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Manulife Kids Science & Technology

Manulife Kids Science & Technology is an outreach program designed to educate and inspire youth with interactive science experiences including internships, mentorship programs, on-site lab visits, talks, school visits, and demonstrations.

Our sciences and technology programs focus on reaching youth both within the hospital and across Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and Ontario, with an emphasis on those who are at-risk or have a lack of access to interactive science experiences.

Manulife Kids Science & Technology has become a valuable part of SickKids' community outreach efforts, reaching more than 28,000 students to date. Our goals are to address the needs of students through fun, informative, and interactive experiences with scientific leaders, and create an avenue to ask questions and learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM) related fields.

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Manulife Kids Science & Technology is pleased to continue operating, with some changes due to COVID-19. We offer virtual talks to students on a wide range of topics. Please explore our page to learn more about what we can offer.

Workshops, Programs, and Events

Introduced in 2019, this weekly drop-in activity for patients within the Hospital takes place in the SickKids Children’s Library, and provides a rotating variety of short crafts or activities for children and their families that demonstrate various aspects of science and technology, as well as a place for children to ask questions and learn.

We visit elementary, middle and high schools, as well as community groups in priority neighbourhoods, to talk about and demonstrate science in an entertaining and informative way using curriculum-based workshops and demonstrations.

Would you like a member of our team to visit your school for a workshop?

Contact us  Browse workshops

We run events once a month where students from schools in Toronto and the GTA can attend presentations by SickKids scientists, visit world-renowned research labs, and learn lab skills and procedures.

Are you a teacher or student interested in visiting SickKids for a Lab Visit? Fill out a form online to register!

Register for a Lab Visit

Our annual event in May where over 100 students from across Toronto and the GTA visit to hear from Sick Kids Research Institute scientists, participate in group activities and challenges, have lunch with SickKids research staff, and tour of award-winning research labs.

If you’re interested in participating, get in touch with us to add your school to our contact list.

Contact us

Each summer, high school students are selected to visit the Hospital three times a week during the month of August. They will hear from guest speakers from different departments, tailored to their interests. Previous speakers have included researchers from oncology, psychology, pain management, paediatric cardiology, global health, and more. The students also visit research labslearn laboratory-based skills, and participate in workshops and talks. Applications for students are available every February or March. 

Learn more about summer programs

This six-week paid research internship is designed specifically for students from underrepresented groups, specifically those from Indigenous, Black, and Filipino communities. Students will be paired with a SickKids research lab, complete a project of their own, and present their findings as part of a research symposium. 

Applications are available in early January every year.

Learn more about summer programs

The program hosts a live 30-minute science program every week that is broadcast throughout SickKids on its closed-circuit television system in cooperation with the Department of Child Life and the assistance of SickKids’ therapeutic clowns. We also partner with other SickKids programs to help promote science to the in-patient population through regular demonstrations and lessons for TDSB classrooms, one-on-one patient visits, Science Fairs, and special event days through the SickKids Research Institute.

About the Manulife Kids Science Program

Manulife Kids Science & Technology aims to address the needs of STEMM fields for students, and reaching out in a fun, engaging, and informative way through in-person demonstrations, experiments, talks, and more. 

Our goal of engaging student interest is made possible due to our distinct collaborations with a variety of staff from all over SickKids and the SickKids Foundation. In addition, thanks to our collaboration with the Research Institute, our program grants sole access for high school students from across Toronto and the GTA to visits labs and research facilities here at the hospital. 

Within SickKids, we run a weekly TV show known as Kids Science Adventures with the therapeutic clowns and the assistance of Child Life, themed around science and how it relates to everyday life within the hospital. We also run programs for a variety of classes, events, initiatives, and outreach programs across the hospital and with the SickKids Foundation. 

Key members

Dr. Lisa Robinson

Founder, Manulife Kids Science

Dr. Lisa Robinson is a paediatric nephrologist and physician-scientist who studies mechanisms of progression of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Also, she is the founder of Kids Science, and the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Diversity in the Faculty of Medicine at U of T.

David Manly

Coordinator, Manulife Kids Science

David has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Biology and Ecology from York University, and a Master’s in Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa. He has been communicating science as a writer, presenter, editor, and educator for over 10 years, and has been with SickKids since 2014.

  • Dr. Lisa Robinson, Nephrology 
  • Drs. Sheena Josselyn & Paul Frankland, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. Janet Rossant, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • SickKids Imaging Facility, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Michael Salter, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. Amy Wong, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • Dr. David Malkin, Genetics & Genome Biology 
  • Dr. Nicola Jones, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Philip Sherman, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Brent Derry, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Donald Mabbott, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. Uri Tabori, Genetics & Genome Biology 
  • Dr. Daniela Rotin, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Aleixo Muise, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Meredith Irwin, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. David Kaplan, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. Jane McGlade, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Stephen Scherer, Genetics & Genome Biology 
  • Dr. Julie Brill, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. John Parkinson, Molecular Medicine 
  • Dr. Gabrielle Boulianne, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Christoph Licht. Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Rulan Parekh, Child Health Evaluative Sciences 
  • Dr. Estelle Gauda, Translational Medicine 
  • Dr. Karen Gordon, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. Ashley Danguecan, Psychology 
  • Dr. Daniel Roth, Child Health Evaluative Sciences 
  • Dr. Jennifer Stinson, Child Health Evaluative Sciences 
  • Dr. Lindsay Jibb, Child Health Evaluative Sciences 
  • Dr. Steven Miller, Neurosciences & Mental Health 
  • Dr. James Ellis, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Ran Kafri, Cell Biology 
  • Dr. Christopher Pearson, Genetics & Genome Biology 
  • Dr. Bret Pearson, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology 
  • SPARC BioCentre, Cell Biology 

Summer programming

Manulife Kids Science & Technology offers two very different programs during the summer for students to learn about the bio-medical field. Our internship and mentorship programs each allow the students different ways to interact with world-renowned researchers and medical professionals in the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research & Learning, enhance their interest in STEM-related fields, learn lab-based skills, and more. 

The Student Advancement Research (StAR) program provides Indigenous, Black, and Filipino high school students with a first-hand perspective of the research underway at world class SickKids Research Labs over six weeks in the summer. 

Students will work full-time as part of this paid research internship program, and will take on a small research project with the guidance of their lab mentor(s). At the end of the internship, students will share what they have learned by presenting their projects at the Research Showcase at SickKids. As part of this program, students will also have access to other science career and research experiences through the Manulife Kids Science & Technology program. 

Key dates 

Program date: July to mid-August 2021 (7 hours/day and 5 days/week)
Program location: SickKids labs, Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning
Application available online: January 2021 
Application due date: Late February 2021 

Program eligibility 

Applicants must be: 

  • At least 16 years old by start date and in high school Grade 11 or 12 
  • Must have previously taken Grade 10 Science (Grade 11/12 Biology and Chemistry would be an asset, but not required) 
  • Black, Filipino, or Indigenous 
  • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident (must have a valid Social Insurance Number card) 
  • Must be able to complete an immunization form when accepted into the program

Each summer, a select group of high school students will be invited to SickKids for our Mentorship Program.  While at the hospital, students will be able to customize their experience based on their interests. By coordinating with SickKids doctors and researchers, the program will address topics the students are interested in. In addition, participants will get the opportunity to visit labs, practice unique skills, assist in research, and participate in a variety of science-related workshops.  

Only a few students will be chosen for the mentorship based on their Mentorship entry. 

Key dates 

Program date: August 2021 (every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 1 to 3 p.m.) 
Program location: Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning labs
Application available online: February 2021 
Application due date: April 2021 

Manulife Kids Science & Technology partners with the SickKids Summer Research (SSuRe) Program, which provides opportunities for university students to conduct research in a laboratory or clinical setting at SickKids under the supervision of a Research Institute scientist. Find out more about this year’s program activities, learn how to apply for a research position, and important deadlines. 

Workshops

The Coordinator travels to schools and community groups to conduct curriculum-based science workshops that include hands-on experiments and demonstrations on a variety of topics, from Energy and Animation to Bugs and States of MatterThese workshops can vary in time from one to two hours depending on the topic and what is requested.  

Science workshops run throughout the year (including the summer months) and can be requested by schools, community groups, or camps. Workshops are available for kindergarten to Grade 12, and each kit can be simplified for younger grades and expanded for older grades.

Book a workshop for your school or class today

Provide fun, educational, and interactive science-based programming for your school or class and solidify your position as your students’ favourite teacher. Contact us to learn more!

Book a Workshop

Read more about our workshops

Learn about the states of matter in a fun, exciting and experiment-filled way! Have fun with plasma balls, bubbles, and interactive experiments with dry ice! 

How does the body work? This workshop provides experimental activities to investigate how the major systems (respiration, circulatory, and digestion) in our bodies function.   

*Possibility of extending workshop up to one and a half to two hours with Nervous & Musculoskeletal Systems 

This workshop will take you out-of-this-world and into outer space, where you’ll learn all about stars, how gravity works, and why Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore.   

*Space is split into two presentations: Sun and Stars, as well as Planets, Comets and Meteors, which can be combined into a two-hour lesson 

Animated movies and TV shows all use the same techniques to "trick" your eyes into seeing something moving when it really isn't. Learn how our eyes get tricked with optical illusions in this animated workshop! 

Tiny particles make up everything in the universe, from you and me to the clouds in the sky. Learn how these interact in an ooey-gooey presentation, that includes making two different types of slime! 

A kit focused on all different types of engineering! Learn how to build your very own structures, from bridges to dams, test the strengths of materialsparticipate in a bridge building competition, and learn about all that engineers do! 

A non-stop energy packed workshop! Learn about kinetic and potential energy, as well as renewable sources, all while playing with toys. 

From airplanes to hot air balloons, how do they fly? Learn about how things fly, move, push, and pull through interactive demonstrations. 

Build circuits, light up lights, and find out what does (and doesn’t) conduct electricity!  This workshop is an illuminating take on all things dealing with electricity, current, and static. 

Learn about what tools CSI's use in this workshop, where we learn how to use science to solve crimesYou’ll learn how to be more observant in a fake crime scene, determine the differences with fingerprints, code-breaking, and chromatography.

Straws are not just for drinking – you can have a lot of fun (and make a mess) using some simple every-day items! 

Sounds are everywhere - but how do we hear them? How are they made? And how do musical instruments work? Here’s a hint – it’s all about vibrations. 

Every day, all over the world, people encounter all sorts of weather. You’ll learn how weather is made, why do we have seasons, why it is important, and how "extreme weather" is so different than everything else. 

Bugs (more commonly known as insects) are the most abundant types of animals on Earth, but how are they different than us? What makes them so successful? And how can you tell them apart?

Ever wonder what it takes to get into science? Participate in an interactive discussion about the different types of science-based careers out there (from doctor to accountant to programmer), what types of education and required, and answer all student questions. 

*Recommended for students in Grade 8 or above* 

Cells are tiny parts that make up the larger whole of practically every living thing on Earth. But how do they grow and change? And what happens when that change goes out of control? 

Animals are some of the most wonderous creatures, each perfectly adapted to whatever environment they live in. In this workshop, students will learn about the different types of habitats, how animals have evolved to survive within them, and how scientists keep track of every animal every known. 

Can you name all the elements in the Periodic Table? If not, don’t worry! In this lesson, we will take you on a tour some of the most interesting and note-worthy elements. 

Ever wonder how colour and light are related? Turns out that we cannot see one without the other! And why are they so important? 

The human body moves in a huge varies of ways – up and down, back and forth, side to side. But how do our muscles work to help us do this? The answer is not as simple as you think. And students will walk away with a full understanding of the bones in the hand, due to our anatomical model take-home. 

Contact us

Have a question? Get in touch with us at kidsscience@sickkids.ca.

Book a Workshop  Register for a Lab Visit

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