* Note that the below provides details on the various programs taking place at the Michael Smith Laboratories, where creative arts are mixed in with scientific concepts.  The research project that this research blog proposes will likely revolve around collecting impressions around science and creativity, in the context of experiencing these programs. Currently, the most obvious candidate for study is the SCLS, but we will also explore the possibility of including elements from the SCQ and Phylo project.

Sept 11 update: From our grant writing hackathon, it’s clear we’ll be focusing primarily on the activities around the SCLS (with perhaps a minor inclusion of the SCQ stuff).  Anyway, consquently, we’ve included strikethroughs of the text on the Phylo project for clarity’s sake (although it’s possible we may revisit that project later on)


The Science Creative Literacy Symposia is a field trip program offered at the University of British Columbia, and is designed to provide an engaging outreach experience for students at the Grade 5, 6, or 7 level. Here, the intent is to combine elements of science exploration with expository creative writing with the aim of fostering skills in written literacy, scientific literacy, as well as develop appreciation in interdisciplinary connections. For a sense of where the idea came from,click here (hat tip to 826National).

Hosted by the Michael Smith Laboratories, and by fine folks from the UBC Creative Writing Program, the field trips will be held at the Michael Smith Building. Both research laboratory settings as well as spaces conducive for reflective writing activities will be used.

Each session involves a class of Grade 5,6, or 7 students (about 30 max), and will encompass a timeframe from 10am to about 2pm – this includes a lunch break of about 20 minutes somewhere in the middle. Basically, the session will be run by two instructors; one a Graduate Student within a scientific discipline, and the other a Masters of Fine Arts student within the Creative Writing program. Each session will be designed to allow the elementary students to play both the role of the scientist (perform a science experiment) and the writer (engage in a reflective writing exercise), with a concerted effort to provide linkage between the two skill sets. As well, it is hoped that there will be an outlet for publication of works from these sessions, whilst still allowing copyright to remain with the student. The fieldtrip is free (first come first served in terms of bookings), although transportation and lunch is not provided.

Some detailed logistics (forms, scheduling, directions):

We ask that (if possible) a consent form be filled before coming to the lab. This form allows us the option of presenting the student’s quality work to a wider public. This will be for strictly non-commercial first publication use. Copyright of pieces produced will thereafter remain with the student(s). (full details and pdf of consent form – click here)

9:45am – 10:00am: Meet at the foyer of the Michael Smith Building (link to directions can be found here)

10:00am – 10:25am Laptops will be provided for students to fill out the first part of the questionnaire.

10:25am – ~11:50am: Some combination of science and/or writing activities. Likely, the majority of time will focus on the science experiment which will vary according to the instructors present.

~11:50am – 12:10pm: approximately a 20 minute lunch break. Lunch is not provided, but space for indoor lunch sitting is there if needed.

12:10pm – 1:35pm: Some combination of science and/or writing activities: Here, it’s likely most of the time will focus on the writing exercises, which also will vary depending on the instructors present.

1:35pm – 2:00pm Laptops will be provided for students to fill out the second part of the questionnaire.

Detailed Description of Activities

Essentially, there are three different science activities, and three different writing activities.  We will try our best to accomodate which one you prefer, but often, the program is set according to availability of the specific instructor.  In any event, the links below will provide pdfs of lesson plans with full details of content and teaching materials involved.

1. Genomic DNA isolation | Writing a Screenplay | Slides

2. DIY Cloud Chamber | “What is in the jar” poetry | Slides

3. Adaptations and Microscopes | Choose Your Own Adventure* | Slides

* Note that because this activity was a modification of an 826 Valencia fieldtrip, we are awaiting further permissions from 826National.


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