Cybermentor Fusion Gathering

Cybermentor invites you to an important celebration… Fusion Gathering 2016!

Girls ages 11 – 18 (or Grades 6 – 12) join Cybermentor to celebrate the conclusion of an exceptional season. Enjoy a fun design and engineering activity, guest speakers, industry panel and reception lunch.

Last year participants designed and built LED jellyfish umbrellas. This year they will create umbrella storm clouds with thunder and LED rain. Participants will have the opportunity to display their engineered art creations at Beakernight 2016.

The Fusion Gathering 2016 includes:

  • Opportunities for mentees and mentors to meet one another
  • Beakerhead engineering+art activities and registration to present your fusion design at Beakernight 2016.
  • Lunch and Networking
  • Learn to solder and other new skills
  • Try out some coding
  • And much more!

We value your involvement, and hope to see you there!

For inquiries, please see the FAQ section below, or contact the Cybermentor Team at or 403-220-8283.

Register Here

Show, Don’t Tell – Photography and Graphic Design Exhibition

When Beakerhead erupted for five days in September, 22 photographers and 15 graphic artists set out to capture the visual stories taking shape. Dozens of brilliant photographs and images were the result. Now, renowned photographer, George Webber, has selected 33 of the most intriguing for a special exhibition of the best of Beakerhead 2015.

Why 33?

On the Newton scale, 33 is the temperature at which water boils. And when water boils, you get steam, and steam is the acronym used in educational circles to refer to the convergence of science, technology, engineering, art and math. It’s just good chemistry!

The 33 artworks will be on display and available for sale in a 12-day exhibition titled Show, Don’t Tell at the Peanut Gallery in John Fluevog Shoes (207 8 Ave SW, Gallery Floor).


Photographers: Shawn Bishop – Inno Delarmente III – Clare Gibson – Andre Goulet – Jackie Ho – Denise Kitagawa – Chris Malloy – Brett Morrison – Nic Sharkey – Gilles Thibault – Gemma Wallace.

Graphics Artists: Carolyn Fisher – Sam Hester – Alanna Kho – Kelly Lai – James Liswed – Michael Mateyko – Jarett Sitter – Stephanie Stobart – Tilby Forbis – Kipling West.

Film artist: Vera Hill


Mon-Wed: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Thu-Sat: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (NB: Sat, Dec 12 closes at 3:00 pm)

Sun: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Proceeds from the sale will be shared by the artist and Beakerhead Creative Society, a registered Canadian charity that helps students of all ages learn at the crossroads of art, science and engineering!

And the Golden Beaker goes to …

Sunalta School’s Grade 6 Class!

Congratulations again to Calgary’s Sunalta School who were today named Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge Champions! Presenting them with the Golden Beaker was Beakerhead Co-founder Jay Ingram, who surprisingly was upstaged by six-graders Finn and Sabina who emceed the all-school and media presentation.

Sunalta School emcees and headmaster. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

Emcees Sabina and Finn with Principal Trevor Barkley and Teacher Karen Anderson and Jay Ingram. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

Kudos to the 46 Grade 6 students who competed amongst 8,000 Alberta-based students from 108 schools.

Grade 6 receive the Golden Beaker. Photo by Denise Kitagawa
Grade 6 receive the Golden Beaker. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

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




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.

My Experience with the 2014 Ignition Crew

by Lauren St. Clair

There are so many words that can be used to describe my experience with Beakerhead and being a part of the Ignition Crew this year. It was certainly marvelous, eye-opening, engaging, and of course, tremendous and curious. Being a part of the Ignition Crew, I got to see a bit more of the hard work and ingenuity that contributors to Beakerhead were putting in, which was even more inspiring and impressive after Beakerhead got hit with a rough September snow storm that affected Calgary greatly. The creativity of the creators was outstanding! Being someone who enjoys art, science and engineering, I felt that creators really brought so much justice to that statement. Being a part of the Ignition Crew is an experience I am grateful for, and an experience I would recommend to any youth with a passion. Whatever your passion is, I guarantee you’ll find others with that passion in the Ignition Crew, other Beakerhead programs, or creators.

This is my experience with the Ignition Crew …

Before the week of Beakerhead the Calgary Mini Maker Faire took place at the TELUS Spark Science Centre, and wow, it was a hodge-podge of creativity and a glimpse into what the week ahead of us would look like! From old vs. new tesla coils, robots, 3D printers, remote control sofa chairs, and much more, from the wide variety of projects and inventions. Throughout my time with the Ignition Crew, each day was as intriguing and eye opening as the next; I was always learning something new.


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Volunteering at Maker Faire showing people how to make DIY Catapults

The opening night of Beakerhead was breathtaking, from one surprise to the next, it was very much so, as His Worship, Mayor Nenshi put it, “A stampede for geeks,” and the opening night really captured the essence of Beakerhead and what was to come. Starting off with the band cleverly named The Free Radicals, to Festo’s bionic creations such as the jellyfish and bird which imitated the creature they were inspired by, to a humorous talk on the science of humor, to even a stand-up comic robot. The night was an overall hit and I ended up finding myself and other Ignition Crew members singing along to the finale song, sung by a theoretical physicist Tim Blais about the cosmos to the tune of The Circle of Life.

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The Ignition Crew thanks their amazing sponsor Total at Tremendous and Curious World of Beakerhead

The next evening was hosted by the Globe Theatre, where the public not only got to see the film Gravity, but most impressively, got to speak to a real astronaut, Commander John B. Herrington, and Dr. Doug Hamilton, who studied the human body in space and its applications to life on Earth and future missions in space. You didn’t have to be a space nerd to be compelled by their own experiences in space. It was a night that prompted inspiration and education.

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Lauren with Commander John B. Herrington

The Periodic Table, a ferris wheel restaurant with a spin on chemistry and food, lit up Fort Calgary. The Ignition Crew and other members of the public had the chance to learn about the creative workings of the restaurant itself, as if a ferris wheel chemistry pun filled restaurant wasn’t intriguing enough. The Periodic Table was powered by the used cooking oils from other restaurants around the city of Calgary. The rest of the evening was spent at the Inglewood Night Market, where street vendors were in abundance, and if you were chilly you wouldn’t be any longer if you checked out El Pulpo Mecanico. The Ignition Crew also enjoyed the lively, fire-shooting, musical show of El Pulpo Mecanico, the octopus car made from scrap and used materials.

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The Crew chatting with Sustainival about sustainable oil conversion at the Periodic Table

If you missed El Pulpo Mecanico at the Inglewood Night Market however, you were sure to spot it again at Little Big Street, where many creations, big and small, were on display to the public. My final day with the Ignition Crew was spent at Little Big Street, where we had the chance to truly explore inside and out of the creations. Little Big Street was made up of a diverse creations from the Hippo Love vehicle, a human sized nest, miniature homes, a burning large gnome, and Laser Cat, who could be found in the evening at Beakernight.

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The Myrtle at Little Big Street photographed by Lauren

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Mobile Phone Booth created by students at the Beakerhead Summer Intensive

My experience with Beakerhead as a member of the Ignition Crew was one that I will definitely remember and appreciate, as I am sure the other members will themselves too. It was inspiring, perspective changing, educational, and it really ignited my spirits to put my own passions together as contributors of Beakerhead did themselves.


Video-Conferencing in Space

Last month, over 175 classrooms across Canada and the USA took part in a live video-conference with Commander John B. Herrington. While two lucky rural schools had the chance to be on camera with the Commander, students from everywhere also had the opportunity to have their questions answered live using the #askHerrington and he shared his personal journey in becoming a space explorer, from adventurous teen to mathematician, engineer, test pilot and outdoorsman.  The world’s first aboriginal astronaut!

Here are snippets of the hour-long conversation the Commander had with schools.
 Inline image 1
“Yes, there is a height limit. The limit is based on how the astronauts will fit in the space vehicles and suits. The maximum height an astronaut can be to fit the equipment is 6’4”. There is actually a limit on how short an astronaut can be as well: if an astronaut is shorter than 5′, they won’t be able to fit into and use the equipment properly.” ~ Commander Herrington–

Inline image 4

“Extra-vehicular activities, or spacewalks, take about 7 hours – 9 hours from start to finish, including putting on and taking off gear. On the space walk, the astronauts can only take 32 ounces of water, and have nothing to eat! They spend the entire workday in their space suit (and have to wear a diaper)!” ~ Commander Herrington

Watch the video

Beakerhead partnered with the following partners to make this conversation happen:

Partners In Research (PIR) is a registered Canadian charity with the mission of helping Canadians understand the significance, accomplishments and promise of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research as well as promoting STEM as fields of discovery and study for Canadian students. 

Power to Choose Aboriginal Youth Programs, powered by the Alberta Women’s Science Network (AWSN), are all about encouraging Aboriginal Youth Grade 7-12 with the power of career choice through mentorship with aboriginal scientists and ways-of-knowing science programs. 

Cisco Systems is a worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate.

A ‘Tremendous and Curious World’ of Learning

[reprinted with permission by Brian Simmons and Calgary Board of Education]

Part of 182 Days of Learning … Day 14: Brian Simmons, Learning Leader, Twelve Mile Coulee

I need to make a confession: I’m perplexed by the concept of Maker Education.

Recently, both personally and professionally, I was immersed in both the ‘Tremendous and Curious World of Beakerhead’ ( and the Calgary Mini Maker Faire (@MakerFaireYYC) and I know I’m not alone in being fascinated by the group of people that shared their creations at these events. Creations that didn’t necessarily make the world a better place but instead reflected the passion and vision of the people who designed them.

It is obvious that makers believe in having the freedom to create what they want, when they want. The amount of learning buried within the final product of their efforts is likely beyond measure. Makers live in a world of personal challenge and growth. A world in which they are constantly learning and developing new skills within the process of creation. A world that I find myself wanting to be a part of and one in which I want to be leader for my students.

Here, however, is where I become unsure: How can we, as educators and learners, capture this spirit in the classroom?  Do we not run the risk ‘co-opting the concept of making’ (quote via @dana_pal) by restricting the students’ ideas with assessment criteria and task requirements?  

Despite the inner turmoil, there are things I am certain about; I know for sure that I’ve always been interested in the idea of making in the classroom, well before the label was created. I also know that I now believe that maker education is as much about design thinking as it is the Maker Movement. I believe in freedom of expression within the classroom and I’ve learned that the open feel of making can be created through careful task design and a deep understanding of your learners.

Yet, I remain unsure about the concept of maker education.

And that’s a good thing.

This confusion is creating a beautiful tension that is driving me to think; thinking about the inclusion of big ideas around constructionism within the context of curriculum and how to honour the ideals of making while ensuring individual learning is captured in a clear and concise manner.

So, what have I learned? I’ve learned I’m drawing closer to the edge of understanding being developed through the active exploration of these ideals. It’s both scary and exhilarating, filled with challenges that promise personal rewards in the weeks to come. 

After all, isn’t that what making is all about?

Video from Crackmacs

Read more at:

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.

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 Summer Intensive Registration and Orientation

Calling all students! Are you interested students getting some school credits while building something delightful this summer to be showcased at Beakerhead in September? Join us at the Beakerhead Registration / Orientation Session. At the meeting, you’ll have the chance to meet Beakerhead’s Education Program Manager, your new teacher and ask questions about the program. You can also register for the summer intensive to secure your spot!

BP A+ Plus..

Imagine you have this great idea; an idea that would drastically reduce energy consumption. You’d be shouting it from the rooftops right?

Now imagine you are a group of, say, 10 year olds in a rural Grade 5 classroom. Does it seem a little bit more complicated now?

So what are a bunch of groovy innovative students and teachers to do when they have a brilliant idea and little in the way of funding…they apply for a grant through BP Canada’s A+ for Energy program – that’s what! And Beakerhead got the opportunity to join BP employees in judging the finalists last week.

Our group was tasked with only five projects to evaluate but each and every one of them were outstanding in their own right! I can’t imagine the mind blowing awesomeness being passed around the room as a whole. Every BP employee that judged in previous years claimed it to be the highlight of their job, including Stephen Willis, President and Chairman, BP Canada, who dropped by just to be a part of the ‘energy’ of the room.

It was so hard to say “this one” and “not that one” and we were total newbies! Mucho impressive BP Canada! Thanks for the invite – we are super stoked to have been included in the mix. Dare we say it made for some ‘good chemistry’?

By Stacey Ibach

Cybermentor Science Rendezvous

Do you like hands-on science challenges? Want to spend a fun-filled afternoon with other girls like you, designing and creating an amazing invention, with the help of cool female science mentors?

Cybermentor will be joining with Science Rendezvous to host a hands-on workshop for girls where they will build a cool installation to be featured at Beakerhead this September!

WHO:     Any girls aged 11-18. Friends are welcome!
WHEN:   Saturday, May 10th, 12:30-4:30pm
WHERE: University of Calgary
COST:     none

*The first 30 girls to register receive a free Science Rendezvous t-shirt!*

Contact the Cybermentor Team at or 403-220-8283.

Can my parents come?
Parents are welcome to either stay and participate in the workshop, or leave and pick their daughter(s) up at 4:30pm. Full supervision will be provided during the workshop by trained program leaders.
 Directions and Parking
Parking is available at the University of Calgary in Lots 10 and 11 ($6 single entry fee). The University of Calgary is also accessible by public transit. Detailed directions will be sent to all registered participants prior to the workshop.

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


Get ready for the three E’s

Forget about the three R’s, Alberta Education is putting a new spin on not only what students should learn, but what they could learn. Of course no school would leave out reading, writing and arithmetic, but the new framework hopes to develop engaged thinkers, ethical citizens and an entrepreneurial spirit. Voila! There you have it – the three E’s.

Why, you ask, alter a time-tested system? Well, as Alberta Education points out, the world is changing. With a constantly evolving market place the hope is to guide the potential of a child without constraint and without boundaries placed around their potential. This visioning process started back in 2009 in an open dialogue with Albertans about their hopes and dreams for the future of education in Alberta, Canada. It wasn’t necessarily about being competitive in an academic way, but more about how to support each individual child reach his or her full potential. By doing so, and helping them to learn in an engaged way, this Canadian province comes out ahead of the game as a whole.

Albertans want the medical systems to get better, business systems to keep up with the times, so it makes sense to want education systems to evolve as well.

A province filled with innovative thinkers? Oh yeah, we’ll take one of those! Say, do you want to see what the three Es look like? Check out the 2014 Beakerhead school programs!

By Stacey Ibach

Art explains Chaos Theory

The conversation went like this:

Son (age 8): “Mommy, why don’t they just run from the tornado?”

Me: “They don’t know what path the tornado will go.”

Son: “Then why do they always hit the same spot? Isn’t it going along the same path every time? ”

This conversation blossomed into prediction which is an important aspect of science to grasp early. But what of the science you can’t predict? Explaining Chaos Theory to young children is a poetic experience. We have certainly explored the never ending patterns of fractals. In fact, outside of counting their toes it was the first math concept my children encountered. To explain chaos is to open their imagination to surprise and wonder; to see science as nonlinear and unexpected. However for them to experience this while trying to control the outcome is tricky. Especially since explosions are not allow in my kitchen and I was far too tired to explain the stock market.

So we used art instead. Using a small straw they tried blowing a small spot of ink placed in the exact same spot on the page. Could they make it follow the same path with each attempt? It was with great regret I did not put a splatter screen opposite the artists. However the results were beautiful and my six year old declared it could not be done “because my spit goes different places every time”!

by Stacey Ibach 

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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