I-LEARN Challenge:

This option requires you, as contest participants, to independently conduct research on a given curriculum-based topic. Using your creativity and an animation technology, you will then produce an animation or motion picture to explain the topic. 

Topics for I-LEARN Challenge are as follow: (See green texts)

  • ​Relating to the grade 11 Biology - Artificial selection process (with focus on sequential changes in the phenotypes of a domesticated plant)

                         ​Taken from: Evolution (SBI3U0)

  • Relating to the grade 12 Chemistry - Substitution vs. Addition reaction to Benzene (with focus on halides as the one of the reactants)

​                         Taken from: Organic Chemistry (SCH4U)

  • Relating to the grade 12 Physics - Photon duel properties (with focus on light's particle-like and wave-like behaviour)

​                         Taken from: Revolutions in Modern Physics: Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity (SPH4U0)

I-ENVISION Challenge: 

This option requires you, as contest participants, to interpret an excerpt containing a novel idea or mechanism which is taken from a recent research article or student thesis. Using your imagination, creativity and an animation technology, you will then illustrate the given description in the form of animation or motion picture. 

Topics for I-ENVISION Challenge are as follow: (See green texts)

  • Relating to the grade 12 Biology (SBI4U0) - Biochemistry of Life (with focus on how a selection of biological macromolecules of silicon-based 

​                                                                               forms and interacts with non-polar solvent to support an alternate life form)

         "Any life based on chemistry requires the presence of macromolecules and polymeric chemistry to interact with a versatile environment and a  

         multitude of compounds. It also requires a solvent system that could facilitate chemical reactions and bonding to create biological molecules 

         conducive to life.

            Life on Earth is complex in chemistry. Despite so, only a few of all the available elements participate in most life-supporting reactions: carbon,

         nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. Of these, the most characteristic element of biological systems is carbon. Its ability to

         form the backbone of long-chain polymers and rings in the presence of water, a common Earth solvent, makes carbon central to the chemical

         complexity of living systems.

         Silanes are similarly as versatile as carbon in cryogenic environment and are abundantly found on all rocky planets (e.g. Venus). In the 

         presence of non-polar solvents (e.g. methane), Si - O bonding is known to be extremely strong and readily forms a silicate tetrahedron. These

            tetrahedral can combine into chains, rings, double-chains, sheets and three-dimensional structures. As such, it is conceivable that those

         silicon-based macromolecules are analogous in function to many of the ones currently found on Earth (e.g. lipid bilayers, starch (nutrients),

         messenger proteins, nucleotides, and DNA double helix).

         Organisms in non-polar solvent, however, would have a biochemistry quite different from that of Terran organisms. For example, membranes of 

         Terran organisms, which are submerged in the polar solvent, water, are amphiphilic with their non-polar (hydrophobic) tails oriented towards 

         each other, away from the solvent. If a non-polar solvent could support life, the chemical orientation might be reversed analogous to reverse 

         miscelles, or may consist of multi-layer lipids."

            Reference:  Schulze-Makuch, D., and L.N. Irwin, (2006). The prospect of alien life in exotic forms on other worlds. Naturwissenchaften

​                                            93:155-172.

  • Relating to the grade 12 Chemistry (SCH4U0) - Electrochemistry​ (with focus on how redox-reactions can accelerate corrosion of steel found 

​                                                                                     in dry storage containers for nuclear waste).

​          "Nuclear fuel is a source of electricity which can be generated from a nuclear fission process. After use, this high-level nuclear waste undergoes

          a 10-year decommissioning process that involves water storage to remove heat and radioactivity and then interim storage within dry storage

          containers (DSCs).

             DSCs are 70 tonne, double-walled steel protected by high-density reinforced concrete made from a proportioned mixture of ordinary Portland

          cement (OPC), ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS), iron oxide aggregates and water. The corrosion of steel in concrete can be 

          induced when carbon dioxide ingresses into the concrete matrix and causes depassivation of the steel by decreasing the alkalinity of the 

          micro-environment from pH above 12 to below 9. This occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves in the pore water solution of concrete to form

          carbonic acid, which neutralizes the calcium hydroxide and reacts to form calcium carbonate [See reaction equation A].

                                                               Reaction Equation A:  Depassivation by carbonation


             The breakdown of the steel's passive layer will cause rust formation as lepidocricite (γ-FeOOH). If a reduction in concrete alkalinity occurs, 

          as the iron is being removed by anodic oxidation, the ferrous ions will dissolve into the surrounding pore water solution of the concrete and the 

          steel loses mass, due to its cross-sectional area becoming smaller. The ferrous ions then react with hydroxide ions to form ferrous hydroxide, 

          which reacts with oxygen to ultimately produce lepidocricite [See reaction equation B].  Consequently, micro-cracking develops. If corrosion 

          rate of the steel increases, macro-cracking and concrete cover-cracking will accelerate."

                                                            Reaction Equation B:  Steel corrosion in concrete

           ​Reference: Nadarajah, Parthiban. (2011). Chemistry and Corrosion Mechanisms of Steels Embedded in High-density Slag Concrete for 

                                             Storage of Used Nuclear Fuel. Master's Thesis submitted to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied

​                                             Chemistry, University of Toronto. Retrieved on May 20th, 2013 via T-space Library:



  • ​​Relating to the Grade 12 Earth and Space (SES4U0) and a lesser link to Grade 12 College Physics (SPH4C0): Earth History & Fluid Flow 

​                         (with focus on how early tectonic process operates to create the rocks in the ancient Superior Province of Northern Ontario and

                         compare it to the plate tectonics processes of today)

             "A growing number of researchers feel that the operation of plate tectonics on the early Earth was a vastly different that of today, primarily due 

          to a higher mantle temperature. Global tectonics evolved from predominantly vertical to predominantly horizontal as the earth cools.

          Under early Archean conditions, crustal diaprirism, which is characterised by significant and rapid vertical displacements of mafic volcanic 

          activities, may have been a dominant form of tectonism. Follow-on effects from this process include a greater degree of partial melting of 

          upwelling mantle, a thicker, but softer crust, and a softer, weaker lithosphere (continental crust) due to higher geothermal gradient. Archean 

          tectonic plate spreading rates would have been 2-3 times greater than today's rate, giving rise to a thicker oceanic crust and thinner lithosphere 

          (continental crust). The lithosphere at the time may have been too buoyant to subduct.  In addition, recent modeling suggests that a hot weak 

          lithosphere, even if dense enough to subduct, would easily break off, removing the slab pull force which is a major driver of modern plate 

          tectonics. With the secular decrease in radiogenic and thermal inputs, lithospheric strength increases which eventually impedes crustal turnover 

          and reorganization by diaprirism and allows continents to rise above sea level. The cooling may have also been aided by the formation of 

          granite in the lithosphere. As diaprirism slows down and becomes inefficient at reorganizing the crust, further continental formation and 

          development transition towards horizontal tectonism.

          This process above is felt to explain the creation of the rocks in the ancient Superior Province of Northern Ontario, which are among the oldest 

          continental rocks discovered." 

          Reference:​  Robin, Catherine M.I. (2010). Diapirism on Venus and the Early Earth and The thermal effect of fluid flows in AECL's Tunnel

                                             Sealing Experiment. Doctoral of Philosophy Thesis submitted to the Department of Physics and Geology. University of 

                                             Toronto. Retrieved on May 20th, 2013 via T-space library: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24863​​​

Our science animation contest hosts two types of challenge:*​

* Choose a minimum of one (1) from six topic options below to participate