Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

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The Canadian Online Science Fair

The 2020 Canadian Online Science Fair is now over! Thank you for all of our participants.

Award winners:

1st Prize: Ashleigh C. (Grade 8) - "What's your measure: An automatic methadone pump"
2nd Prize: Faith L. (Grade 8) - "A study measuring how electronics and music affect the completion of school work."
3rd Prize: Chrisanne J. (Grade 7) - "Assessing the scientific nature of solid waste and its impact on human health and the environment."
A special thanks to our judges:
Dr Alexandra Pederson (Adjunct Professor in Geography, Business Development Officer at the Arthur B McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute)
Dr Kristine Spekkens (Associate Professor in Astronomy, Cross-appointed with Royal Military College of Canada & Queen's University)
Dr. Julie Vale (PhD, P.ENG, University of Guelph, Area Head: Engineering Systems and Computing and Computer Engineering)

Social distancing doesn't mean that great science can't be done! We invite all students currently in grades 6, 7, and 8 to participate in the first Online Science Fair! All components of the science fair will be done online. The projects are flexible: you can choose any topic to explore through an experiment, a study, or an innovation! After (free) registration, you will be matched with a female scientist to mentor you through the project.

Registration will close on April 20, 2020. The Online Science Fair will occur on June 5, 2020. All participants will be awarded. A panel of leading scientists and engineers will also award the top three projects! The judging rubric will be provided upon registration.

The Online Science Fair is hosted by the Girls for Innovation, Research, Leadership & Science (GIRLS) Initiative. This volunteer organisation is dedicated to promoting careers and fostering interest in the natural sciences in under-represented groups. The GIRLS Initiative is funded by the Queen's University Physics Department, the McDonald Institute, SNOLAB, and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

How it works

Submit a brief idea (250 words max) to register - any idea is a good one! After registration, you will be matched with a scientist or engineer who specializes in your chosen topic. You and your mentor will create a 500-word proposal describing your project. This proposal must have a list of any materials required, including their costs. Each project can only use a maximum of $50. Depending on the number of applicants, some or all of this cost will be awarded to the participant. If your family is in financial need at this time and your project is not fully funded, the GIRLS Initiative will cover the remaining material costs.

Together with your mentor you will perform your project and produce a report. You will then submit a presentation of your project in a medium of your choosing (video, poster, storyboard, etc) to the Canadian Remote Science Fair on June 5, 2020!

How To Register

To register for the Canadian Online Science Fair, submit a short description of your idea (250 words max) by clicking on this link. Registration will end on April 20, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can register?

Anybody who is currently in grades 6, 7, or 8 are eligible! Members of all ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, genders, and religions are encouraged to register.

What will it cost to register and participate?

Registration is free! All projects must be under $50. Some or all of this cost will be awarded depending on the number of participants. If your family is currently under financial hardship, the GIRLS Initiative will cover all costs that are not awarded.

Who are the mentors?

The mentors are leading female scientists and engineers. We will match you with a mentor who specializes in your topic of choice.

Do I have to pick a certain topic?

No! You can chose any topic! You can explore this topic through an experiment, a study, or an innovation.

Where will the science fair be held?

The entire science fair including the mentoring will be done online.

Do I need a computer and internet connection to participate?

Yes. If you do not have access to a reliable or regular internet connection, please contact us at

Need Project Ideas?

A few suggestions to get you started:

  • Exploring chemical reactions and electroplating using electrolysis.
  • Determining the age of the universe using archival globular cluster data.
  • Exploring how astronomers measure distances using parallax.
  • Creating a magnetic field with a solenoid.
  • Investigate climate change via the greenhouse effect: although climate change is the result of a number of interacting effects, a predominantly effect is the increase in carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. How could you build an apparatus to observe this greenhouse effect?
  • Clean water is a necessity for human life, many communities around the world and within Canada lack access to clean drinking water. How could you design a strategy for cleaning water with limited resources?
  • Computers, and the ability to program them has changed the way humans live, work and play in the 21 st century. Design a game to explore logistic questions used in coding.
  • Extract DNA from an onion (this one needs a microscope so it might be difficult to do at home.
  • How do viruses mutate and propagate? Could you design and experiment, a simulation, or a game to observe this? What is exponential growth? Can you relate what you learn to other populations (ex: cancer cells?).
  • Explain and investigate static charge for different materials (what is static charge? Why do some materials attract and others repel?).
  • How do modern engineers and architects design earthquake proof buildings? Build your own set of earthquake proof structures and test their structural integrity!
  • Investigate how the seismograph measures the different seismic waves during earthquakes. What are the main types of waves, how is a simple seismograph constructed?
  • Nature studies - choose a specific natural event and explore this. Can you recreate what is happening?
  • Did you know that electricity is stored in a potato? Harness the power of the potato to create a calculator or lamp.
  • Many common objects - including some aspects of humans - require materials only created in exploding stars. How are these materials created? How do they get to us? Determine how much of your body is made from these cosmic explosions.
  • Enclosed spaces such as airplanes can help the transmission of airbourne diseases. Make a computer program to determine how air travels in certain enclosed spaces, and see what improvements you can be make to limit these spreads!