A REPOL initiative, the Photonic Games are a friendly competition for grade 11 students that encourages learning optics and photonics through the hands-on application of physics principles and problem-solving.
The first edition of the Photonic Games, which took place in November 2008, confronted 60 teenagers with problems that they had to solve using optical principles in a limited amount of time.
Using the same materials and the same tools, the groups of four to five students tried to overcome seven challenges in the form of olympiads. Each team was accompanied by a college-level student in optics. At the end of the day, the performance of all the teams where compared and participation prizes were raffled. The members of the winning team received iPod nanos.
This same concept was refined and improved for the second edition in 2009, which included 115 participants from 3 different high schools in the Quebec City area. In 2010 and 2011, the Photonic Games were provincial finalist for Forces AVENIR in the category “AVENIR Société, communication et éducation”. Our student chapter was invited to present the Photonic Games at the international conferene Optics+Photonics in San Diego August 2010 and wrote a proceedings paper, so any group who wants to plan the same kind of event have reference materials.
We are currently preparing the seventh edition of the Photonic Games, which will take place on October 30th, 2014. For more information, please visit the Photonic Games website (in French only). If you would like to help out for the realization of the 2014 Games, please contact Audrey Veillette, president of the 2014 Photonic Games.
“Les filles et les sciences” (Girls and science)
“Les Filles et les Sciences” is an annual event aimed at introducing the world of science and technology to girls aged between 14 and 16. Invited for one day on the Université Laval campus, the young girls have the opportunity to discover a wide variety of applied science fields through interactive displays and many dynamic workshops. REPOL has contributed to this event since 2008 by holding kiosks and leading workshops. The kiosk presented by students at the COPL contains various demonstrations of impressive optical phenomena, such as fluorescence, image forming with diffractive optical elements and three-dimensional mirror effects.
For 2011, we introduced the girls to the exciting world of laser science by making their own holograms. The girls also took photos of different light phenomena. The last part of the workshop was a laser maze: each time one of the laser beams was blocked, an alarm rang. [photos 2011]
“24 heures de science” (24 hours of science)
24 heures of science is a day of activities in science and technology for the general public, all over the province of Quebec. The idea behond this manifestation is to encourage meetings between scientists and the general public, to stimulate the general interest for science and technology and to promote scientific careers for kids and teenagers.
2010: L’Odyssée du laser
REPOL lead hands-on demonstrations workshops about optics and photonics in grade 10 and 11 groups at the Neufchatel high school in Quebec City. The workshops, lead by students in optics and photonics, were about various optical principles: reflection, refraction, Fresnel lenses, color combination, lasers, ets. The students could touch and play with the optical components and discuss their observations. Sinc 2010 is the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of lasers, emphasis was placed on this subject and the participants who correctly answered a question about lasers obtained a ticket for a prize raffle. [See the photos] [Presentation about lasers]
2011: La trousse photonique de l’ICIP
REPOL used the CIPI (Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations) photonic kit to lead hands-on demonstrations workshop in a classroom at Jean-de-Brébeuf high school. We seperated the group in six teams, which one received a bag with material and equipment to realize an optic-photonic experiment. The themes were varied: optical communications, holography, solar energy… The photonic kit was developed by the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI) to demonstrate in a fun and original way various sides and applications of photonics to high schools students.
“Défi sports et sciences” (Science day-camp)
On July 15th 2010, a few members of REPOL lead half a day of hands-on workshops with the teenagers participating in the science day-camp entitled “Défi sciences et sports”, to reinforce their interest and curiosity towards the science of light. These activities were strongly inspired from the Photonic Games challenges; we did workshops on basic optical principles, raced with solar cars and played optical mini-golf. [See the photos]
On July 11th and 18th 2011, two groups of ten teens came at the COPL all afternoon. REPOL members presented the CIPI photonic kit. We also gave them a photonic challenge inspired by the Khet Game (laser chess). The activity ended by the visit of the holography laboratory.