Citizen Science Youth Camp

Our new summer camp program encourages your child to become innovative, collaborative, and develop an interest in science. Children will participate in fun, hands on activities and perform memorable science experiments involving chemistry, biology and physics. Citizen Science Youth Camp builds on our facilitators’ many years of experience teaching children and our constantly growing community of makers. The camp engages children to work in a creative and supportive environment while developing team building skills necessary to communicate ideas, think critically, and grow as individuals.

Session 1: Under the Microscope

Dates: TBD

In the first week of Citizen Science Youth Camp, we are going under the microscope to explore bacteria, plants, and animal tissues. We will be dissecting different plants and mushrooms, observing amoebae and paramecia in action, looking at blood cells, and drawing what we see. Young Scientists will learn about safety in the laboratory, maintaining a sterile working environment, and how to use dissection tools to prepare microscope slides. We will learn how to stain animal tissues to reveal hidden structures under the microscope.

Young Scientists will learn how to prepare petri dishes and culture bacteria colonies.

There will be a secondary theme to this week – photography. Young Scientists will choose an event that happens in an instant and then take amazing pictures using high speed photography. We will also build our own pinhole cameras, put them outside for an entire day, and then develop the film in our darkroom.

Session 2: Magic of Change

Dates: TBD

The second week of camp has a strong emphasis on chemistry. Our facilitators will dissolve a gold coin in acid and Young Scientists will gold-plate pennies using electricity. We will make our own mirrors and jewels using a silver solution. We will make our own black and white film and test it in a home made camera. Young Scientists will synthesize their own nylon rope from raw materials. We will mix potassium iodide and lead nitrate to make beautiful golden crystals, and then use fire to understand what those crystals are made of. We will chemically synthesize esters – the chemicals that cause fruity smells. Finally, we’ll grow our own crystals from copper sulfate.

There will be a secondary theme to this week – physics. We will play with vortex cannons and perform a thrilling wrecking ball experiment. Young Scientists will make liquid nitrogen ice cream in our kitchen, and we’ll see who can come up with the most delicious and interesting flavour. Young Scientists will be using chromatography to separate the different pigments in ink to make a rainbow. On the last day, we’ll split water into hydrogen and oxygen and then recombine it with a bang!

Session 3: The Secrets of Forensics

Dates: TBD

On the third week, we are looking closely at forensic science and DNA. In fact, we will be solving a crime! Our club president has gone missing and the other Hacklab members are saying the tree house is suspiciously clean! Young Scientists will gather physical evidence from the potential crime scene. They will learn to dust for and lift fingerprints from various surfaces and then expose them with CA vapours. They will uncover hidden blood stains with luminol, and compare fabric and hair samples with those of our Hacklab members.

After gathering and photographing evidence on the first day, we will learn and practise some lab skills. Young Scientists will be sequencing DNA to determine which types of meat are in a hamburger. We will learn how to operate a PCR machine to amplify DNA and a gel electrophoresis cell to determine its sequence. We’ll learn how to make bacteria cells accept new DNA, so that Young Scientists can inject foreign DNA into bacteria to make it glow in the dark. Then we will learn to test salts by the different colours they produce in a flame.

On the last day, we’ll receive dossiers about our suspects. We will revisit the fingerprints and manually match them with our suspects. Then our facilitators will demonstrate how to use software to verify our findings. We will look at fabric samples under a microscope to see what clothes they came from. We will use chromatography to identify which ink was used in handwriting.

* All our staff have WHMIS 2015 certification, and there will always be someone on-site who is trained in First Aid & CPR.

Our Staff

Anna is a Camp Facilitator at DIYBIO Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biology with research in the effects of climate change on plant physiology. Currently, she’s also a graduate student at Ryerson University studying Environmental Science and Management. When she graduates, Anna would like to work with corporations to improve their impact on the environment. In her spare time, Anna enjoys riding horses, hiking, traveling and volunteering.


Dana is a Camp Facilitator at DIYBIO Toronto who’s currently studying Molecular Biology and Genetics at McMaster University. She also works as a tutor teaching math and science to high school students throughout the year. In her free time, she loves theatre, painting, and singing. She aspires to one day be a professor and run her own lab.


Ryan is a Camp Facilitator at DIYBIO Toronto who’s currently studying in the field of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University. In the future, he hopes to finish medical school and one day become a physician. Some of his hobbies include skiing, badminton, and playing the piano.

Victor is the Lab Manager at DIYBIO Toronto who completed his education in Biochemistry (Biotechnology Specialization) at the University of Waterloo. He has worked in various lab settings, universities, including with the federal government. He hopes to inspire and provide a safe and fun laboratory environment for innovative individuals to conduct science experiments or startup projects.


Misha is the Safety Officer, and also one of the leaders at DIYBIO Toronto. He is on the Board of Directors of Hacklab Toronto Club. He has been teaching maker classes to children since high school, first at MakerKids, then the Toronto Tool Library, and later as a private tutor. Misha enjoys constant learning, sharing ideas with the community, and hopes to see individuals succeed in their goals.