*Due to the Pandemic, only virtual LiSSEs are available at this time*

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


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 scientific research on everyday items, while connecting to classroom curriculum. LiSSEs are typically offered in a morning or afternoon session (we have virtual options available) and teachers have the option of selecting a Beam LiSSE or a Problem-Based LiSSE. There are various topics to choose from within each type of LiSSE as well as certain requirements, depending on the type selected. 

High School or Middle Years

Flexible Timeframes

Virtual and/or On-site

With both opportunities, classes also have the opportunity to tour the facility and connect with staff members to hear about the various careers at CLS, along with pariticipaing in their scientific investigation. We also have made lessons and resources to aid educators in providing background knowledge to students before they take on an investigation.

Funding is available for busing/transporation for in-person and we do offer virtual options as well.

NSERC (logo in image) supports Student Programs and travel with the CLS Education Team.
The Canadian Light Source is proud to offer the LiSSE Program and we acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience to make this possible.

Beam LiSSE

Beam LiSSE gives students an opportunity to get a sense of scientific research by picking a topic to investigate and developing a scientific question. A 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). Select this option in the Registration Form and the Education Team will follow up with you, letting you know when beam would be possible for this LiSSE. Weeks of planning ahead of time is required.

Important things to consider:

  • Students must be 14 years of age or older to participate
  • Maximum of 36 people (this includes students, educators, and supervisors; this does not apply if in virtual setting)
  • Resources are provided to give context to students for the topic chosen
  • Safety Training must be completed before visiting CLS (this does not apply if in virtual setting)
  • Samples are to be collected* and brought to the CLS

*Students collect and prepare their own samples according to instructions to get insight into relative concentrations of elements of the first row of transition metals on the periodic table.

Virtual options: 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 Topics:

High school students preparing soil samples in IDEAS for their soil research with LiSSE.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?

Fruit and vegetable samples in the IDEAS beamline, being studied in a food science student experiment at CLS.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?

High school students deciding which crops to study in their hands-on science experiment at CLS.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

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. It is designed for a class to investigate different aspects of science and include more of a problem-based inquiry. A Problem-Based LiSSE is offered through out the year regardless if there is beam or not and can be offered virtually.

Important things to consider:

  • Students should be 14 years of age or older to participate but we do consider middle years students as well
  • 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

Problem-Based LiSSE Topics:

Indigenous students studying soil samples in a LiSSE at CLS.Students will investigate the differences in soil types collected on and around a Canadian Farm 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.
Virtual LiSSE session, hosted by CLS, exploring soil characteristics with soil samples and research from across Canada.Students will investigate the differences in soil collected from various physiographic regions across Canada by engaging in a problem-based learning experience using soil data and location information. Students will learn about soil charateristics, make observations of the soil, and work through data to understand the similarities and differences in Canadian soil. This is done as they learn how to read X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) data, understand IDEAS beamline parameters, and analyze the chemical composition of the collected soils.
High school students exploring a problem-based learning situation on science and society questions at the CLS.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.

How to Register

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

Go over the Beam LiSSE and Problem-Based LiSSE topics and pick the one that best suits the learning outcomes for your students.

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. Due to the pandemic, we can only offer virtual connections at this time (we can still conduct the experiment live). 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 educators' 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.

Once you have an idea of what you would like, we ask that you please complete our 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. If you are still unsure or have questions please contact the Education Team and we would be happy to work with you to find something suitable for your class.