How to Make Science Education REAL with Coffee, Contests, Knuckle Cracking, and Calorimeters

Today’s science education is meant to develop students to become science thinkers and doers - not just “science memorizers”. To achieve this, we need to make science education REAL - that is, Relevant, Engaging, Applied Learning. But, how might we do that?


This workshop will focus on some strategies and lessons that have been developed for the science classroom to foster the skills to be a 21st century science thinker and doer. Specifically, how do we teach students how to communicate their findings in the science classroom? (ANSWER: through CER, which we’ll cover). How do we get students to think critically while developing better lab skills? And, how might we develop better scientific literacy (hint: NOT by reading from the textbook) and help foster a scientific mind that can be used outside the classroom? We share with you what we’ve tried in our own classroom to answer these questions.

Target Audience

Middle School or Junior Science Teachers (Grades 8-10)


10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Room 707

No prior registration required.


  • Burnaby School district
    Kent Lui

    I’m the science department head at Burnaby South Secondary. In 2017, I started a science contest for high school students called the REAL Science Challenge, which has grown from a small local competition to an international competition with schools from across Canada, the USA, and even Korea participating. In 2019-2020, we plan to have an even bigger year. My website (, where I post useful science teaching resources and strategies, has also been viewed over 100,000 times since I started posting back in 2017. In the grand scheme of things, 100K in views is not huge when compared to what the biggest youtube influencers achieve. However, I’ve learned a lot from developing the science contest and our science resources: specifically, what teachers are struggling with and what teachers are finding useful in their classrooms. And, I’m happy to share! Outside of teaching, I’m also a loving husband and father, semi-professional coffee aficionado, amateur ballroom dancer (ok, I’m pretty good) and boxer (what can I say - I’m a lover and a fighter).