The Faculty of Science’s Departments and Schools offer many events, activities and resources to help high school students explore science and the many careers where science can help you develop your skill set and knowledge.
Plant Genetics Workshop
In this workshop offered by the Department of Biology, high school students can have a “hands-on” experience performing molecular genetic experiments with the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The five-hour workshop, including a one-hour break for lunch, teaches students about amplifying DNA and monitoring gene activity. To find out more, contact Dr. Elizabeth Weretilnyk.
Magic of Molecules
This show runs about three times a year – once in February and October (virtually) and once in person (late November/early December)
This is a made-at-McMaster show that introduces audiences of all ages to the magic of chemistry. Magic with Molecules is the flagship community outreach event for the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology. This show combines education with entertainment to build science literacy and inspire the next generation of scientists.
Sustainability Chemistry Lab
This is a lab designed here at McMaster for high school students to come and investigate how to identify different plastics based on their properties, and ways we can break down plastics into their base monomers.
Opportunities to come and try this experiment usually run in late April/early May
Attend an Earth Science or Environment and Society Lecture at McMaster
Grade 11 and 12 high school classes are invited to visit McMaster University and participate in any of the following lectures during the school year.
EARTHSC 1G03 – Earth and the Environment
ENVIRSC 1C03 – Climate, Water and Environment
ENVSOCTY 1HA3 – Society, Culture and Environment
ENVSOCTY 1HB3 – Population, Cities and Development
ENVSOCTY 2EI3 – Environment & Society: Challenges and Solutions
EARTHSC 2GG3 – Natural Disasters
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hosted by the School of Earth, Environment & Society, this event fulfills part of the Ontario geography curriculum for grades 9, 11 and 12 students. The annual GIS Day assists in raising the visibility of the field of geomatics among high school students and their teachers. Students can participate in various hands-on computer activities with ArcView, GPS, 3D GeoCAVE and Map Skills. Click here for more information about GIS Day.
High School Visits
You can have a graduate student in the School of Earth, Environment & Society visit your high school classroom and give a presentation. (Only available to schools within a 25 km radius of McMaster University.) Your students can learn firsthand how science (whether it be biology, chemistry or physics) can be applied to the physical environment. They can also learn about the numerous career opportunities associated with a B.Sc. in Earth and Environmental Sciences. For more information, please contact Luc Bernier.
High-Performance Laboratory Tours
Our Kinesiology tours are designed for senior-level students in the health and fitness area (e.g., 12 U Exercise Science, 12 U Biology, College Health and Wellness Courses). Tours last up to 120 minutes and are intended to introduce students to commonly used tests of human performance and body composition. For more information about kinesiology lab tours, click here.
Visits from High School Students
Every year, we organize activities for visiting groups of high school students. For their half-day, or full-day stay at McMaster, we offer various activities, including: visiting a lecture in a first-year course; attending a lecture about math and its applications; conversation about what it takes to be a good math student; discussions with the students from the Math and Stats society; and a guided campus tour. Students usually have lunch in Student Centre, and have time to walk around campus on their own. Send us an email if you wish to organize a visit
Visits to Local High Schools
From time to time, upon invitation, we visit local high schools. Often, our visit includes discussions with math teachers and a lecture to students about mathematics, applications of mathematics, and jobs which involve mathematics. Please contact us if you wish to organize a visit.
Canadian Math Kangaroo Contest
Every March, we host a Math Kangaroo contest for grades 1-12. This is a fun contest, which involves working individually on math problems appropriate for the age (grade) of the contestants. Please visit https://mathkangaroo.ca/ for further information, and to see how to register. Registration for the contest opens in December.
Zanzibar Group Math Competition
This is a new competition, as of November 2023 and is open to students in grades 9-12. A couple of months before the contest, we will send an email to high school teachers and ask them to advertise the competition, encourage students to form groups (maximum three students per group), and send us the names of all students who will participate. The groups work on a number of math problems, ranging from straightforward to challenging.
Community of High School Math Teachers
The Department of Mathematics & Statistics has previously hosted and plans to again host, a Dialogue on Transition Issues with math teachers in the region. We invite teachers to share their insights and experiences about grade 12 math courses and we discuss how Level I math courses at McMaster have changed to adapt to changes in the high school mathematics curriculum.
If you are a grade 12 math teacher, math department head, guidance counselor or secondary school principal, we would welcome your attendance. We advertise this event via our email list of teachers in the broader Hamilton and Toronto areas.
Mathematics Review Manual
The Mathematics Review Manual is an excellent resource for students who will be taking first-year calculus at university. It is strongly recommended that students work through this review during the summer months before their first semester at university.
McMaster Equitable Pathways to Learning University Sciences (MePLUS) is a year-long program built on mentorship, leadership opportunities and science workshops, which aims to provide access to, promote and demystify post-secondary education opportunities in STEM, specifically in the natural and physical sciences.
Its year-long programming brings high school students to campus for science workshops as well as leadership/personal development. MePLUS focuses on youth from equity-deserving groups, specifically Black, Indigenous and Latinx high school students in the local Hamilton and surrounding catchment areas.
To learn more about the program, please visit our website.
Let’s Talk Science – Hands-on/minds-on activities for students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, on all Science related subjects
Let’s Talk Science strives to improve science literacy through leadership, innovative educational programs, research and advocacy. We motivate and empower youth to use science, technology and engineering to develop critical skills, knowledge and attitudes needed to thrive in our world.
Visit the Let’s Talk Science website for more information about activities.
Nuclear Reactor Tours
Nuclear Reactor Tours Take a tour of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor – by far the most powerful research reactor at a Canadian university
W.J. McCallion Planetarium – Learn about planets, stars, galaxies, and other fascinating objects in our Universe, while stargazing in the Planetarium’s night sky.
We invite you to take a peek at Hamilton’s night sky through a telescope with weekly observing nights hosted by Sidewalk Astronomy.
The Brain Bee is a competition for high school students, grades 9 through 12. It is fashioned after a traditional Spelling Bee, except that students answer questions about the brain and neuroscience research. It is designed to stimulate interest and excitement about brain research.
Students study topics on memory, sleep, intelligence, emotion, perception, stress, aging, brain imaging, neurology, neurotransmitters, genetics, and brain disease, among other topics. It is an exciting opportunity for high school students to learn about the brain and brain research.
Students visit the university in their area to meet students and professors who are doing brain research. It is an avenue of communication, through media and students, to raise awareness of brain research in the community. It is a mechanism to attract bright young minds to the study of neuroscience. The Brain Bee is an effective recruitment tool. We have examples of several students in our current undergraduate programs who chose to study the brain because of their experience as high school competitors in the Brain Bee.