Virtual Speakerhead (School Program)

For Grades 4 – 12 

An intravenous of inspiration right into your classroom.

If you were an astronaut in space and got sick, who could take care of you? If you had to turn a stadium into a giant emergency ward, who could lead the way? What about Chilean miners trapped underground? Who helps them resurface?

Meet Dr Doug Hamilton, engineer, NASA flight surgeon and now professor. Did you know Dr Hamilton failed in getting into medical school twice?

A true story. Never give up!

Join us for the 2015 Virtual Speakerhead, where Beakerhead brings an amazing person straight to your classroom.

Classes across the globe are invited to take part. Registration is open until go-live time.

It’s easy:

–  Go to School Programs Registration and scroll to the bottom and tell us where you are and how many students will take part.
– On Sept 17,  go to — The webpage will go live at 10:20 am MST.

Questions will be taken via Twitter #askBeakerhead

See you there!

Photography Tips for Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge

Are you participating in this year’s Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge?!

Then, you won’t want to miss these photography tips on shooting aluminum creations by professional photographer and Beakerhad Photo Crew member, Denise Kitagawa, whose pictures have featured in My Modern Metropolis and many international blogs and publications.

Click here for the full article




Think You’re More Creative Than A School Kid?

Think Again!

Ted Harrison Grade 8 Students Win Beakerhead Ingenuity Challenge
Ted Harrison Grade 8 Students Win Beakerhead Ingenuity Challenge

Especially when you’re matched against 9,800 students from 42 schools 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 2014, almost 10,000 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 not what they appear. Check out their creations – click here!

The overall winner was Grade 8 students from Ted Harrison School.


2014 Winners: Ted Harrison (Calgary) Grade 8
2014 Winners: Ted Harrison (Calgary) Grade 8
2nd place: King George School (Calgary) Grades KG - 6
2nd place: King George School (Calgary) Grades KG – 6
Beddington Heights School (Calgary) Grades KG - 6
Beddington Heights School (Calgary) Grades KG – 6

Igniting Beakerhead… One Ignition Crew Student At A Time

These ain’t your typical ‘old school’ ambassadors. Nope! Meet Calgary’s youngest and most creative ambassadors … the Beakerhead Ignition Crew!

Sponsored by Total E&P Canada, this exclusive student program provides twelve enthusiastic Grade 9 to 12 students with unique career development and confidence building opportunities each year through all-access involvement at Beakerhead events.


Since the launch of Beakerhead, special crews of energetic student ambassadors have been on the streets and at events firing up the Beakerhead spirit. You may have run into one or two of these ambassadors dressed in their bright Beakerhead lab coats and bandanas. His Worship Naheed Nenshi has! As has Cmdr Chris Hadfield! Can you imagine how inspirational those chats were for these students?


And what a thrill to get pummelled by lightening!

So do you have a student, child, niece, nephew, grandchild, friend in Grades 9 to 12, who should be the next Ignition Crew 2015 member?!  

Read what one 2014 Ignition Crew member had to say about the experience.

To Space and Back with Cmdr John B. Herrington

“I think that was the best presentation I have ever seen and heard…” said one teacher after last year’s virtual visit by Commander John B. Herrington — today’s Wonderment of Beakerhead 2014: Photo Recap feature.

What’s the knack? Just being awesome and real. Herrington is a warm, skilled, passionate and tenacious mathematician, engineer, test pilot and outdoorsman, and the world’s first aboriginal astronaut. 178 classrooms across Canada and the USA joined Cmdr. John B. Herrington online during Beakerhead 2014.

Thanks to Alberta Women’s Science Network/Power to ChoosePartners in Research and the University of Calgary for partnering up on this fantastic event.

Photo by Partners in Research

Photo by Partners in Research

Read more about it

2014 Lab Report from Willow Park School for Arts-Centred Learning

[reprinted with permission from Willow Park School]

Introduction: Beakerhead is a city-wide celebration where intersections between the arts and sciences are explored through numerous events and exhibitions.  Willow Park School for Arts-Centred Learning is a place where students between grades five and nine learn with and through the arts.

In early mid-September of 2014, Calgary was severely impacted by a seasonally unexpected snow storm.  The weight of the snow combined with an active rain-influenced growth season caused leaf-laden tree branches to crash down across the city – blocking streets and knocking down power lines.  On Wednesday, September 10, the snow forced Beakerhead to postpone opening their outdoor events as planned.  On Thursday, September 11, a small group of students from Willow Park journeyed downtown to see if Beakerhead had been able to recover.

Problem: What effect will the September Snow Storm of 2014 have on Beakerhead’s ability to host a city-wide series of outdoor events that fuse the arts and sciences?

Hypothesis: Based on Beakerhead’s impressive debut in 2013, we predict that they will exhibit a “Can Do” attitude and persevere with their outdoor program.

2 video cameras
1 GoPro camera
11 smart phones
1 iPod
2 sketchbooks
22 transit tickets
9 notebooks
9 pens
9 students
1 teacher
1 education assistant

1. 9:15 am – Leave Willow Park School to take the C-Train downtown.
2. 10:00 am – Visit Little Big Street at the Stampede Grounds – an exhibition of works that creatively address social and environmental issues.
3. 11:oo am – Visit El Pulpo Mecanico – a fire-breathing steampunk octopus from California.
4. 1:00 pm – Visit Net Blow-Up – an innovative climbable social structure from Vienna, Austria.
5. 2:00 pm – Visit C Studio – a workspace gallery showcasing selections from the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory’s light pollution photo contest.
6. 3:00 pm – Arrive back at Willow Park School to compile our findings.

Manipulated Variable: Calgary’s predictably unpredictable weather.
Responding Variable: The ability of Beakerhead to overcome a September snow storm.
Controlled Variables: All student observers attended the same events.  All events were attended on the same day at the same time.

Observations (click below to access these images and videos):

Illustrations by Rachel D.

Video by Chantal O. and Hannah L.

Video by Jessie B. and Shauna K.

Video by Ethan M. and Claire M.

Exceeding Expectations (article) by Rachel D. and Myana C.


100% of the sketches, photos, videos and articles demonstrated that Beakerhead rose to the task of providing a creatively inspiring  and scientifically innovative series of events.

Sources of Error
Staff and students were totally wiped by the end of their journey and findings may be skewed due to the inevitable giddiness that a day of fresh air inspires.


Our hypothesis was supported as Beakerhead recovered in an impressive manner to host many fantastic outdoor (and indoor) locations.  Further investigations may be conducted by more students visiting Beakerhead over the weekend. For more information, please visit:

Rachel dy Octopus

Beakerhead Summer Intensive for High School Students

An enthusiastic group of high schools students will be busy this July designing, prototyping and building a collaborative project to be presented at Little Big Street. Students will earn high school credits, but this course is anything but your average summer school experience. Students will have the opportunity to work with a team of Beakerhead mentors, including artists, engineers, scientists, fabricators and designers, who will help them bring their ideas to life.

Imagineers go imagining this summer

The beauty, the wonder, the total fun that is the catapult! This ancient mainstay of the battlefield has been around since Julius Caesar veni, vidi, vici’d but this summer, kids across Calgary will get the chance to lob a load in the name of science.

Partnering with Beakerhead, the Imagineers summer camp at the TELUS Spark Science Centre will give your budding builder a chance to learn some construction basics using real materials and real tools. Campers will start off with the essentials and practice their design and blueprint skills – not to mention a healthy dose of time-management – on smaller projects before coming together in teams to create their very own siege engine. Working through the design, testing and building phase is all part of collaboration, creation and construction – handy skills for this hands-on adventure!

And it doesn’t end at camp. Campers will have a chance to watch their work in action at the Catharsis Catapult Competition on Sunday, September 14th as part of Beakerhead. For five days, Calgarians can interact with, be challenged by and immerse themselves in a dynamic smash up of art, science and engineering. If it involves high-flying melons and spectacular splatters, what’s not to love??

If you’re between 6 and 8 years of age – or if you know someone who is – sign up for the Imagineers and let’s see what happens when we give these engineers and artists of the future access to some solid skills, sturdy materials and a lot of fruit.

Click here for more details from TELUS Spark

by Tara Klager


Talisman Energy Inc. becomes Presenting Sponsor of K-12 Education Program

Beakerhead educational program receives three-year commitment from Talisman Energy Inc.

Chemistry homework may come with … a paintbrush?

[Media Release on 3 April 2014, Calgary, Canada] — Calgary and surrounding area students will take part in a city-wide and largely outdoor learning laboratory this September as part of Beakerhead, a made-in-Alberta “smash up” of art, science and engineering that is gaining attention around the globe.

The education program, which opened today for parent, teacher and school registration, has received three years of funding ($300,000) from Talisman Energy Inc. Talisman Energy Inc. is the presenting sponsor of the Beakerhead K-12 education program.

Beakerhead opens a door to the worlds of science and engineering through art and culture. A combination of creative and rational skills are developed through hands-on experiences that help students use the arts and the sciences together to engage a broader range and synergy of interests.

In 2014, there are five ways that students and schools will be involved with Beakerhead:

• Summer Intensive: a three-week summer credit course, open to students going into grades 10 to 12.

• Ignition Crew: a group of students in Grades 9 to 12, selected by teachers and mentors, to experience Beakerhead behind the scenes and act as student ambassadors.

• Atomic 13: a three-day ingenuity challenge that involves the entire school.

• Field Trips: to visit interactive exhibit sites during Beakerhead, September 10-12, 2014.

• School Visits: to meet artists and engineers in their classrooms, September 10-12, 2014.

Space is limited, so teachers, parents and schools are encouraged to register early at Bussing subsidies are available to schools in financial need.

“Research shows that students in general do not think of science as a creative pursuit, nor the arts a field that involves science and engineering. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth,” says Mary Anne Moser, President and Co-Founder of Beakerhead.

The second annual Beakerhead will run September 10-14, 2014. This large-scale participatory spectacle invites local and international artists, engineers, scientists, makers and students to create, compete and exhibit interactive works each fall.

“Supporting Beakerhead is a natural fit for Talisman and aligns well with our commitment to support innovative education programming that provides students with the skills and experience needed to succeed in Canada’s rapidly changing workforce. By combining art with science, technology, engineering and math, the Beakerhead program creates unique opportunities for students to explore and learn in an engaging way while making the experience inspiring, relevant and fun,” says Amy Jarek, Vice President Corporate Affairs, Talisman Energy Inc.

Beakerhead is a registered charity that advances education at the crossroads of art, science and engineering.

Contact: Michelle Htun-Kay, 403-830-1668 or



Media Advisory: Beakerhead school program launch

Beakerhead is inviting teachers to test a new Pop Tart launcher created by Calgary artist and machinist, Kirk Dunkley, at the Calgary City Teachers’ Convention this week.

Shooting a Pop Tart at a target is one of several interactive attractions organized by Beakerhead as part of its 2014 school program launch held in conjunction with the teachers’ convention.

Beakerhead brings together art, science and engineering in an effort to engage a wide range of students in math, technology, art, design and science. In 2013, more than 4,600 students took part in Beakerhead events. The target is to reach twice that in 2014.

The art, science and engineering spectacle that is Beakerhead will take place in the streets and venues of Calgary on September 10-14, 2014. Related school programs operate during the school year, leading up to the annual event.

WHAT: Beakerhead at the Calgary City Teachers’ Convention

WHEN: Thursday, February 13, 2014  (10 am – 12 pm for media availability or by appointment)

WHERE: TELUS Convention Centre, North Building, Main Floor, Room 110 


  • Katie Varney, Education Liaison, Beakerhead
  • Community of local makers from the Calgary Maker Foundation


  • Pop Tart launcher in action!
  • Life-sized sandpit art by a robotic drawing machine.
  • Steampunk Rock Golem, a larger than life amorphous handcrafted creature.
  • Other Calgary Maker Foundation wonders, including wearable technology, 3D printers, and the chance to make your own interactive objects with sensors.


 Media Contact

Michelle Htun-Kay