Expert on Demand – Canadian Association for Girls In Science (CAGIS)

Expert on Demand

Girls with adult looking at laptop and learning about STEM

Would you like to book a CAGIS Virtual session for your group?

These fun, 1 hour sessions begin with an interactive presentation, followed by a virtual or hands-on activity, and finish with a summary and time for questions. Our presenters have experience with students of all ages. Most sessions can be adapted to any elementary or high school age group.

Our Expert on Demand sessions are currently only being offered to our corporate partners and sponsors.  If you would like to be informed if Expert on Demand sessions re-open to the public, please email  Or, check CAGIS Virtual for our weekly online program.


Session Descriptions

The Chemistry of Crystals

You LOVE crystals but do you know what they are?  For example, did you know that chocolate is a crystal?  In this session, you will learn the chemistry of crystals and get an introduction to crystalline structures.  After an interactive talk, participants will do an activity to grow crystals, with time for questions at the end.
Preparation: participants will need cups, jars, or bowls (2-3 per person); warm or hot water; salt or baking soda; string, pipe cleaner, yarn, or toilet paper rolls; stir stick, fork, or spoon.
Curriculum Links: Understanding Matter and Energy
ice cream cone and sprinkles for Expert on Demand STEM activity

The Engineering of Ice Cream

Did you know that an engineer can work in an ice cream factory?  In this session participants will learn about food engineering, transfer of energy, and make their own ice cream!
Preparation: each participant will need one large ziplock bag, 2 medium/sandwich sized ziplock bags, 4 cups of ice, 1/3 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of milk or milk alternative (e.g. soy, almond, or coconut milk), 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, bowl, spoon, gloves or oven mitts to protect hands from the cold 
Curriculum Links: Understanding Matter and Energy
top of a roller coaster ride

Exciting Energy: Rollercoasters, Catapults, & Rube Goldberg Machines

Did you know that an engineer could have the job of designing rollercoasters?! In this session, you will learn about a variety of types of energy, including potential and kinetic energy.  After an interactive presentation, participants will build their own miniature catapults (to propel small bits of eraser or paper). 
Note: although the Exciting Energy sessions are popular as a pair, either can be a stand-alone session as well.
Preparation: participants will need popsicle sticks, rulers, elastic bands, plastic spoons, a water bottle, paper to tear up to make projectiles, pencils, safety goggles or sunglasses
Curriculum Links: Understanding Structures and Mechanisms

Exciting Energy: Renewable Energy

This session further explores different types of energy and discusses renewable energy.  After an interactive presentation, participants will build their own waterwheels.
Note: although the Exciting Energy sessions are popular as a pair, either can be stand-alone.
Preparation: Each participant will need 2 paper or plastic plates with holes in the middle, 6-8 disposable cups, tape (Preferably a thicker tape like masking tape or duct tape), 1 wooden skewer,  2 Rubber bands
Curriculum Links: Understanding Structures and Mechanisms; Understanding Earth and Space Systems
microscope in a fruit fly lab

Fruit Fly Lab

What are traits, genes, heredity, genotypes, and phenotypes? These concepts will be introduced with a virtual lab environment that allows participants to mate fruit flies with different traits to see what proportion of the offspring have which traits. The level of difficulty will be adapted to the age of participants, with Punnet squares introduced to older participants. 
Preparation: no materials are necessary other than a computer and internet connection. Flash should be enabled on your browser.  The group can do the activity together or each participant can try the activity individually if they have their own mobile devices. Older participants may benefit from a pencil and paper if the concept of Punnet squares is being introduced. 
Curriculum Links: Understanding Life Systems
sprouting plants for CAGIS botany activity

Seed Germination Challenge

Have you ever wondered how large trees grow from tiny seeds?  Did you know that different seeds can require very different conditions to germinate?  After an interactive presentation, participants will prepare seeds for germination and track root growth in the days following the session. Elements of experimental design and the scientific method are introduced to older participants.

Preparation: each participant will need a small ziplock bag and sheet of paper towel for each seed type, water to dampen the paper towel, and seeds. Participants can have one kind of seed, or multiple kinds of seeds. The seeds can be purchased in a garden centre or found in the kitchen (e.g. dried beans, popcorn). We recommend that each participant has 3 to 5 seeds of each type.

Curriculum Links: Understanding Life Systems
Magician's hat and glove

Physics Magic.  DO Try this at Home!

Explore physics concepts with simple household items! From spinning eggs to electrified sticky tape, we’ll learn how to perform and explain some physics magic tricks to amaze your friends!  We will discuss the law of inertia, Bernoulli’s principle, light refraction, and more. It’s not magic — it’s physics! 

Preparation: boiled egg (cooled), raw egg, two balloons, paper, tissue paper, plastic comb, sticky tape, pen, glass of water.
CAGIS STEM session for kids on human skeleton

Your Amazing Skeleton

Did you know that the adult body has over 206 bones? Fifty-four of them are just in our hands and wrists!  If you’ve ever seen a skeleton or fossil in a museum, you might think that all bones are dead, but your skeleton is a living, active part of your body.  In fact, all of your blood cells are manufactured inside your bones.  In this session, we will learn more about the surprising composition of bones, and how biomedical engineers design solutions for patients who have injured a bone.  

Materials: String, tape, paper or construction paper, scissors, 8 or more straws (paper or plastic).  If you don’t have straws, we can demonstrate how to roll strips of paper to make straws, but store bought ones would be preferable.
Hands folding paper into flexagon for CAGIS activity

Mind-Boggling Paper Folding

Flexagons are paper polygons that have a fascinating secret.  When you flex them, you can reveal their hidden sides!  In this session, we’ll construct our own hexaflexagons, learn how mathematicians use something called graph theory to map out the paths between sides, and find some surprising connections to computer networks.  This is math as you’ve never done it before. 
Preparation: paper, scissors, tape, coloured markers/pencil crayons.
CAGIS STEM session for kids on the Science of Chocolate

The Science of Chocolate

Did you know that every Valentine’s Day, over 58 million pounds of chocolate are purchased around the world including 36 million heart-shaped chocolate boxes!  Nine out of ten of us say we love chocolate, but have you ever wondered about the science behind this delicious treat?  What is its active ingredient?  What is the difference between chocolate, cocoa, and cacao?  Is it true that chocolate is poisonous for dogs?  Learn the answers to these questions and more, and try making your own chocolate-flavoured treat at home during this very tasty session.

Preparation: Two or more squares of semi-sweet chocolate, or about eight semi-sweet chocolate chips, a pack of chocolate chips, three to five things to mix in of your choice, eg. nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, popcorn, gummies, sour keys.  One of the following: Loaf pan or small glass baking pan or silicone ice cube tray. Additional fun options: sprinkles, white chocolate, crushed mints/candy canes.
tie dye fabric

Chromatography Tie Dye

Have you ever spilled water on a newspaper?  Did you notice that the ink runs and spreads on the page? In this session, we will learn about ink solubility and a laboratory technique called chromatography, which allows you to separate a mixture. Then, we will explore the technique by making a colourful chromatography tie dye project. Join us for some creative chemistry!

Preparation: a few rubber bands, 2-5 plastic cups, a colourful assortment of permanent markers (dollar store ones work well), an eyedropper, 70% or higher isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), white fabric that can be dyed (eg. t-shirt).  You will also want to protect your workspace.

Chemistry and Glow-in-the-Dark SLIME!

It’s getting late, the lights are low, and all you’ll see are things that glow.

In this session, we will be making glow in the dark SLIME and learning the chemistry of phosphorescence and all things glow-in-the-dark!
Preparation: Click here for a list of materials.