Science teachers aren't supposed to be in the same room as pyrotechnics, but with Iron Science everything goes a little better with fire.
The Discovery Channel, in conjunction with the Schulich School of Engineering and the University of Calgary, brought Iron Science to Canadian youth via live webcast Thu., Nov. 22. The event was more like a rock concert than a science fair with flashing lights and pyrotechnics punctuating the displays of some of the best science teachers across Canada.
The teams represented most of the major Canadian regions, with hometown heroes, team Science Rocks from Calgary's Juno Beach High School strutting their stuff first.
"I'm a science teacher myself [from] before I got into being an education professor," said faculty of education professor and Iron Science judge Ann Sherman. "Anything that highlights great science teaching I'm in support of. The earlier we're getting kids excited about science, the better."
Sherman wasn't the only one excited. Kids were clapping loudly, yelling and cheering for each group of science teachers as they took the stage. One of the loudest cheers that rippled through the crowd was for when team Science Rocks, consisting of Cheryl Wecels, Anne-Marie Foster, and Kyla Simpson, took to the stage in a mock-CSI presentation.
"It's really different, because you never know in your class if they're really into it," said Foster. "It's surprising to see them so excited to see everything that goes on in the presentations."
Each of the teams used different secrets to excite the audience. Some teams, like team Unintelligent Design from Manitoba, used a booger cannon to blow fake snot across the stage. Other teams took a magical trip through the digestive system, like B.C.'s Enzymatics. "It's interesting to see the integration between different disciplines now," said judge Luke Azevado from the Calgary Film Office.
"The creative industries are about 14 per cent of our population, so what you're starting to see across all disciplines--science especially--is that they're starting to use aspects of multimedia. What we saw today is the use of theatrical presentation, props and accessories to get their points across."
As Iron Science was styled after the famous culinary television show Iron Chef, a secret ingredient was a necessity to the proceedings. This year's theme was the human body.