1200 Elementary students experiment with science and technology at ARTIE


The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) welcomed over 1200 elementary school students from the Algoma region had the opportunity interact with and learn form 14 local science and technology exhibitors at the 11th annual ARTIE (Advanced Research and Technology Innovation Expo).

ARTIE has been part of the annual Sault Se. Marie Science Festival for the last four years.

The event is one if SSMIC’s largest events ever, and it is also one of the largest science and technology innovation expos for elementary school students of its kind in Canada.

The inaugural ARTIE saw a total of 400 students, which has increased year after year.

To date, more than 6000 students have participated in ARTIE over the last 11 years.

ARTIE is held over the course of one day, with groups of students attending either morning or afternoon sessions. It provides students with the opportunity to discover science and technology in fun and interactive ways, as well as hear about the vast careers in these sectors from local experts.


This year’s exhibitors included the following organizations;

  • Algoma University Gaming
  • Entomica
  • Great Lakes Forestry Centre
  • Invasive Species Centre
  • Maker North
  • Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • PUC
  • RAIN (Rural Agri-Innovation Network)
  • Sault College Fish/Forestry
  • Science North
  • Solar Energy
  • Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services
  • White Pines Robotics

The exhibitors gave presentations on the array of work they do, in addition to providing fun hands-on activities for the students to experiment with and explore.

In addition to actually getting tactile with the activities, it was also an opportunity for students to meet and interact with scientists in the field, including biology, environmental sciences, computer science, robotics, and technology.

Dan Fraser, Fire Prevention Officer, and Aaron  Gravelle, Public Education Officer, both with the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services, spoke with SaultOnline about the scope of their exhibit and the positive impact events like ARTIE have in the community.

Fraser has partaken in ARTIE for the past three years, and this year mark’s Gravelle’s second ARTIE event.

“It gives us the opportunity to tell the student a little bit about what we do and the three lines of defence in fire safety, which are education, inspection and enforcement, and then fighting fires and suppression. We are both within the first two lines, which are proactive and preventative,” Gravelle explained.

Of the key takeaways from their presentation, Fraser stated, “We hear of ids playing with Areseol cans or gas cans and getting hurt, so we want to teach them that those really aren’t things to be fooling around with. We do the demonstration (pictured below) to teach them how some fumes are invisible, how they mov, and that there are fumes that can hurt you by causing fire. It is essentially the science behind fire.”

Step 1 Light the fuel source.Step 2 Rest it on the platform facing the lit candle


Step 3 : Waves of hot flames

The officers shared with SaultOnline that they try to do something a little different every year to keep it enticing and intriguing, but always try to highlight critical elements of fire safety such as the importance of having a home escape plan.

Gravelle went on to say, “We do things in the community and demonstrations to reach out to the community and always throw in the aspect of fire safety and how to prevent fires from happening. Events like this are perfect because it actually goes hand in hand with our school programs. The more we get to see the kids, the more we get to build a bond with them and teach them different aspects of fire science and safety.”

The SSM Fire Services see kids from J.K to grade 3, as well as grade 8, and then through grades 9 and 12 in specialized courses such as food, law, civics, health, and science.

When these students then choose to pursue an education related to fire science or safety in university or college, they are continually building a relationship with the students and teaching them the various facets of fire safety throughout their entire educational journey.

These local partnerships are fostered and deepened through innovative events such as ARTIE, that pride themselves on highlighting the local and regional fields of science and showcasing those experts.

As stated by Don MacLennan, Acting Executive Director of SSMIC in a press release,

“We started ARTIE eleven years ago with the hope of sparking youth’s interest and curiosity in these fields, and engage with experts in the community to foster the next generation of science and technology leaders.”

He continued, “The support from local exhibitors and our community partners is incredible. Exhibitors are an essential part of the day, providing hands-on experience.

On behalf of SSMIC, MacLennan thanked the community, “We are thankful for the dedicated staff who plan for months leading up to this event, and the volunteers who help make the day possible to ensure a safe and fun experience for all.”

For more information on SSMIC, click here.

For more information on the Sault Ste. Marie Science Festival that is taking place this week and the events open to the public, click here.


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