Grade 9-10 Helix Courses

Helix 2018 applications still being accepted. Visit Apply to Helix for more information.

Below you will find Grade 9-10 Helix courses offered for Summer 2018. Please go to Apply to Helix for more information on how to apply.

Courses are organized into thematic streams, allowing participants to focus on one area of inquiry for all four weeks. Students wishing a broader exposure to topics are free to pick different courses from any stream across the four weeks. These courses are designed for students who are going into grade 9 or have completed Grade 9 or 10. There are no prerequisites for any course.

Date BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE STREAM MATH & PHYSICS STREAM BIOTECHNOLOGY STREAM
July 9-13 Neuroscientists in the Making Chemistry & Physics of Climate Change Marine Biology
July 16-20 Medical Pharmacology The Art and Science of Math Pathobiology and Microorganisms
July 23-27 Blood-Borne Disease Mathematics of Game Programming Marine Biology
July 30-Aug 3 Pathobiology and Microorganisms Chemistry & Physics of Climate Change Pathobiology and Microorganisms

BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE STREAM

Week 1 (July 9 to 13): Neuroscientists in the Making

Description: The study of the human brain, arguably the most complex organ of the body, is a relatively new discipline in the realm of medicine. In this course, we will learn how the brain works and how much there still is to learn. This interdisciplinary course will discuss topics ranging from molecular biology to experimental psychology to demonstrate the breadth of neuroscience. Working both individually and as a team, students will complete engaging experiments and have the opportunity to present their results via in class assignments in a supportive scientific community. This course is designed to introduce neuroscience topics, as well as to link the relevance of this information to current medical research through their own scientific inquiry. Ethical issues and social implications emerging from brain research will also be discussed.

Instructor: Thrmiga Sathiyamoorthy

Week 2 (July 16 to 20): Medical Pharmacology

Description: Medicine has the ability to stop, cure, or prevent diseases and illnesses. The usage of medication is an everyday occurrence for most people, with millions of tablets and syrups being consumed by humans on a daily basis to treat a variety of health disorders. The science behind how medications function and how are they are designed however, is not as commonly understood. Have you ever wondered about what bioactive substances are used in the treatment of human diseases? What happens to medication once it enters our body? What is the mechanism of action of most over the counter drugs? These are the types of questions that will be answered in this course. Students will get an opportunity to get hands-on experience on screening of agents used for therapeutics, antibiotic resistance and its efficacy, drug synthesis and its quantification, and preparation of medicated drugs. Furthermore, students will learn drug calculations, routes of drug administration and absorption, pharmacokinetics, and in-vivo and in-vitro models for drug studies. Overall, this course will provide students insight into principles and techniques used in drug preparation, administration and absorption in the human body to cure diseases.

Instructor: Uzma Nadeem

Week 3 (July 23-27): Blood-Borne Diseases

Description: The yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti is a known vector for pathogens that cause a number of blood-borne diseases, such as Zika virus, Dengue, and chikungunya. This course examines the importance of mosquito physiological processes, underlying cellular mechanisms, and neuroendocrine factors that regulate critical processes, such as feeding, excretion and reproduction. As a result, students can engage themselves in neuroendocrinology through this hands-on approach to learning. Students will be able to dissect mosquitos to examine the different tissues, run DNA gels for receptor localization, and conduct experiments to measure fluid secretion rates. Understanding the biology of the mosquito will allow for better analysis for new medical advances and research for future vaccinations against a host of deadly illnesses.

Instructor: Aryan Lajevardi and Farwa Sajadi

Week 4 (July 30 to August 3): Pathobiology and Microorganisms

Description: In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore microbiology on a macro level. Students will learn about core skills related to the field of microbiology and will develop related foundational knowledge. Through a hands-on approach, students will learn about, and practice, laboratory techniques commonly utilized by microbiologists. Various microorganisms, including bacteriophages, will be explored in depth by examining the cellular components and their functions. Connections between pathobiology and microorganisms will be made through student-directed scientific studies.

Instructor: Andrew DiVito

MATH & PHYSICS STREAM

Week 1 (July 9 to 13): Chemistry & Physics of Climate Change

Description: Our atmosphere is changing. While the air is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 0.9% argon, human activities have released billions of tonnes of different chemicals into the air to fill up the remaining 0.1%. And yet that 0.1% has had a profound effect on the future of our planet and our societies within it. This course will feature hands-on atmospheric chemistry and atomic physics experiments investigating the fundamental science behind why such tiny traces of gases have a powerful global impact on human health and livelihood. Students will learn about the elaborate chemistry and physics that happen in the skies, including ozone in the stratosphere, sulfuric acid in the rain, methane in our livestock, carbon dioxide between the air and oceans and more. Students will learn how to access and analyze data available through world-wide environmental monitoring programs in order to study real-world trends. Students will also learn how to access real-word satellite data from NASA (and others) in order to understand the current state of the Earth and will be able to visit scientists at the Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Instructor: Sabour Baray

Week 2 (July 16 to 20): The Art and Science of Math

Description: Math manifests itself in mysterious ways. It can be found in such diverse fields as music, espionage, and comedy. In this course, we will explore the connections between math and art, aliens, memes, global pandemics, sports, feminism, and more. Each day, we will investigate a few related topics through hands-on demos and activities, and these topics will be connected back to the underlying theory to develop a broad appreciation for the role of math in creative, practical, and thought-provoking applications. This course will cover base number systems, fractals and self-similarity, Markov chains, and basic functions.

Instructor: David Rutt

Week 3 (July 23 to 27): Mathematics of Game Programming

Description: This course will introduce students to the basic mathematical concepts, algorithms, methods, and tools for use in creating video games. Initially, students will be presented with background mathematical foundations for use in video games. Lectures will be kept to a minimum and augmented with hands-on experiences with models that are pedagogically relevant. In order to augment student interest and promote course relevance to students, a 3D commercial game engine will be introduced that the students will use to create their own prototype game projects throughout the remainder of the course. Students will be taught how to initialize a virtual world within the 3D engine and to imbue objects within the world with mathematically sound behaviours. Students will have the opportunity to implement their choice of individual game mechanics and behaviours in the context of their own prototype game. Students will then be taught additional mathematical techniques and approaches to take their game further. Major topics include Geometry, Vectors and Transformations, 3D graphics, Computer Programming, and the mathematics of modelling Physics within a game.

Instructor: Anthony Salerno

Week 4 (July 30 to August 3): Chemistry & Physics of Climate Change

Description: Our atmosphere is changing. While the air is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 0.9% argon, human activities have released billions of tonnes of different chemicals into the air to fill up the remaining 0.1%. And yet that 0.1% has had a profound effect on the future of our planet and our societies within it. This course will feature hands-on atmospheric chemistry and atomic physics experiments investigating the fundamental science behind why such tiny traces of gases have a powerful global impact on human health and livelihood. Students will learn about the elaborate chemistry and physics that happen in the skies, including ozone in the stratosphere, sulfuric acid in the rain, methane in our livestock, carbon dioxide between the air and oceans and more. Students will learn how to access and analyze data available through world-wide environmental monitoring programs in order to study real-world trends. Students will also learn how to access real-word satellite data from NASA (and others) in order to understand the current state of the Earth and will be able to visit scientists at the Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Instructor: Sabour Baray

BIOTECHNOLOGY STREAM

Week 1 (July 9 to 13): Marine Biology

Description: Students participating in this course will be immersed in the field of marine biology. This course will allow students to explore the anatomy and physiology of a variety of marine organisms, focusing on organ systems and their homeostatic states. This course will also introduce students to the physiological adaptations that allow specific marine organisms to thrive in their respective environments. Through an interactive pond examination and student-directed approach to scientific studies, students will create and conduct their own marine investigations. Hands-on dissection of marine organisms including, but not limited to, Sciaenidae and Alitta succinea will allow students to explore their structure and form. Students will be taught how to identify and isolate specific organ systems during dissections, and will be provided contextual information pertaining to their respective functionality. This course will develop students’ dissection skills and will familiarize them with the scientific process; both of which have real world application to research and medical fields.

Instructor: Andrew DiVito

Week 2 (July 16 to 20): Pathobiology and Microorganisms

Description: In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore microbiology on a macro level. Students will learn about core skills related to the field of microbiology and will develop related foundational knowledge. Through a hands-on approach, students will learn about, and practice, laboratory techniques commonly utilized by microbiologists. Various microorganisms, including bacteriophages, will be explored in depth by examining the cellular components and their functions. Connections between pathobiology and microorganisms will be made through student-directed scientific studies. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of pathogens, the diseases they cause, and ways of controlling their speed. By culturing bacteria in a variety of growth conditions students will investigate the nature and growth of pathogens and the effectiveness of measures intended to prevent their spread. Students will also explore how human impact can effect the population of algae, by exploring algae growth rates at various concentrations of nitrates and phosphates. This course offers students a unique opportunity to observe a variety of live cultures under a microscope; students will view Amoeba, as well as various Ciliates and Protozoa.

Instructor: Andrew DiVito

Week 3 (July 23 to 27): Marine Biology

Description: Students participating in this course will be immersed in the field of marine biology. This course will allow students to explore the anatomy and physiology of a variety of marine organisms, focusing on organ systems and their homeostatic states. This course will also introduce students to the physiological adaptations that allow specific marine organisms to thrive in their respective environments. Through an interactive pond examination and student-directed approach to scientific studies, students will create and conduct their own marine investigations. Hands-on dissection of marine organisms including, but not limited to, Sciaenidae and Alitta succinea will allow students to explore their structure and form. Students will be taught how to identify and isolate specific organ systems during dissections, and will be provided contextual information pertaining to their respective functionality. This course will develop students’ dissection skills and will familiarize them with the scientific process; both of which have real world application to research and medical fields.

Instructor: Andrew DiVito

Week 4 (July 30 to August 3): Pathobiology and Microorganisms

Description: In this course, students will have the opportunity to explore microbiology on a macro level. Students will learn about core skills related to the field of microbiology and will develop related foundational knowledge. Through a hands-on approach, students will learn about, and practice, laboratory techniques commonly utilized by microbiologists. Various microorganisms, including bacteriophages, will be explored in depth by examining the cellular components and their functions. Connections between pathobiology and microorganisms will be made through student-directed scientific studies. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of pathogens, the diseases they cause, and ways of controlling their speed. By culturing bacteria in a variety of growth conditions students will investigate the nature and growth of pathogens and the effectiveness of measures intended to prevent their spread. Students will also explore how human impact can effect the population of algae, by exploring algae growth rates at various concentrations of nitrates and phosphates. This course offers students a unique opportunity to observe a variety of live cultures under a microscope; students will view Amoeba, as well as various Ciliates and Protozoa.

Instructor: Andrew DiVito