School Visits and Workshops

Between the months of May and June 2017, X-Chem Outreach was able to reach around 3000 young people through workshops offered to grades Primary to Twelve in northeastern and central Nova Scotia, including both the Chignecto Regional and Strait Regional school boards. The workshops reached six different counties of Nova Scotia.

If you are a community group or a school class and you would like to participate in this program in 2018, please contact us. The best time is May to June, but other times may be able to be arranged. The workshops can be held on or off campus. These are typically around an hour in length, and include demonstrations and hands-on activities, with age-appropriate explanations.

There is no fee. This part of our program is funded by  Actua, and we are very grateful for their support.

We can offer a variety of presentations in chemistry and science and coding. We have the following suggestions to choose from:

Visits for May/June 2018 can be scheduled for May 8, 2018, on.  Please contact us at  We have the following workshops to choose from:

• Magic (Grade Primary)
Exploring the wonders of chemistry.

• Move That Mouse (Grade Primary)
Introduce the basic idea of coding, using language (instructions) that computers/robots understand to have that computer/robot complete a task. Will use a robot mouse and four simple commands, (forward, backwards, turn left, turn right) to guide a mouse through a maze to get its cheese.  Use of coding cards to plan the code and to have a copy of the code so it can be repeated.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Water (Grade 1)
Looking at the nature of water through a series of fun demonstrations and hands on experiments.

• Follow The String (Grade 1)
Using Edison robots will show different ways of giving instructions to robots/computers that can be easier than giving step by step instructions. Will have robot follow a line, follow a light, respond to sound.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Loopty Loop (Grade 1)
Introduce the ideas of loops to make coding easier. Start by using 4 commands (forward, reverse, turn left, turn right) to move a robot around. Use coding cards to plan out a path (square).  Look for patterns where series of commands are repeated.  Use a loop command to program robot to make same shape.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Forestry (Grade 2)
Forests are very important to the character of Atlantic Canada. This presentation will explore the different types of trees in Nova Scotia, as well as talk about the importance of the forestry industry and recycling.

• Be Prepared (Grade 2)
Introduce the idea of if/then in coding. Start by using 4 commands (forward, reverse, turn left, turn right) to move a robot around. Use coding cards to plan out a path.  How do you deal with something that might happen (something in the way)?  Use if/then to plan for obstacles along the way.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Bones (Grade 3)
With the help of a full skeleton, X-Chem will explore the types of bones in the body as well as their properties. This presentation includes a hands-on activity about animal bones.

• Info On The Go (Grade 3)
Use Ozobots to show how computers/robots can get more instruction while already running.  Ozobots get instructions from the color of the lines they are following; different combinations will have the Ozobots do different things.  Will solve mazes using different colored lines.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Food Science (Grade 4)
Eating healthy is an important concept for children to learn at an early age. This presentation deals with the building blocks of food, such as calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. This presentation also includes testing food for fat, sugar, and starch.

• Sphero Olympics (Grade 4)
Use different ways of controlling a ball robot (Sphero mini) to play different games.

• Phase Changes (Grade 5)
Many children are familiar with the three phases of water, however not many are familiar with the strange and interesting properties of other materials. Students will be engaged in activities that explore the strange and interesting properties of other materials.

• Functions (Grade 5)
Coding can be easier if we assign a series of commands to one word/phrase/button. Will assign a different series of commands to buttons on a remote control and then use the remote control to code the robot.  Also includes a demo of a LEGO boost robot.

• Metals (Grade 6)
Metals are everywhere! This presentation will guide students through their existing knowledge of common metals and lead them into the exciting and weird world of metals. Topics include: memory metal, mining processes, metals for health, and more!

• Solar System (Grade 6)
Use ball robots to make a model of the solar system with orbiting planets.  Will involve calculating circumference of a circle and the idea of ratios. Note: To do a full solar system close to scale with all eight planets will require a large open room (gym) Can do fewer planets with smaller room.

• Polymers (Grade 7)
Polymers are extraordinary molecules. It is hard to think what we would do without them! In this presentation students will explore the properties of polymers through a series of engaging demonstrations and hands on experiments.

• Engineering (Grade 8)
Engineers are the built environments problem solvers. This presentation will turn the classroom into multiple engineering firms as students compete to solve a problem as engineers.

• Acids and Bases (Grade 9-12)
Students will test acids and bases and common chemicals. We will talk about weak and strong acids and show how this affects their properties, including conductivity. They will see how dry ice can change the pH of water and discuss this in light of acid rain and the effects of rising carbon dioxide levels on the dissolution of coral reefs.

• Electrochemistry (Grade 9-12)
This presentation will discuss galvanic cells and red ox reactions. Students will make batteries and try their hand at electrochemical writing.

 We would be happy to discuss the activities with the teacher so we don’t repeat anything that may have been already done in class.

 This part of our program is funded by Actua*, NSERC (Promoscience), and the Canada Summer Jobs program, and we are very grateful for their support. In particular, funding for the Codemaker workshops, and Codemaker segments of workshops, are supported by Google and Cancode via Actua.

The leaders involved in 2018:

  • Megan Gurney who has completed a BSc in Chemistry and is now enrolled in the BEd. program.
  • Rebecca Acker who has completed a BSc in Chemistry and is now enrolled in the Engineering program
  • James Kendall who has completed a BSc in Physics.
  • Denise Webb who has completed a degree in Human Nutrition
  • Emma Boudreau who has completed two years of a BSc in Human Kinetics.

If  have any questions, please contact us  at or contact Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer.