STEM at Steam

Stem at Steam Banner Image

The Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology is the solution to all of your Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programming needs. All of our programs ensure that your Scouts learn something new, in an exciting, hands-on way. Each of our programs fits well into the Plan-Do-Review method, allowing for Scouts to take charge of their own learning. Prior to the visit, Scouts are able to Plan what they want to learn. Upon arrival, Scouts will Do the program, with the option to do an on-site Review. Once complete, each Scout will receive a Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology crest to remember their visit.

Witness and be delighted by Hamilton’s 150-year-old Waterworks, demonstrating social and mechanical life during Canada’s early industrial revolution. This National Historic Site preserves two 70-ton steam engines, thought to be the oldest surviving Canadian-built engines of their kind. The historic Hamilton Waterworks is a Civil and Power Engineering Landmark.

Here at the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology we are the leading site for STEM programming in the Hamilton area. We are well known for the high quality programming we deliver, and we are excited to team with up with Scouts Canada to offer STEM programming for those on the Canadian Path.




The programs we offer are specifically designed to supplement both the Canadian path and the Ontario School Curriculum, and are sure to be both educational and entertaining. Each program offers an introduction, including a water pumping demonstration and a water quality testing experiment, which is then followed up with the program of choice.

Let us work for you! We offer programs outside of our regular business hours in order to help accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. The cost of each program is $10 per child and supervisors are free. Included in this fee is a two-hour program and a Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology badge. It is possible to book more than one program per visit; the charge is $2.50 for a second program.

Beaver Scouts

The Steam Museum Woodshed has been transformed into a Mad Scientist’s Laboratory! Young folks are invited to take part in our mad science workshop, where they will get to perform some creepy chemistry experiments, including making slime, learn about the freaky physics of steam engines, and take a tour of the 1859 Pumphouse. Mad Scientists-in-Training will also get to create their own lava lamps to take home.

Program Components: Scouts will take part in several hands-on science based activities, where they get a chance to be a mad scientist! This program will involve mixing chemicals and potions to create new, and exciting materials/reactions. Every child will have the opportunity to create their own lava lamp, which they can take home at the end of the program.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

What does a civil engineer do? They work on and design a number of things: roads, traffic systems, water ways, bridges, port and canal systems, and even draw up plans for building structures. In this scenario, everyone can try their hand at civil engineering! Everyone will be grouped into small engineering firms, here in Hamilton. It is each team’s job to see who can build the largest, most impressive skyscraper – one that is able to withstand the impending wind storm. Next, the teams will be challenged to build a bridge that is strong and stable enough to withstand elephants on the move!

Program Components: Students will be introduced to key curriculum components – strong shapes, and forces that act on structures. With this in mind, they will be required to build structures that can withstand the simulated forces. Once they have completed their hands-on activities, they will be treated to a tour of the 1859 Waterworks. The tour will focus on engineering principles and components which ensure the 1859 Pumphouse is a strong, stable structure; as well as highlighting the two 70-tonne steam engines.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

A catapult was a medieval rocket launcher that was used to hurl stones, rocks, and even flaming tar covered rocks at enemies. They were designed to inflict maximum damage to property and people.

In this program, scouts are invited to build their own catapult to help protect the Pumphouse from an incoming attack! Although the museum is not actually under attack, this fun activity gives scouts a fun way to learn about medieval engineering – and provides a quality take-home piece to remember their visit. The home-made catapult won’t be as dangerous as the originals, but are capable of firing a ping-pong ball several meters!

Program Components: This program involves creating a catapult using everyday materials. Scouts are responsible for sanding their wood pieces, and ensuring proper construction of their catapult for optimal flight of their cargo. Once the catapults are complete, everyone will be given the opportunity to put it to the test to try and knock down obstacles.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

A simple machine simplifies a difficult task, making it easier to perform. Using a complex interaction of simple machines - wheels, axles, pulleys, levers and gears – the 1859 Waterworks was able to pump 3.3 million gallons of water to the city ten kilometres away, every day! This program examines simple machines and looks at their interactions together in more complex machines. A hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and a working steam-driven factory model are included to identify and investigate machines in motion.

Program Components: The program includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam factory model, and experiments with machines. Watching the interconnected parts of a steam driven factory, scouts see pistons turning cranks turning wheels on axles; pulleys and belts transferring and changing the directions of force, to drive tools. Scouts use model water pumps to learn the parts of the water supply system, and work together to build model machines out of simpler components to solve a problem. During a tour of the 1859 Waterworks’ engines and pumps, each student uses a lever to move a 22-tonne weight.

Time: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

The effect of changing states of matter – water to steam, molten metal to cast iron – was essential to the operation of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks. Hot liquid iron was poured into sand moulds and cooled to become the cast iron engine parts we see today; cool water was heated up and changed into steam, a gas that expands and powers the engine. Through hands -on science experiments, and by observing the power of steam in action, scouts will identify the different properties of solids, liquids and gases, and explore the changing states of matter.

Program Components: This program involves hands-on science experiments examining the properties of solids, liquids and gases, and how chemical reactions and temperature can change matter from one state to another. Models will be used to demonstrate a live steam-powered factory, and how changing water into a gas transfers energy and force. Finish off with a tour the original steam engines and see them in motion to understand the entire process from casting iron to pumping water.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Cub Scouts

The Steam Museum Woodshed has been transformed into a Mad Scientist’s Laboratory! Young folks are invited to take part in our mad science workshop, where they will get to perform some creepy chemistry experiments, including making slime, learn about the freaky physics of steam engines, and take a tour of the 1859 Pumphouse. Mad Scientists-in-Training will also get to create their own lava lamps to take home.

Program Components: Students will take part in several hands-on science based activities, where they get a chance to be a mad scientist! This program will involve mixing chemicals and potions to create new, and exciting materials/reactions. Every child will have the opportunity to create their own lava lamp, which they can take home at the end of the program.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Since ancient times, engineers have designed  bridges to withstand all the forces of nature. Through discussion, demonstration and experimentation, students will investigate bridge design and the forces that act upon them. The weight the bridges have to carry, the distance they have to span, their height, cost and location are all considerations in bridge design that will be discussed.

Program Components: Students are introduced to five different bridge types and the internal and external forces acting upon them. The roles of struts, ties, keystones, posts, levers and various loads will be discussed. Through demonstrations and a hands-on activity, students will participate in an engineering exercise to test their design skills. An interactive tour of the 1859 Waterworks identifies 19th century design principles and the use of appropriate materials: wood, cast iron, wrought iron, brick and stone.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

What does a civil engineer do? They work on and design a number of things: roads, traffic systems, water ways, bridges, port and canal systems, and even draw up plans for building structures. In this scenario, everyone can try their hand at civil engineering! Everyone will be grouped into small engineering firms, here in Hamilton. It is each team’s job to see who can build the largest, most impressive skyscraper – one that is able to withstand the impending wind storm. Next, the teams will be challenged to build a bridge that is strong and stable enough to withstand elephants on the move!

Program Components: Students will be introduced to key curriculum components – strong shapes, and forces that act on structures. With this in mind, they will be required to build structures that can withstand the simulated forces. Once they have completed their hands-on activities, they will be treated to a tour of the 1859 Waterworks. The tour will focus on engineering principles and components which ensure the 1859 Pumphouse is a strong, stable structure; as well as highlighting the two 70-tonne steam engines.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

A catapult was a medieval rocket launcher that was used to hurl stones, rocks, and even flaming tar covered rocks at enemies. They were designed to inflict maximum damage to property and people.

In this program, students are invited to build their own catapult to help protect the Pumphouse from an incoming attack! Although the museum is not actually under attack, this fun activity gives students a fun way to learn about medieval engineering – and provides a quality take-home piece to remember their visit. The home-made catapult won’t be as dangerous as the originals, but are capable of firing a ping-pong ball about 30 meters!

Program Components: This program involves creating a catapult using everyday materials. Students are responsible for sanding their wood pieces, and ensuring proper construction of their catapult for optimal flight of their cargo. Once the catapults are complete, everyone will be given the opportunity to put it to the test to try and knock down obstacles.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Pulleys and gears are amazing machines! They can help change direction, speed and force and make difficult tasks easier to accomplish. Building the 1859 Waterworks steam engine required the use of pulleys and gears to lift the massive cast iron pieces into place to assemble the engines. A hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam driven factory models are included to identify and investigate powerful pulleys and great gears!

Program Components: The program includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam factory model, and experiments with pulleys and gears. Watching the interconnected parts of a steam driven factory, students see pistons turning cranks turning wheels on axles; pulleys and belts transferring and changing the directions of force, to drive tools. Students will work in groups to build a winch using gears that will allow them to experiment with various pulley systems.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

A simple machine simplifies a difficult task, making it easier to perform. Using a complex interaction of simple machines - wheels, axles, pulleys, levers and gears – the 1859 Waterworks was able to pump 3.3 million gallons of water to the city ten kilometres away, every day! This program examines simple machines and looks at their interactions together in more complex machines. A hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam-driven factory models are included to identify and investigate machines in motion.

Program Components: The program includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of preserved 70-tonne steam engines and working steam factory model, and experiments with machines. Watching the interconnected parts of a steam driven factory, students see pistons turning cranks turning wheels on axles; pulleys and belts transferring and changing the directions of force, to drive tools. Students use model water pumps to learn the parts of the water supply system, and work together to build model machines out of simpler components to solve a problem. During a tour of the 1859 Waterworks’ engines and pumps, each student uses a lever to move a 22-tonne weight.

Time: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

The effect of changing states of matter – water to steam, molten metal to cast iron – was essential to the operation of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks. Hot liquid iron was poured into sand moulds and cooled to become the cast iron engine parts we see today; cool water was heated up and changed into steam, a gas that expands and powers the engine. Through hands -on science experiments, and by observing the power of steam in action, students will identify the different properties of solids, liquids and gases, and explore the changing states of matter.

Program Components: This program involves hands-on science experiments examining the properties of solids, liquids and gases, and how chemical reactions and temperature can change matter from one state to another. Models will be used to demonstrate a live steam-powered factory, and how changing water into a gas transfers energy and force. Students will then tour the original steam engines and see them in motion to understand the entire process from casting iron to pumping water.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Hamilton’s 1859 water pumping station is a rare example of a walking beam steam engine in its original building. By utilizing the power of compressed steam, the station ensured that clean drinking water was available to the citizens of Hamilton for over fifty years. This program explores The Water Cycle and how it works within the natural environment, but also how steam engines work and how steam can be used as a source of power for many purposes.

Program Components: Through a series of experiments, students will investigate stages of the water cycle and learn about examples of each in their own lives and in the environment. The program also includes a hands-on tour and demonstration of a working steam factory model and 70-tonne steam water pumping engines, focusing on how the changing states of water were used as a source of power.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Engineering at the Hamilton Waterworks is simply not possible without mathematics! Basic math skills were used here every single day in order to determine how much water was pumped, how much coal was burnt, and most importantly – how much money people in Hamilton would be charged to receive fresh, clean running water. In this program, skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and money sense will be tested with real-life simulations. Students will have the chance to ‘purchase’ a historic home in Hamilton and all the amenities that go with it, and will estimate their water costs using play money. Students will also tour the 1859 Waterworks, and learn about the many uses of basic math along the way.

Program Components: This program includes a hands-on simulation activity, where students will determine a family budget using play money. Using estimation skills, as well as addition and subtraction, students will be challenged to stay within their budget while ‘purchasing’ a historic house in the Hamilton area, and choosing the water-consuming amenities they want for their home, like bathtubs, livestock, and vegetable gardens. A tour of the 1859 Pumphouse will highlight how citizens in Hamilton were charged for their water consumption, and how basic math skills were essential to operating the Hamilton Waterworks.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Our basic water cycle program is expanded to include water science and problem solving. Students explore over 150 years of water and waste water treatment in Hamilton. The need for clean potable water will be examined as well as the process in which the city obtained it.

Option 1
This program involves a hands-on activity where students will experiment with filtration and how water can be cleaned. Students see changes in urban management from 1859 to present. Through the use of models and a hands-on tour of the 1859 Waterworks, students compare successful water supply systems for the 19th and 20th centuries.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Scouts

The Steam Museum Woodshed has been transformed into a Mad Scientist’s Laboratory! Young folks are invited to take part in our mad science workshop, where they will get to perform some creepy chemistry experiments, including making slime, learn about the freaky physics of steam engines, and take a tour of the 1859 Pumphouse. Mad Scientists-in-Training will also get to create their own lava lamps to take home.

Program Components: Students will take part in several hands-on science based activities, where they get a chance to be a mad scientist! This program will involve mixing chemicals and potions to create new, and exciting materials/reactions. Every child will have the opportunity to create their own lava lamp, which they can take home at the end of the program.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Have you ever dreamed of being a spy, and having a whole range of high-tech gadgets and gismos to call your own? Now you can! In this program, students are given the opportunity to create their own spy grappling-hooks – for getting to those hard-to-reach places, and cyphers – allowing you and friends to write top-secret messages to one another.

Program Components: Using every day and recycled materials, students will build their own grappling hooks and cyphers to take home. Once the hands-on component is complete, students will take a tour of the 1859 Waterworks, highlighting the science and technology involved in operating the two 70-tonne steam engines.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Since ancient times, engineers have designed  bridges to withstand all the forces of nature. Through discussion, demonstration and experimentation, students will investigate bridge design and the forces that act upon them. The weight the bridges have to carry, the distance they have to span, their height, cost and location are all considerations in bridge design that will be discussed.

Program Components: Students are introduced to five different bridge types and the internal and external forces acting upon them. The roles of struts, ties, keystones, posts, levers and various loads will be discussed. Through demonstrations and a hands-on activity, students will participate in an engineering exercise to test their design skills. An interactive tour of the 1859 Waterworks identifies 19th century design principles and the use of appropriate materials: wood, cast iron, wrought iron, brick and stone.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

What does a civil engineer do? They work on and design a number of things: roads, traffic systems, water ways, bridges, port and canal systems, and even draw up plans for building structures. In this scenario, everyone can try their hand at civil engineering! Everyone will be grouped into small engineering firms, here in Hamilton. It is each team’s job to see who can build the largest, most impressive skyscraper – one that is able to withstand the impending wind storm. Next, the teams will be challenged to build a bridge that is strong and stable enough to withstand elephants on the move!

Program Components: Students will be introduced to key curriculum components – strong shapes, and forces that act on structures. With this in mind, they will be required to build structures that can withstand the simulated forces. Once they have completed their hands-on activities, they will be treated to a tour of the 1859 Waterworks. The tour will focus on engineering principles and components which ensure the 1859 Pumphouse is a strong, stable structure; as well as highlighting the two 70-tonne steam engines.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

The construction of the Hamilton Waterworks in 1859 brought new opportunities for immigrants from all over the world. Unfortunately, not all immigrants were treated equally by the 1910 Canadian Immigration Act. In this program, students will take on the roles of families trying to immigrate to Canada, and will learn how Canada’s historical requirements for citizenship affected people with diverse abilities, cultures, and backgrounds.

Program Components: By using artifacts, documents, and the historical inquiry process, students will create profiles of people from various countries and cultures who were attempting to immigrate to Canada. They will then identify the push and pull factors that would influence these people to move. Using primary sources including the 1910 Canadian Immigration Act, students will determine whether these families would be granted citizenship – or if prejudice may have kept them from entering Canada.  A tour of the 1859 Waterworks will focus on the working conditions faced by some immigrants to Canada, and on the role immigration played in the development of Canadian industry.  

Time: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

The effect of changing states of matter – water to steam, molten metal to cast iron – was essential to the operation of the 1859 Hamilton Waterworks. Hot liquid iron was poured into sand moulds and cooled to become the cast iron engine parts we see today; cool water was heated up and changed into steam, a gas that expands and powers the engine. Through hands -on science experiments, and by observing the power of steam in action, students will identify the different properties of solids, liquids and gases, and explore the changing states of matter.

Program Components: This program involves hands-on science experiments examining the properties of solids, liquids and gases, and how chemical reactions and temperature can change matter from one state to another. Models will be used to demonstrate a live steam-powered factory, and how changing water into a gas transfers energy and force. Students will then tour the original steam engines and see them in motion to understand the entire process from casting iron to pumping water.

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Our basic water cycle program is expanded to include water science and problem solving. Students explore over 150 years of water and waste water treatment in Hamilton. The need for clean potable water will be examined as well as the process in which the city obtained it.

Option 1
This program involves a hands-on activity where students will experiment with filtration and how water can be cleaned. Students see changes in urban management from 1859 to present. Through the use of models and a hands-on tour of the 1859 Waterworks, students compare successful water supply systems for the 19th and 20th centuries.

Option 2
Students will investigate the systems that pumped water to Hamilton over 150 years ago, and also discuss the changes that have occurred since then. A guided tour of the 1859 Waterworks examines how these 45- foot steam engines were built and assembled in the 1850s and how these engines worked to pump water. Students will then problem solve with a series of materials to create a system in action that will pump water today.

Option 1 or 2:

Duration: 2 hours
Cost: $10.00 per Scout

Option 1 & 2 combined:

Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: $12.00 per Scout