Program Description:

The goal of this course is to introduce students to scientific ways of thinking and inspire them to keep asking questions about the world around them. The course will use a hands-on and minds-on approach to engage students in the study of mechanics (Greek μηχανική).  Students will engage with scientific experiments using everyday life objects, data collection sensors, computer simulations, video cameras, and smartphone applications.

This program is designed around 6 topics, spanning 10 classes:

  1. Topic One: Science and scientific method
  2. Topic Two: Describing and analyzing motion: Kinematics
  3. Topic Three: Applying Newton’s laws to predict the motion of objects: Dynamics
  4. Topic Four: Exploring the laws of conservation and their applications
  5. Topic Five: Examining the law of Universal Gravitation on Earth and far, far away
  6. Topic Six: Examining laws of motion of fluids and their applications to everyday life


UBC - exact location TBA

Participants' Age & Class Capacity: 

The course is open to students who are in Grades 6 to 8. All classes will have a maximum capacity of 24 students. Within the capacity, there will always be a maximum 12:1 ratio of students to teachers. Classes will be 2 hours long.

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts."
Richard Feynman

Did You Know:

Richard Feynman was one of the most inspirational and well-known scientists of the 20th century. In 1965, he shared a Physics Nobel Prize for his discoveries of quantum electrodynamics. He was well-known for his unbounded curiosity, a great sense of humour, and enduring passion for arts and music. In 1986, he was able to figure out the cause of the Challenger disaster. Feynman once said, “The first principle (of science) is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” It is a common belief that scientists are the people who know all the answers. However, in reality scientists are the people who keep asking questions, making mistakes, and trying again. These are the people, who enjoy figuring things out while trying not to fool themselves. Science is driven by humans’ curiosity about the world, their courage to ask questions and not to be afraid of making mistakes, and their perseverance in finding the answers. Sharing this human adventure will give students the opportunity to discover the physical laws that govern motion and interactions of objects big and small, close and far away, heavy and light.

About the Instructor

The course instructor is Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin. She is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia at the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. She has been teaching science for more than 25 years. She has worked with students in middle and secondary schools, as well as taught undergraduate physics at UBC, Ryerson and Rutgers universities. She has received a number of teaching awards, including UBC Killam Teaching Prize. She has co-authored an introductory physics textbook used in many Canadian universities, including UBC, published more than 40 peer-reviewed papers on science teaching and learning, and has created various resources for science teaching. The science teaching videos she has created have been viewed by thousands of people around the world. Dr. Milner-Bolotin has led many science outreach activities and has done hundreds of science presentations to the general public around the world. For the last decade, she has been working with UBC teacher-candidates who will become science and mathematics teachers. She is a former President of the BC Association of Physics Teachers.