By Stephanie Mamayson

Reality TV isn’t just for TV anymore.

Iron science, an educational contest modeled after the reality television show Iron Chef, aims to get high-school students engaged in science class. The contest involves a “secret ingredient” which teachers will use to develop an interesting lesson plan that will both enlighten and entertain.

Albertan teachers are passionate about science education and Alberta Ingenuity communications officer Sandra Robertson explained this could be a great outlet for that enthusiasm.

“It gives teachers a channel and an opportunity to go right over the top,” she said.

Iron Science started at San Francisco’s Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception. Although the facility’s contest varies in format, the main concept is maintained.

“They run it differently and often workshops take place on-site,” said Robertson. “Schulich School of Engineering’s director of communication Mary Ann Moser thought it might be worth running the program in Alberta.”

Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged and this year teams will include people with backgrounds in science, math, art and even a firefighter. It is a way for teachers to showcase and share their knowledge with others while flexing their creativity.

Four teams will be competing to represent Alberta in the final this year; Cold Lake’s Grand Centre High School, Calgary’s Juno Beach Academy of Canadian Studies, Edmonton’s Old Scona Academic Senior School and Edgerton Public School.

The champions of last year’s contest, Father Lacombe High’s Iron Maidens and team leader Candice “Ziggy Spike” Beermann will return this year as a judge.

The Alberta leg of the competition will take place on Oct. 19 at the Telus World of Science.

“This was just a natural fit for us,” said World of Science representative Cassandra McAuley. “It’s a great opportunity not only to work with Alberta Ingenuity, but also to be involved with the future and professional development of science teachers and students.”

Access and Canadian Learning Television have partnered with Alberta Ingenuity to make this event possible.

This year, the affair has spread across the country, with winning teams performing at the University of Calgary on Nov. 22 for the final event, which will be a live webcast on

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