Sharing STEM at Science Rendezvous

June 24, 2024

Apparently Science Rendezvous Kingston was SIX WEEKS ago, and I haven’t posted about it yet?! In my defence, COVID took up two of those weeks. I’d managed to avoid catching it up to this point, but after getting up close and personal with literally thousands of children during Book Week and Science Rendezvous, it was less a question of whether I’d get sick and more a question of with what. 

And speaking of COVID, if you’ve still got any of those green-box tests kicking around your house, throw them away. The company that made them falsified their data, and it turns out they’ve never really worked properly. That’s even more true now, when the virus has mutated to the point that rapid tests have a much harder time detecting it. I, for example, tested negative the entire time I was sick… but I knew it was COVID because I had the same skin sensitivity I experienced after every vaccination. No other virus has ever caused that feeling of all-over sunburn! Or a week of total exhaustion, even after the symptoms had cleared…

But back to Science Rendezvous!

I attended with author-friends Rochelle Strauss, Elaine Kachala, and Ishta Mercurio. Here’s a picture of most of us at our lovely, tidy booth before the event began:

Elaine Kachala, Rochelle Strauss, and L. E. Carmichael at Science Rendezvous Kingston, 2024

From left to right: Elaine Kachala, Rochelle Strauss, L. E. Carmichael, eagerly awaiting an audience!

And here’s what it looked like when the hordes had descended!

Science Rendezvous Kingston, 2024

The final count for the day was over 5200 people. The energy in the room was incredible – as was the noise! By the end of the day, my throat was sore from shouting and my ears were ringing like they do after a rock concert… though that might have been because we were right next to the stage, where the Queen’s Chemistry department was gleefully blowing things up!

I swear that most of those 5200 people passed by my booth at one point. I brought one of my favourite props – an arctic fox skull from one of the animals I studied during my PhD:

L. E. Carmichael holds an arctic fox skull at Science Rendezvous Kingston

A lot of the younger kids took one look and yelled “dinosaur!” because the only bones they’ve ever seen are fossils. It blew their minds to learn that the skull was from a fox – and that humans have skulls, too! They also loved getting to touch the tuft of fox fur I brought to show them how Polar animals keep warm.

L. E. Carmichael talks to a child at Science Rendezvous Kingston

The adults, on the other hand, were fascinated by the peat moss water filter I’d rigged up – a small-scale demonstration of how peat bogs in the boreal forest clean our water for us. Check out the gatorade bottles in the centre of the display:

L. E. Carmichael's display at Science Rendezvous


It was a noisy, overwhelming, whirlwind of a day. But watching that many eyes go wide with the light of scientific discovery? Totally worth the exhaustion… and the COVID.

Ishta Mercurio demonstrates Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine.

Ishta Mercurio demonstrates Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine!








Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *