Let's Talk Science Challenge - Educator FAQs

All Science Challenge 2010 competitors


What is the Let's Talk Science Challenge?

How do students prepare for the Let's Talk Science Challenge?

Why Should my students be involved?

How do I pick a team?

How do I register a team?

How is the day structured?

Who do I contact for more information?

Q. What is the Let's Talk Science Challenge?

A. The Let's Talk Science Challenge is a free science enrichment event for Grades 6, 7 and 8 students developed and led by Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers at universities and colleges across Canada. It appeals to both science enthusiasts and students who may not have previously expressed an interest in science.

The Let's Talk Science Challenge competition day takes place in April or May of each year. Teams of two to four students travel to a local university campus to face-off against teams from nearby schools. The day includes a judged design challenge and a game show style Q&A competition where teams answer questions in a timed environment. To determine the Let's Talk Science Challenge Champions, the scores from both the Q&A and design challenge competitions are tallied. Prizes are awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams and for team spirit.

There is no charge to participate in the Let's Talk Science Challenge.

All Science Challenge 2010 competitors

Q. How do students prepare for the Let's Talk Science Challenge?

A. To prepare for the competition, students study from the Let's Talk Science Challenge handbook (found here) for the weeks/months preceding the competition day. The handbook touches on a variety of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics – some relevant to what they are learning in school now, while other topics give them a sneak peak of what they will learn in years to come.


Students will compete as a team for the whole event. Some teams will divide up the chapters of the handbook so each member will be responsible for the content of 2 or 3 chapters instead of the whole handbook.  Remember  - questions will be presented in a short answer format



Each chapter has a design challenge. Practising these challenges will help them develop team work – collaborating, designing, building and testing.  The design challenge on the event day will NOT be a challenge from the handbook.


There are online quizzes (to be made available starting in February) to test their studying as well as an Ask Us a Question form in which Let’s Talk Science volunteers will be answering questions about handbook content or the competition itself.

Q. Why should my students be involved?

A. For students, participation in the Let's Talk Science Challenge supports the development of positive attitudes towards STEM that leads to sustained interest in these areas in high school. Through study groups and team collaboration, cooperative learning happens and problem-solving skills are developed. At a time when students are on the cusp of making important decisions, participation in the Let's Talk Science Challenge gives them a realistic view of the opportunities and benefits of choosing science-related studies in high school to enhance their post-secondary program and career options.

The Let’s Talk Science Challenge positively impacts Grade 6, 7 and 8 students because it:

Western University's 2012 All Science Challenge

  • brings them on a post-secondary campus and provides contact with university students and scientists,
  • demystifies the post-secondary institution and provides an opportunity for discussion and for meeting role models,
  • puts science on the menu of extracurricular activities,
  • provides an outlet for students who are not being challenged by the curriculum,
  • emphasizes team collaboration, cooperative learning and problem solving skills,
  • encourages students to form study groups, a useful skill for upcoming Let's Talk Science Challenge 2010 winnersyears,
  • and gives a realistic view of opportunities and benefits of choosing a STEM-related field of study in high school to enhance their post-secondary program and career options.

Q. How do I pick a team?

A. There are a number of ways to determine who will come to campus on the day of the challenge. You can decide which is best for you and your students

  • Use the handbook as part of your daily teaching resource. The activities can be done by the whole class. Some teachers will hold a mini-challenge at the school and bring their top 3-4 teams to campus to compete against other schools.
  • Present the idea to the whole class. Many students will want to be part of the team and will study hard to be a top contender.
  • Students (especially those who have participated in the past) will form their own teams, organize their study groups and prepare themselves for the challenge.

Q. How do I register a team?

A. Starting in December, teachers or parents who wish to register a team for the Let's Talk Science Challenge can click on the “Registration” link on this website and create a profile. Once logged in, choose a location the team(s) will participate at. Teachers or educators can come back to register the team name(s) at a later date. They will be able to manage the team information through the “Registration” page.

**A teacher or chaperone MUST accompany the students for the event. The students are not the responsibility of the Let’s Talk Science volunteers**

**Teams are more successful when they prepare for weeks and/or months.  We cannot open up a spot to a new team at the last minute.  If a conflict develops and your teams won't be participating, please contact us as soon as possible so we can offer another team your spot(s) with adequate time to prepare.**

Q. How is the day structured?

A. Although each competition location is slightly unique and the timetable may differ at each site, a typical timetable structure would be similar to the following

8:30 am - 9:30 am

Schools arrive and sign in (all teams must preregister). Students will receive a registration bag.

9:30 am - 10:00 am

Opening Ceremonies, possibly including a keynote speaker from the university or industry.

10:00 am -11:30 am

Question and Answer round. Under time restrictions, students work as a team to answer the presented question. All questions and answers are taken directly from the Let's Talk Science Challenge handbook. Questions are short answer, not multiple choice

11:30 pm - 12:30 pm

Lunch – students are responsible to bring their own lunch unless notified by the local coordinators. Other hands-on demonstrations/activities may be offered.

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Design Challenge. Teams are presented with a finite amount of materials and then given a task to accomplish. This challenge will NOT be in the Let's Talk Science Challenge handbook.

1:30 pm -2:00 pm

Closing ceremonies. Top 3 teams are awarded medals, the team with the most enthusiasm and sportsmanship is awarded the Team Spirit Award!

2:00 - 2:15 pm

Survey completion (so we know how to improve every year!)

2:15 pm

Schools depart from the campus

Q. Who do I contact for more information?

A: For more information, please see our Let's Talk Science Challenge section.  If you have any concerns/questions, please contact Lorna Collins at lcollins@letstalkscience.ca

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