University of Calgary

Iron Science

Nov. 18, 2008

Iron Science heats up with U of C as final battleground

Iron Science

The Iron Science finals are slated for Nov. 21 and teams from across Canada will be competing for the top prize in this year's event.

Take one science teacher, add a handful of years of inspiring young minds and fold in a secret ingredient. There you have it: Iron Science.

This event parodies the popular TV series Iron Chef. In Iron Science, teams of teachers have 10 minutes to perform a science project, which is built around a mystery ingredient: water bottles. Over the last few months, competitions have been held across the country and the judges have announced the names of the finalists who will be competing at the University of Calgary on Friday, Nov. 21.

Iron Science isn’t a typical science fair. It’s an entertaining drama that shows how science can be taught with pretty much anything, and can engage and entertain the audience. The science dramatizations are judged by a panel for their originality and creativity, entertainment value, education value and inspiration to other teachers. And in the finals, applause from the audience also weighs in heavily.

Last year's winning team, Un-Intelligent Design: (L-R)

Last year's winning team, Un-Intelligent Design: (L-R) Grant Shaw, Max Hegel, Carolina Nario and Kevin Zuk. / Photo by Ken Bendiktsen

“This event energized a whole range of people and, on a personal level, it gave me an opportunity to be more aware of my teaching practices and as challenging our jobs may be some days, it definitely pushed my limits and expectations about the quality of learning in my classroom,” says Carolina Nario, a teacher at Elmwood High School in Winnipeg and part of the team that won last year’s competition. “It was an honour to be a part of this event and this definitely counts as one of the highlights in my teaching career.”

Jonathan Lareau of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which is a part of the steering committee, says he is impressed with the event. “Today's youth are the great thinkers of tomorrow—the next crop of Canadian researchers. Iron Science is innovative way to turn them on to science, and how this benefits our country.”

Iron Science is a partnership between the University of Calgary, Discovery Channel and science centres—Science World at TELUS World of Science Vancouver, TELUS World of Science Edmonton, Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa and Discovery Centre in Halifax—to reach out across the country to build relationships with teachers and support their professional development.

Devon Energy Corporation is the event sponsor for Iron Science.
The partnership with Discovery Channel brings the final event to classrooms and teachers everywhere in Canada through a live webcast streamed on

The finalists are:

Future Darwin Award Nominees
British Columbia 
Brendon Driscoll, Glenn Kachmar and Michelle Twigg of

Schrodinger’s Cats
Alicia Motuz, Susanne Czentye and Shannon Robertson

The Message
Adrian Deakin, April McKnight, Cam Grier and Anil Sharma

The Mole Men
Andrew Cumberland, Dan Lajoie, Masato Kachi and Colin Harris

The Silver Ions
Nova Scotia 
Steve Thurbide, Becky MacKenzie, Jennifer Oldford and Christine Emberley