Science & Education

Teacher Resources

We are continuously developing resources for students, teachers and classrooms. Previously these have taken the form of learning opportunities for students, and programs for connecting our scientists with classrooms. Moving forward we are developing kits and lesson plans for teachers, bringing our science content into the classrooms through the local science curricula. We also encourage you to give us your contact details and information about what types of resources would be the most useful for you, by going to this form.

Existing resources (all free!):

  • Dark Matter Day Workshop: A half-day collection of activities and talks that introduces the evidence suggesting the existence of Dark Matter, how it could be detected, and the efforts underway at the McDonald Institute to detect dark matter. For Grade 11 & 12 Physics. This will tentatively be held in late October.
  • Summer of Science Program: A summer program for middle school and high school students featuring two afternoons a week for six weeks, exploring the various sciences of the McDonald Institute through an inquiry approach. The focus is more on the process of doing science, rather than simple science content. The application period will open in late spring.
  • Visitor Centre and McDonald Institute Lab tours: Bring your classroom to us. We provide tours through the McDonald Institute Visitor Centre, give information about the Institute, and provide tours of various labs in the Physics Department. We can also coordinate with the Queen’s Observatory, The Miller Geology Museum, the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Please email Outreach@McDonaldInstitute.ca for to arrange a (currently virtual) tour.
  • Scientist in the Classroom Program: Request a student, researcher, or professor to visit (physically or virtually) your classroom. Our scientists can speak to what to expect at University, the exciting research opportunities available to students, answer questions about their field, or anything else that you can imagine. We tailor these visits by working with the teachers, so no two visits are the same. Please email Outreach@McDonaldInstitute.ca to arrange a Scientist virtually in your classroom.

Resources in development:

  • Classroom Kits (includes slides, activities, teachers guides), in conjunction with Let’s Talk Science:
    • Science as a Practice: A resource for teachers covering scientific practices using McDonald Institute sciences, such as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment, Dark Matter, new technologies, and more. This kit will focus on innovation and the scientific method, using particle detection, the stand model of particle physics, the SNO experiment, and Dark Matter experiments as references. This will be targeted towards grade 9 and 10 general science, and grade 11 and 12 chemistry, physics, and earth and space science. This kit will fit inside a larger Drift Classroom Program, tentatively called Drifting Together: Art and Science. Please see below for more information on Drift – Art and Dark Matter.
    • The SNO Discovery: This kit will focus on the SNO experiment, covering topics of energy and mass conservation, nuclear fusion, energy transport, particle physics, conservation of momentum, forces and dynamics, and the impact on society. This will be targeted for grade 11 and 12 physics, with a condensed format for earth and space science.
    • The search for Dark Matter: This kit will focus on Dark Matter and Dark Matter experiments, covering topics of energy and mass conservation, cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, particle physics, conservation of momentum, forces and dynamics, and the impact on society. This will be targeted for grade 11 and 12 physics, with a condensed format for earth and space science.
  • Drift – Art and Dark MatterDrift is an Artist Residency that we are running with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University and SNOLAB. Overcoming scientific challenges requires thinking of these problems in new ways, making connections that are often neglected. Scientific endeavours are also about understanding our place in the Universe and making meaning of existence. Both of these focuses are consistent with and demand engagement with art. Thus, Drift sponsored four international artists to visit the Nobel-prize winning SNOLAB facility and meet with scientists and engineers before making unique art pieces inspired by their residency. These pieces will be on display as a new exhibit at the Agnes in January 2021 before travelling to other art galleries around Canada. We are developing components for the kits above that tie in to the digital content available with Drift. We are also designing an in-class activity where a science class and an arts class work together. We aim to make content and opportunities to get art students thinking about science in their art, and science students thinking about art in their science. To facilitate this, we would greatly benefit from teacher input on how to best enable these exchanges.
  • A summer teacher workshop: Details to come!


While we develop our own materials, we would like to recognize the wealth of resources from our partners and other institutes. We recommend you check out the following: