Stephen Jones: Sharing passion for research science in state-of-the-art lab

Year: 2018 – Province: Manitoba

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Stephen Jones

Youth BIOlab Jeunesse (Albrechtsen Research Centre)
St. Boniface Hospital
351 Tache Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6

School telephone: 204-237-2809
School website: www.sbrc.ca/youthbiolab
Twitter: @YouthBIOlab

Subjects and grades taught: Science and Health, grades 5–12

Stephen Jones' classroom is a 280-m2 (3,000 sq. ft.), state-of-the-art laboratory located in a hospital. Each year, Steve, who has a background in medical research, works with 6,500 students—50,000 since the lab opened in 2005—on science education, research and health literacy activities.

Teaching approach

Steve's long-time goal has been to help youth develop their own meaningful connections with cutting-edge science and technology, not rote-memorize facts. He set up the BIOlab to be a rich and immersive scientific environment, with digital technologies integrated to connect students to STEM.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Shares hands-on approach to science, using the equipment and facilities found in the most-advanced modern labs: students use these tools to work with real cells and real tissues to gain an understanding of scientific research and its techniques
  • Provides opportunities for students to satisfy their own curiosity through real science: students design experiments to explore important health issues—caffeine stimulation and smoking, for example—using bone marrow stem cells they isolate from rat bones and keep alive in the lab
  • Is extending the reach of the lab to students in remote communities, including First Nations: Steve installed videoconferencing equipment to share learning with faraway classes and is mentoring 12 students in 6 communities as they prepare for the Manitoba First Nations Science Fair

Outstanding achievements

  • Wrote and co-produced a series of videos for Manitoba Education in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society outlining the concepts of medical physics behind technologies such as x-rays and ultrasound; physics teachers across the province now use the videos with their Grade 12 classes
  • Supported a local high school as it changed its entire Grade 9 program to project-based learning, working directly with educators to develop a unit on reproduction for 60 students
  • Presents yearly workshops to science teachers, helping them solidify their skills and knowledge, and has taught future biology teachers in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba
  • Has been honoured by the St. Boniface Hospital and the provincial science teachers association for his contributions to science education in Manitoba

Rave reviews

"[Steve] is a hands-on, dedicated teacher who has made a tremendous impact on our students—giving them the space and opportunity to ask questions, helping to learn how to obtain answers, and showing them that they can 'do science.'"

Medical researcher