Clayton Ellis: Science Happens in the Real World

Year: 2021 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

David Suzuki Secondary School
Grades 9 to 12  - science, math, computer studies
Brampton, Ontario


“When you hear hundreds of students cheering in high-school hallways, many educators rush over to ensure that nothing bad is happening. When you realize that those same students are enthusiastically performing science experiments, then you must be in the halls of David Suzuki S.S. in Brampton, Ontario, where students are competing in the annual Science Olympics, the brainchild of teacher Clayton Ellis: STEM educator, mentor and visionary.”


Teaching Approach

For Clayton, science happens in the real world, not just in a textbook or on a chalkboard. His lessons are framed around the 5E Instructional Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate), an inquiry-based approach grounded in student-centric learning, to provide engaging and memorable learning experiences. This approach is only enriched by his understanding and belief that to truly thrive, students need to be engaged in both cross-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

In the Classroom

Clayton’s effective and ground-breaking use of technology has been exemplary throughout his 25-year career. He leverages a wide range of digital and online tools to engage his students and to connect with people around the world. In his classroom, it is a common occurrence to see a live-stream session with scientists researching AIDS, hear from experts in Engineering and Technology, or participate in virtual experiments with students in other countries. Clayton is a digital pioneer, fostering real-world skills in his students to help them succeed.

As a veteran science educator, Clayton understands the importance of hands-on learning experiences for his students. One of the ways that he does this is with the integration of probe ware - learning tools that connect probes and sensors to a computer and allow students to view real-time data in a variety of formats. In 1996, Clayton was one of the first science educators to integrate this into the teaching and learning space in the province.

Outstanding Achievements

Clayton has developed an array of collaborative learning materials, resources and multimedia content for classes, schools and school boards. Before eLearning was a buzzword and the education community barely understood its implications, Clayton was already immersed in this world as a member of an inaugural internet technology think tank with the Toronto Board. This was in 1998. As one of the first content creators for eLearning Ontario, his footprints on how to integrate STEM through these platforms are everywhere. In his pioneering role as an eLearning Resource teacher for Peel District School Board, he created a system-wide strategy that supported hundreds of teachers to construct blended environments to complement their classroom.

At the outset of cyber-bullying Clayton was among those who saw the seriousness of the problem, and the damage it can cause. He recognized that the best solution was to empower the students and lead them through this problem-solving process. He invited key stakeholders from the community, including members of the police force and he conducted workshops with elementary school-age students about cyberbullying and appropriate online behaviour.

Get in touch!

David Suzuki Secondary School
45 Daviselm Dr.
Brampton, ON  L6X 0Z3
Twitter: @DavidSuzukiSS
Facebook: @TheRealDSSS