Class touring CLS through our LiSSE Education Program Class meeting a CLS Staff member and hearing about their careerHigh School Student placing samples in the IDEAS Beamline
Choose a topic, carry out an investigation, and engage with the CLS
to take part in your own scientific inquiry!

The Light Source Student Experience (LiSSE) is an engaging opportunity for high school students to experience a scientific investigation of everyday science that is connected to curriculum.

Contact Us if Interested in Registering
for the Remaining School Year

Registration is OPEN to all teachers across Canada!
*Flexible scheduling options are available*

NSERC provides funding for our CLS Education Programs

Funding for busing/transportation is available.
We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience to make this possible.

Important Things to Consider

There are two types of LiSSE's that are offered, Beam LiSSE and Problem-Based LiSSE.

Beam LiSSE is only offered when there is beam available at the CLS (typically in the late fall and early spring. but subject to change). It is designed for a class to do their own investigation and conduct their experiment on the IDEAS beamline while visiting the CLS. See the Beam LiSSE tab above to learn more about this option.

  • Students must be 14 years of age or older to participate
  • Maximum of 36 people (this includes students, educators, and supervisors)
  • Resources are provided to give context to students for the topic chosen
  • Safety Training must be completed before visiting CLS
  • Samples are to be collected and brought to the CLS

Problem-Based LiSSE is offered through out the year regardless if there is beam or not. It is designed for a class to investigate different aspects of science and include more of a problem-based inquiry. The class would complete their problem-based inquiry while visiting the CLS or virtually if that option is chosen. See the Problem-Based LiSSE tab above to learn more about this option.

  • Students should be 14 years of age or older to participate
  • Maximum of 36 people (this does not apply if in a virtual setting)
  • Resources are provided to give context to students for the topic chosen
Career connections are available with each of the LiSSE topics!

At a national science facility such as the CLS, there are various jobs that are needed to ensure it runs properly. Students get an opportunity to hear from CLS staff about their educational background, how they got to CLS, and what they do at the CLS.

How to Register

Before registering for LiSSE, make sure to do the following:

  • Pick a Topic
    Go over the Beam LiSSE and Problem-Based LiSSE topics and pick the one that best suits the learning outcomes for your students.
  • Pick a Date
    LiSSE dates are flexible and we are open to work with you. Certain topics that require beam are more restrictive, but most topics are not. When you register, give us a time frame (ex. Tuesdays or Thursdays from 1-2pm CST or Mon-Fri mornings, etc.) that works for you and we will get back to you about availability. You can also always contact us for more information.

    For virtual LiSSEs we offer flexible scheduling to fit educator's schedules. For example:


    3 Consecutive Hours (1/2 Day) 2 X 1.5 Hour Sessions 3 X 1 Hour Sessions 4 X <1 Hour Sessions


    If none of the above options work for your class, Contact Us and we will work with you and figure out a way for your class to participate in a LiSSE.

At this time, please reach out to us if you are interested in registering for a LiSSE for the remaining 2020/2021 school year. To officially sign up for LiSSE, clicking on the registration button to take you to the registration form. When you submit the form, we will contact you as soon as we can to confirm your topic, dates, and provide more information regarding your selection.



Beam LiSSE can be done in real time by mailing in samples to CLS before your scheduled time and we will connect with your class virtually during the beam session.

Beam LiSSE gives students an opportunity to get a sense of scientific research by picking a topic to investigate and developing a scientific question. Students then complete safety training to come to the CLS, collect and prepare their samples and conduct their experiment! Beam LiSSE is only available when there is beam.

*Students collect and prepare their own samples according to instructions to get insight into relative concentrations of elements: K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Se, & Br.*

Students prepping their samples in the IDEAS Beamline High School students meeting CLS staff members and hearing about their careersHigh School students conducting their own research at CLS via our LiSSE Education Program


Soil Science

Different elemental compositions will be present in different types of soils: riverbank, forest, agricultural land, pasture, inner-city, backyard etc. There are also many variables that can impact soil such as the soil's proximity to industrial processing, water treatment output, agricultural run-off etc. as well as the organization of the soil such as its horizon, ecozone and more. Students pose a question about soil and collect related samples that are relevant to their community.

Potential Scientific Questions

  • How does chemistry change between each soil horizon from the same ecozone?
  • How might chemical composition of soils differ based on the ecozone from which they were collected?
  • How does exposure to human activity affect the chemistry of soil?
Food Science

Whether comparing apples to oranges or studying different parts of a banana, nutrients tell a story. Each fruit and vegetable has a different chemical composition that indicates which micronutrients are available. Samples can also be compared to vitamins or supplements to see how the nutrients have changed.

Potential Scientific Questions

  • How might the micronutrients and related chemistry of locally grown fruits or vegetables compare to the chemistry of vitamin supplements?
  • How might the chemical composition differ of vegetables grown in different soils?
Crop Science

There are many different possibilities available when comparing the same species of crops or of different species of crops. The location, environmental conditions, soil and more, could all impact the elemental composition and relative concentrations of elements of the crop.

Agriculture in the Classroom provides a Saskatchewan Seed Kit that has 13 seed samples of Saskatchewan's most commonly grown crops. Their kit also comes with activities and lesson plans which could be used to enhance student learning in designing an experiment for the LiSSE program.

Potential Scientific Questions

  • How might the nutrients and the related chemistry of a crop seed compare between food crops, feed crops, fiber crops, and oil crops?
  • How might the geographical location and different environmental conditions impact the chemical composition of crop seeds?

Problem-Based LiSSE is a problem-based activity that gives students an opportunity to look deeper in what goes on in a scientific research facility like the CLS.

If you are unable to bring your students to the CLS facility, the Problem-Based LiSSE topics can be delivered virtually.

High School Students investigating Science Problems relating to Society in a Problem-Based LiSSE High School Students on tour at CLSHigh School Students hearing from CLS staff members about their careers


Soil Interpretation on IDEAS

Students will investigate the differences in soil from across Canada by engaging in a problem-based learning experience using soil data and information. Students will work through data to figure out what the mystery soil samples are and where these samples could have been collected from as they learn how to read X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) data and analyze the chemical composition of various types of soils.

Science and Society

Ever wonder what it is like to get funding for research? Who makes the decisions on what is investigated in Canada? In this option, students are either elected on the board which decides where funding is allocated or they are scientists advocating for funding for an experiment and the infrastructure to conduct it. Different scenarios such as a new government in power, environmental disasters, or sudden medical breakthroughs will be introduced to the students which will sway their decisions and give a unique perspective on the day-to-day life of a scientist.

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Events Notifications

If you’re looking for information on how you can use CLS techniques in your research program, please contact us using this form.

Example queries may include: Feasibility around a potential experiment? A scientific problem we can help you solve? Is your question related to a specific technique? Do you want to know more about how to apply for beamtime?