Off Limits

Go behind the scenes to exciting locations and meet amazing STEM role models in our latest YouTube video series! 

 Off Limits: Heavy Machines

Get ready to move some dirt! We are taking you behind the scenes to a giant sandbox! Learn how to operate construction equipment alongside Dr. Larissa and STEM role model, Maiya Glasser. Then give our hands-on STEM Challenge a try for your chance to win a prize pack generously donated by the Ontario Science Centre.

Now it's your turn! Try our Heavy Machines STEM Challenge!

Do you like building and constructing things? This is your chance to put your construction skills to the test!

Your challenge: to build a model excavator arm that will scoop flour. The excavator arm that scoops the most flour in a single use will win. Make sure your scoop is clean, so you can reuse the flour after (cookies? cakes?)!

The specs: you can be creative and use any materials you like to design and build your excavation arm. Use the video below for inspiration! Parent/guardian supervision is recommended.

Submit your work: Complete a two-part form and submit a short video showing your excavator arm in action (maximum 1 minute). The video must include the following two components in a single take: i) a demonstration of the excavator arm scooping flour; ii) a measurement of the amount of flour it scooped using a measuring cup or measuring spoons. Note: The form will ask you a heavy machines question. You can find the answer to this question in the Off Limits: Heavy Machines video.

Judging: Entries will be judged by the Ontario Science Centre! They will be looking for the excavator arm that scoops the most flour in a single use. If more than one entry scoops the same amount of flour, they will be looking for other design features to break the tie.

Deadline: Entries must be submitted by 11:59 PT on December 8, 2022.

Eligibility: This STEM challenge is for girls, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth aged 7-17 (as of December 8, 2022), residing in Canada.

Winners: The Ontario Science Centre will select two winners: one aged 7-11 and another aged 12-17.

Prizes: Winners will each receive a prize pack valued at $60, generously donated by the Ontario Science Centre.

Need some inspiration? Watch the videos below to help you get started on the STEM Challenge!

Build an excavator bucket that can scoop flour using supplies readily available at home!

Want to create something more elaborate? Try building the excavator arm and bucket!

Want to see more Off Limits? View our most recent Off Limits videos below or visit our YouTube channel to watch them all!

 Off Limits: Fighting Fire

How do firefighters train and learn to put out fires? Dr. Larissa faces the flames head-on with firefighter, Cheryl Hunt, at the Ottawa Fire Training Centre. Can you handle the heat?

 Off Limits: The “Mars Yard”

Join scientist host, Dr. Larissa, as she explores the “Mars Yard” with CSA robotics engineer and STEM role model, Chantelle Dubois. Watch as Chantelle introduces viewers to Juno, a lunar rover prototype that will open a new era in Canadian space exploration. 

This project is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).