Calgary’s Sunalta Elementary Gr.6 Students Win Ingenuity Challenge

Think you’re more creative than a school kid? Think again, especially when you’re matched against 7,971 students from 108 entries across Alberta!

Beakerhead’s annual Ingenuity Challenge hands students a simple Periodic Table ingredient (A13) in a creative science-themed challenge. In five school days, students then collaboratively design and build these creative projects to show their classmates… and the world!

In September, almost 8,000 Alberta-based students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, created charming and dazzling projects using a massive spool of tin foil and the theme, things are larger than life!

Check out their creations – click here!

The 108 submissions that Beakerhead received were then evaluated by Devon Canada employees. The overall winner was Grade 6, made up of 46 students, from Sunalta Elementary School in Calgary, who used 500 feet of aluminum foil.

Beakerhead invites all Alberta-based KG to Grade 12 classes to get creative this 2015/2016 school year – and to share their creativity with Beakerhead via email at or on social media via @Beakerhead.

Teachers who want to have their classes participate in the 4th annual Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge in 2016 or other Beakerhead School Programs, please visit the website for updates and school program announcements.

Media Release: Many hands make great art!

[Calgary, Canada / 1 September 2015] — The power of many will be evident this September when the first three of six community-built projects will take to the streets during Beakerhead, all made possible with funding from the Calgary Foundation.

In May, Beakerhead issued a design call for community-built creations that could be a part of this year’s Beakerhead. Three were selected to be a part of Beakerhead this September.

“We were impressed by the way these projects engaged the community in creating cultural experiences that treat science and engineering as a welcoming part of everyday life,” says Beakerhead president and co-founder Mary Anne Moser.

All three community projects will be displayed on Stephen Avenue Walk at Beakerhead’s Four-to-Six events (from 4 – 6 pm) on September 16, 17 and 18.

The first premiering at Beakerhead, called MakerBus is a collaborative project involving people of various ages and skills both in the making of the bus and, most importantly, as users of the MakerBus. The former commuter bus, now a workshop-on-wheels, can hold eight people at a time “working” on projects at the tables, with additional outdoor activities such as airbrush painting. The MakerBus is a creation of Calgarian Jim Akeson. Along with afternoons on Stephen Avenue Walk, visitors can hop on the bus to make things when the MakerBus is stationed at Station B at Fort Calgary on September 19 and 20.

Funding from the Calgary Foundation will also support the design and build of a site-specific installation called Orange Crush, where pedestrians will be invited to walk through a squishy, synthetic passageway made from 1,000 pool noodles. The installation is orchestrated by a team of architects, designers and engineers from Calgary’s Tomorrow Architecture Collective and Saskatoon’s OPEN. The project has incorporated youth outreach involvement with Scouts Canada.

Gearing up to premiere at Beakerhead 2016 is a project called Mobile Camera Obscura, which brings together ACAD students, alumni and community members, led by ACAD instructor Mitch Kern. Breathing a new life to a camper trailer, the team will construct a camera obscura that allows visitors to enter and experience the not widely known way our brain (and cameras!) processes visual information. The Camera Obscura operates upon the same principle as the human eye and helps viewers understand the science of perception and perceptual adaptation. The work-in-progress trailer will also be at Tomkins Park on 17 Ave SW all day September 20.

A call to support three more projects will be issued this fall. Calgarians are encouraged to think about what they might want to build for Beakerhead 2016.

Download images – click here

Media Contact: Michelle Htun-Kay at 1-403-971-5180 or

Book your hotel and travel early for Beakerhead 2015!

Check out the many awesome deals during Beakerhead 2015, offered by Calgary hotels. Check them out and book early to avoid disappointment.

Beakerhead runs September 16 to 20 and most events are free. Ticketed events go on sale August 1. For the preliminary program, click here.

MEDIA RELEASE: Beakerhead 2015 will start at point … B

[Calgary, Alberta | June 10, 2015] — The third year of Beakerhead, the Calgary-born spectacle of art, science and engineering, will have at its hub a blown-up playground complete with massive “sandbox for human ingenuity” and a 30-foot high version of the arcade claw game, called Station B.

The Beakerhead line-up for 2015 is unveiled today with a dose of quirky spectacle that is coming to be associated with this annual five-day event. In addition to Station B, some of the major program elements are:

  • Opening Night: An outdoor musical kick-off at Fort Calgary featuring GZA, science advocate and rapper with the Grammy-nominated group Wu-Tang Clan, on Wednesday, September 16.
  • A String (Theory) of Incredible Encounters: A sequence of public engineered artworks from 17th Avenue SW, East Village and Victoria Park to Kensington and downtown Calgary, open all day, every day from September 16 – 20.
  • The Gorgeous Molecule: A sublime food and cocktail lab experience in the historic Barron Building, on Thursday, September 17.
  • Rock n’ Roll History of Space Exploration: The international premiere of a live visual and musical journey through space exploration! Two shows, September 17 and 18.
  • Beakernight: A massive street spectacle on a four-block stretch of 10 Ave SW with fire-erupting skee ball, rocket ship crane rides, 3D projection musical parties and hands-on encounters with technology, on Saturday, September 19.

From September 16 – 20, Calgary’s venues and public spaces will be filled with cultural encounters with science and engineering, brought to life by more than 100 collaborators.

The citywide roster of educational entertainment is supported by community donors, corporate sponsors and government. Last year 73,000 people took part, including 20,000 school students.

“Our Government is committed to creating an environment where leaders of tomorrow can blend creativity and technical knowledge to help drive innovation, growth, and long-term prosperity,” said the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “We are proud to support Beakerhead in its efforts to be a catalyst in inspiring and engaging Canadians to bring the disciplines of art, science, and engineering together.”

“Innovation and creativity are core to how we work at Suncor, which is why we are very excited to once again be part of Beakerhead,” said Pat O’Reilly, director, Sustainability and Outreach, Suncor. “Each year Beakerhead brings new and exciting ideas that embrace arts, science, and engineering and inspire thinking, acting and creating differently.”

The preliminary event schedule can be downloaded here.  Most events are free. Ticketed events on sale in August. See website for special hotel and travel offers.

Media Contact: Michelle Htun-Kay at 1-403-971-5180 or

Beakerhead 2015 Program

Media Backgrounder
Download B-Roll
Download Images

Beakerhead @ Calgary City Teachers’ Convention

Come on down to the Beakerhead Pavilion in Room 110 and dance on the margins of science and art. Talk to Beakerhead designers, inventors and organizers. Try your hand at crazy stations. Get inspired! Get crazy!

Also on Thursday, February 12 at 12:30 – 13:45, be part of a Speakerhead at TELUS Convention Centre 105-106!


Ted Harrison Grade 8 Students Win Beakerhead Ingenuity Challenge

Reprinted from Calgary Board of Education blog.

Congratulations to Grade 8 students at Ted Harrison School on their award-winning submission to the Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge, an annual creative design competition that is part of Beakerhead. Beakerhead is a week-long smash-up of art, science and engineering.

Students from Ted Harrison won first-place for their project, “Light Juggler,” a stunning light painting combining the art and science of photography, light and optics. Their challenge was to take a large roll of aluminum foil to collaboratively design and build creative projects based on the theme “things are not what they seem.”

Jay Ingram, co-host of Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet for 16 years, presented them with the Golden Beaker Award, and then spent time meeting with all of the design teams to discuss their creative processes.

To create “Light Juggler,” students thought carefully about Beakerhead’s mission to combine science, technology, and art. They engineered a globe of spinning foil, attached LEDs and glow-sticks, composed and framed the set, and adjusted the camera settings to achieve a long exposure capturing light in a darkened space. The student in the photo was then dressed in aluminum foil, and was photographed in a series of images and test shots. For each image, the ball was spun, and the student remained as still as possible as the photo was being taken. Multiple exposures were taken before achieving the one that would become “Light Juggler” – creating something beautiful out of something physically impossible, and therefore, not what it seems.

Grade 8 teachers viewed Beakerhead as an opportunity to kick-start the school year by inviting students to show curiosity and creativity in their learning. Through their Beakerhead experiences, and participation in the Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge, students appeared more confident in their abilities to explore and discover possibilities for learning that exist beyond the school walls. “Light Juggler” is evidence of the power of exploration, experimentation, and the freedom to create in an environment co-designed by teachers and students.

Speakerhead on Stephen Avenue Walk

Speakerhead runs September 10 to 12 at the noon hour. Be sure to check the speakers during the other days.

Grab your lunch and find the commotion on Stephen Avenue Walk. You might have a hard time chewing with your jaw on the floor during this inspiring series — each speaker has six minutes to wow you! Today’s topic:

“Implausible,” featuring

  • Creative Problem-Solving with a Mullet with Evan Booth, founder of Terminal Cornucopia;
  • Creativity of Crowds, with John Lewis, president and founder, Intelligent Futures;
  • The Internet of Things, with Nick Winsor, Founder of IOTA Inc.




Speakerhead on Stephen Avenue Walk

Speakerhead runs September 10 to 12 at the noon hour. Be sure to check the speakers during the other days.

Grab your lunch and find the commotion on Stephen Avenue Walk. You might have a hard time chewing with your jaw on the floor during this three-speaker series. Each speaker has six minutes to wow you!

Today’s topic: “Engineer Like a Girl,” featuring

  • Skin Deep: exploring the hard science behind beauty and cosmetics, with Belinda Heyne, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the U of C;
  • The Flaming Lotus Girls, with histologist (tissue scientist) and artist Caroline Miller; and
  • Petrophysics and Pyrotechnics, with Kim McLean, petrophysicist, BP Canada

Calgary Folk Music Festival

The Calgary Folk Music Festival is an annual sound salvation featuring over 70 artists from around the world on 8 stages in concert and collaborations. The 35th annual festival is July 24 – 27 at Prince’s Island Park and features Rufus Wainwright, Amos Lee, Andrew Bird, Bruce Cockburn, The Jayhawks, HYDRA (Feist, Snowblink, AroarA), Fishbone, Great Lake Swimmers, Patty Griffin, A Tribe Called Red, Matt Andersen and many more. Weekend passes and single day tickets still available.

Moebius Maker

With the overall goal to learn, inspire, teach and improve the world over, is it any wonder the popularity of Maker Faires is increasing in every community from New Castle in the U.K. to Rome to right here in YYC with Mini Maker Faire Calgary? Invention and innovation, creation and creativity all come to mind when you picture the experience at a Faire – wonderful makers of all kinds. But what about math?

14378992981_089b7c91bf_zFor the love of the math in STEAM we’d like to throw a shout out to Moebius Noodles and their place in the maker roll call at this year’s North Carolina Maker Faire. Check out their blog post “What Math Do You Have in Your House?” The super cool Little House Big Math was built to encourage parents to think of math as a fun activity for every day, and not just a homework assignment. A math maker! Now that’s an innovative approach to learning you can wrap your Moebius Noodle around.

Listen up Calgary Makers! The call for makers is out for this year’s event, September 6 and 7 at the TELUS Spark Science Centre, and the deadline is approaching fast.

Drag out and dust off your latest, greatest creation and sign up!


by Stacey Ibach 

Beakerhead unmasks the 2014 program

Photo Credit: Pixels and Photons

Science and engineering just got mainstream – and spectacular!

Beakerhead 2014 program announced


[Media Release on 10 June 2014, Calgary, Canada] — A human-sized nest, a plastic bubble meeting room, 90-square-foot home, inflatable giant lotus and other interactive structures, all in a miniature neighbourhood with a fire-breathing gnome and sensor garden – what kind of creatively engineered wonder world is this?

Welcome to Little Big Street! This is the flagship installation of Beakerhead, a spectacle of human ingenuity at the crossroads of art, science and engineering. The 2014 event will erupt on the streets and venues of Calgary from September 10 to 14, and includes a citywide roster of educational entertainment. The 2014 line-up is being announced today at the official program launch.

“Our Government is proud to support Beakerhead in its efforts to spur creativity and innovation,” said the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “Through collaboration, we are making the understanding of science and engineering a part of everyday life right here in Calgary.”

In its second year, Beakerhead will stage dozens of encounters, large and small, with more than 90 collaborators. The five-day long event designed to attract residents and tourists from around the world includes free outdoor exhibits, street performances and ticketed events, like:

  • The Tremendous and Curious World of Beakerhead: A live performance in the Jack Singer Concert Hall with a stage full of talent that will kick off the five-day spectacle.
  • The Periodic Table: The international premiere of a ferris wheel turned dining room that will serve molecular gastronomy meals to diners as they enjoy a city view.
  • Four-to-Six: Rush hour just got fun! Stephen Avenue Walk will fill with big time science buskers that will teach Calgarians a little wondrous something on their way home from work.
  • The Giant Walkthrough Brain: The international, live premiere of a show that will uncover what the brain is really up to.
  • Speakerhead: Dozens of speakers, workshops and wonders that will pop up in different locations around the city.


Visitors will encounter a number of art and engineering wonders making a Canadian debut, such as a two-story-high fire-breathing octopus named El Pulpo Mecanico and a thirty-foot-high giant lotus flower.

“After an outstanding debut, Beakerhead is back with activities and events that are as enlightening as they are inspiring,” said Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk. “We are proud to once again join with Beakerhead organizers, participants and sponsors like APEGA for this year’s event of creativity, innovation and imagination.”

“Beakerhead showcases Alberta’s innovative and creative spirit. It’s an example of the authentic experiences that will strategically help to grow tourism in Alberta,” said Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

Many organizations have come together in what is one of Calgary’s largest collaborative efforts, from artists and art groups, technology organizations, teams of friends and colleagues such as TELUS Spark, National Music Centre and Heavy Industries, to Calgary’s post-secondary institutions and the likes of local maker organizations like Calgary Mini Maker Faire. The Calgary Board of Education is offering a summer course for students to design and build projects leading up to September and more than 15,000 students will participate in field trips, school visits and ingenuity challenges during Beakerhead 2014.

“At Suncor, we understand how important innovation can be to creating change and social progress,” said Pat O’Reilly, director of sustainability and outreach for Suncor Energy, a Beakerhead founding sponsor. “We are so excited to once again be part of Beakerhead, an event that brings together art, science and engineering to spark creativity, foster innovation and inspire us all!”

“Beakerhead is an invitation to everyone to imagine and build,” says co-founder Jay Ingram, science broadcaster and writer who co-hosted the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet for more than 16 years. “Engineer your bike, design an art car, build a robot with your family, race a kinetic contraption … anything goes. Think of it as turning the whole city into the most entertaining laboratory for five days.”

Beakerhead 2014 will take place in Calgary, Alberta on September 10 to 14. Most events are free. Please check the website for program updates and ticket sales. Additional events will be added this summer.

Download the Preliminary 2014 Program Guide.

Looking to learn more?

  • Beakerhead backgrounder:  Click here.
  • Find out which presenters landed a spot on this year’s program list!
  • The Honourable Michelle Rempel added her thoughts on the creative Beakerhead, take a look.
  • And of course, stellar media launch photographs from the equally spectacular Beakerhead Photography Team!
Contact: Michelle Htun-Kay, 403-830-1668 or

Eco-Chalk Unveiled: Behind the Scenes with Vision Media Co.

Pssst … Have you seen the eco-graffiti ‘suits’ yet?

Just in case you missed it, make sure you check out the latest blog post about the Komboh art adorning the 4th Street & 14th Street SW underpasses. You might be asking, “How’d they that?” So, Beakerhead checked in with the team behind the process, in case inquiring minds wanted to know the tricks of the tag.

Carl Whiteside and Rory Moss of Vision Media Co have been envisioning a greener future for outdoor ads from Vancouver all the way to Halifax. The idea came the same way all good ideas arrive, while using pressure washers. Ah yes, nothing beats the raw power and fun factor of the home pressure washer! For Whiteside, it resulted in a flash, or perhaps a wash, of brilliance while renovating his house. Washing the winter muck off the back of the house was getting old, so he started drawing pictures in the dirt. And from the earth was born “green” advertising with reverse graffiti!

Moss explained that the dirt needs to be just right for the image to show, so scouting the site to create the ad is the most important task. However, when clients, like Beakerhead, have specific sites in mind they will add an eco-friendly chalk to enhance the contrast, which is environmentally friendly in composition but removed using vacuum so that the chalk/water doesn’t flow into the City’s water system. Even the stencils are made from water. Well actually they are wood, but cut using a high pressure water spray. Furthermore, with multiple uses averaging 50+ applications, this ‘greener is better’ approach has little to no environmental impact, but leaves a lasting impression!

Be sure to tweet @Beakerhead a selfie if you stroll by using #beakerhead and don’t be afraid to embrace your creative side!

by Stacey Ibach talks chalk and Beakerhead spread the word this morning about the eco-chalk graffiti that has been turning heads in Calgary, and now around the world, since May 21. The 14th Street and 4th Street underpasses were the creation of Canadian artist duo Komboh, using a new eco-friendly chalk spray created by Vision Media Co.

Haven’t seen them yet? Take a look Here.


Thank you Morfea! 

Is it Summer Intensive yet?!

The suspense is killing us! We can’t wait for this year’s Beakerhead Summer Intensive! We caught up with the teacher extraordinaire who ran the course last year, Jovan Vujinovic. Is he dying to get started too?! (psst – he’s back).


Beakerhead: What are you looking forward to the most?

Jovan: There are a lot of things that I am excited about when it comes to the summer intensive but if I need to drill down to one thing it has to be the student energy that is generated during those three weeks. You have students who, every day, are fully immersed in a project that they design and create. My role, as teacher, is to be guide and sounding board. The atmosphere is unique and powerful; you can feel the creativity and innovation in the group.


Beakerhead: What are you hoping to improve upon, if anything, based up what you learned last year?

Jovan: Any time you facilitate a project you look to make improvements. Our students from last year’s intensive had some excellent feedback and we have listened. The three weeks will see some exciting upgrades. The cool thing about this project is that it is student driven so we are deliberately going to increase exposure about the course with a speaker series. I think this exposure will both set the stage for students, and generate more student interest. The goal is to attract students with diverse skill sets. In a student-driven project, having a large tool box of skills is directly related to the overall experience will enrich the outcome for all students.


Beakerhead: Will the course be run again at the CBE’s Career and Technology Centre?

Jovan: Yes. We are very fortunate to be back at the Career & Technology Center at Lord Shaughnessy High School. This is a dynamic venue that provides different spaces for designing and creating using authentic tools. I think that is one of the key aspects to this experience – real tools and real skills!


Beakerhead: How does this experience tie into Alberta’s educational vision?

Jovan: This is a great question! One part of the Beakerhead Summer Intensive is that each student has the opportunity to earn three credits toward high school completion (in career and technology studies). Another aspect of the experience is its interdisciplinary approach to learning. If we look at Inspiring Education – Alberta’s Vision for Education there are an identified set of competencies that by 2030 an educated Albertan should be able to demonstrate.

They include:

*   the ability to know how to (they) learn

*   think critically, identify and solve complex problems

*   manage information

*   innovate

*   create opportunities

*   apply multiple literacies

*   demonstrate communication skills

*   global cultural understandings

*   the ability to identify and apply career and life skills


During the Summer Intensive students act as co-designers of their learning; they are positioned to develop these competencies during every facet of the project. To see students grow and develop their skills is exciting but what is more rewarding is to see that at the end of the Summer Intensive students are able to identify these same skills as areas where they have grown. Students last year viewed the Summer Intensive as a place where much of what they learned in the school year was now applicable. They are then excited to return to school in September and employ these developed skills.

We couldn’t be more jazzed to have Jovan back at the helm. If you know a student who may be interested in participating (how could you not after getting to know this teacher?) Check it out!

The Beakerhead Summer Intensive will take place over 14 days in July from July 3 – 24, with a project visioning session scheduled for June 21. Sign up and register here.


After last year’s success, CBE Teacher & Learning Leader, Jovan Vujinovic, will again teach the Summer Intensive course. He has a passion for project-based teaching, technology integration and seeking out innovative ways to empower his students to take ownership of their own applied learning.


by Stacey Ibach

Swerve inducts Beakerhead into summer festival guide

It’s official! Swerve placed Beakerhead on its much-anticipated Summer/Fall Festival guide. With its reputation for highlighting the coolest, must-see events, Beakerhead is honoured to be featured.

Sneak-a-peak Here, and make sure your fall schedule includes Beakerhead September 10-14!


Global TV: Beakerhead murals pop-up

Thu, May 22 : Graffiti murals have been drawn onto the 4th Street underpass. Another similar mural is up on the 14th Street southwest route. The characters are just temporary, drawn with eco-friendly chalk. They’re all part of the ramp up to Beakerhead in September.

WATCH Global TV Calgary:


Beakerhead graffitis downtown Calgary underpasses… with permission

Reprinted from Metro News Calgary, 22 May 2014

by Katie Turner

Four artists crept into the city’s downtown core during the wee hours of Wednesday morning to graffiti two of Calgary’s underpasses, all with the city’s permission.

Between midnight and 4 a.m., two 27-foot murals were spray-chalked onto the 4 Street SW underpass, and a second set of 12-foot murals were put onto the walls of the 14 Street SW.
The initiative to add a little art came from Beakerhead — an annual Calgary event that combines art and engineering.

”We want people to experience art in various forms,” said Beakerhead’s Michelle Htun-Kay, who added they’ve been working with the City on this idea since the New Year.

The installations use environmentally friendly eco-chalk, which can be washed off with water.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi stopped by Wednesday to see the artwork up close.

“I love these sort of grassroots initiatives,” he said. “This is easy and cheap and creative and fun. This is the sort of thing we should be encouraging everywhere in the city.”

While the City gave the thumbs up for the project to remain up until September, the murals are scheduled to be removed June 2, unless a rainy day washes them away sooner.

CIA: Beakerhead arrives with graffiti

Reprinted from Calgary is Awesome, 22 May 2014

Written by 

Beakerhead, Calgary’s new and only arts and science festival, is kicking off the 2014 edition early. They commissioned artist Michael W. Mateyko to create a special graffiti mural which you can see for yourselves in the underpasses on 4th Street and 14th Street along 9th Ave in the Southwest. The result is a collection of cool, wonderfully weird creatures. They were created using eco-friendly chalk and special permission from the city.  Check it out for yourself, hurry though. While the chalk is concrete friendly, it’s not water friendly. Beakerhead 2014, runs September 10 – 14. Visit for details.

Beakerhead Graffiti from Nick Taylor on Vimeo.

“Good morning, creative Calgary!” says new graffiti on downtown underpasses

Everyone loves a jolt of morning energy. Earlier today, Calgarians heading into the city’s downtown core encountered a burst of imagination via four temporary green-graffiti murals. A pair of 27-foot murals were spray-chalked onto the 4th Street SW underpass, and a pair of 12-foot murals appeared on the 14th Street SW route.

These murals were created by Calgary-based artist duo Michael Mateyko and Hans Thiessen, known as Komboh. If you were out and about around midnight last night, you may have caught the graffiti installation team from Vision Media in action. Where art meets science: this eco-chalk graffiti is environmentally friendly in its composition, application and removal. And yes, it has been approved by the City of Calgary.

Terrific but temporary! Be sure to head down to the underpasses before June 2nd.

“Think of this as a call-out for creativity. Creativity is in everyone, and shows up in every imaginable form. It may or may not show itself in our day jobs,” says Mateyko, “so Beakerhead asked us to help inspire people to ‘Let Go’. We were thrilled to help out.”

These underpass murals are part of the ramp-up for the Beakerhead 2014 program announcement in June. It’s Beakerhead’s way of saying “Good Morning!” to Calgary commuters and inviting everyone to join in during Beakerhead. If you are in the downtown core, grab a friend, grab a lunch and take a spring stroll through the creative underpasses. While you are at it, snap a photo or two under the hashtag #Beakerhead. To infinity and beyond!


Photo courtesy of Neil Zeller.
Photo courtesy of Neil Zeller.

Full media release here: Eco Graffiti Release

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is Canada’s largest Canadian owned pop culture event with an attendance of over 60,000 people in 2013. Featuring a myriad of special guests from film & television, comic books, sci-fi, horror, anime, cartoons and collectibles, this family friendly event caters to every fan of every genre. The show spans over 418,000 sq. ft. of space; packed with programming, vendors, artists, and special guests.

Beakerhead is a community partner of Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.