities include weekly quizzes and design and build challenges to help students prepare for the Final Culminating Events (competition).  The quizzes will help students prepare for the Final Question and Answer Competition and the Design and Build Challenges for the Final Engineering Challenge. Each week, for 10 weeks, we will cover a new topic that comes from the Study Handbook. 

The 2023 Build & Learn Activities are only offered virtually.
May to mid-june: Final culminating Events (competition)
The Final Culminating Events are the competition portion of the Let’s Talk Science Challenge. Each spring, students compete against each other during a Question and Answer Competition and a Final Engineering Challenge that covers the entire Study Handbook. Students will also showcase their team spirit and their love of STEM by trying to win the Lorna Collins Spirit Award. 

The 2023 Final Culminating Events are offered virtually and in-person at some locations. (Locations to be announced in September)

Mid-june: Winners announcement

The complete schedule, date and locations of events will be posted each year around November 1st. Keep an eye out for the event cards in the event section of our website. 

Who should participate in the Challenge?

The Challenge is geared toward students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 (aged 11-13). We think students in any grade can have fun learning STEM! This is why the activities offered during the Build & Learn portion are open to anyone. Note that only students in Grades 6,7 and 8 can officially compete in the final culminating events.

How many people can register for the Challenge?

Thanks to our virtual platform, there is no limit to the number of students who can participate. You’re invited to register an individual student, a small team or even a whole class.

If you wish to register for one of our in-person activities and events, spots are limited. Each location will have its own limit. Once the capacity is reached, you will be automatically placed on the waiting list and registered for the virtual activities. 

How many are students in a team?

For the virtual activities, a team needs to be of a minimum 1 student without any limit. For the in-person activities, teams need to be composed of 2 to 4 students.

Information about teams is not required to participate in the preparation activities (Build & Learn). However, information about students and teams will be required to participate in the Final Culminating Events (competition).

How do I register students for the Challenge?

Registration opens in November each year. Students must be registered by a teacher or caregiver, they cannot register themselves.
Registration will close 2 weeks before the competition takes place.

I am a caregiver that is doing home schooling. Can I register?
Even though we used the terms students and educators, any adult can register any youth to the Challenge - even  if you are the leader of a community group. Please note that only adults can register.

I am a teacher in a school and have multiple classes. Can I register all my classes under one form?
Yes. You simply have to let us know the total number of students and teams you are registering. You can also register for another teacher at the same school, but know that you will be the one receiving all the communications and responsible for distributing them appropriately. 

Complete our interest form to be notified when registration opens.

How do students prepare for the Challenge?

Students should study from the Let’s Talk Science Challenge Study Handbook (available in February) and participate in the Build & Learn Weekly Activities offered between mid-February and the end of April. The Build & Learn Weekly Activities include live quizzes and practice for the Engineering Challenge through our series of design and build challenges.

What is the Let’s Talk Science Challenge Study Handbook?

The Study Handbook uses a variety of methods to engage students in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Environmental Sciences, Math, Physics and Space Sciences. Some topics are relevant to what they’re learning in school, while others give them a sneak peek of what they will learn in years to come. 

The Let’s Talk Science Challenge Study Handbook has everything students need to study in preparation for the theory portion of the event. The Handbook is available on February 1st on our website. 

How can we participate?

The Let’s Talk Science Challenge 2023 is offered in a virtual or in-person format (locations to be announced in September). 

Note that for the 2023 Challenge, all Build & Learn Activities will be offered virtually no matter if you choose to participate virtually or in-person to the Final Culminating Events (competition).

Virtual format:

Your students can participate if they are by themselves at home or together in a classroom. 

All the live activities (weekly quizzes and final question and answer competition) will be through a secure Zoom Webinar account. A link to access a live broadcast on YouTube will be available on-demand, but note that some interactive features might not be available on YouTube. Recordings of all the live activities will also be available on-demand. 

For the asynchronous activities (Design and Build Challenges, Final Engineering Challenge and Lorna Collins Spirit Award), we will use Flip (formerly Flipgrid). Students who are registered will be able to submit a video and watch the other submissions. All videos are reviewed by Let’s Talk Science before being published. Students can record their videos without sharing their voices or face. It is also possible to submit a photo montage. The Flip pages are protected by usernames. Only the registered students, their educators, Let’s Talk Science employees, and volunteers can access the page. 

In-person format:

You and your students will be invited to visit one of our Outreach sites hosting the Let’s Talk Science Challenge. It is your responsibility to arrange for transportation and accommodation. You also must ensure that you have all the necessary consent required by Let’s Talk Science and your school/school board to attend the event.

The in-person format and requirements may differ for each location. More information will be available in March.

Do my students have to participate in everything?

Not at all. When registering for the Challenge, you register for the Final Culminating Events (competition) of your choice (date and location). You will be automatically registered and receive the Build & Learn activities information.

The Build & Learn activities offered by Let’s Talk Science are meant to help students prepare for the competition with limited involvement from educators, and are completely optional. However, we strongly encourage all students to prepare for the competition to get the most out of the event and succeed. 

You can choose to offer alternative or additional preparation activities that may be better suited to your students. 

What are the languages that the Let’s Talk Science Challenge is offered in?

All the activities, events and resources presented during the Let’s Talk Science Challenge are available in French and English. Students can participate in any combination of both if they want to. As an example, a French immersion class could do the Build and Learn Weekly Activities in French and the Final Culminating Events in English.  The adult that registers will need to fill in the English and the French form. However, only the first participation will count during the Final Culminating Events towards their score.