Rates: $300 for one session, $550 for two, $750 for three, and $900 for four (plus HST). No travel charges within the GTA.
Virtual Visits: $150.00 + HST for one hour.
Age range: Grades 2 to 8 for Germy Science, Grades 6 to 12 for Comedy workshop.
- Red Cedar Award nominations x 2 (Stinky Science, current nominee, Germy Science)
- Hackmatack Award 2022/23 current nominee for Germy Science
- Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Winner (Stinky Science) 2019 – Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
- Japan Prize for Excellence in Educational Television (two nominations)
- Canadian Screen Awards (three wins for best comedy writing, three nominations)
- Canadian Comedy Awards (three wins for best comedy writing)
As an award-winning comedy writer with a passion for science, I love making STEM fun and showing kids how it’s a very relevant part of their everyday lives. One of my career highlights was being chosen from an international field of writers to work with renowned physicist Stephen Hawking to adapt his George’s Secret Key to the Universe novels as an animated kids’ television series. I am currently collaborating with NASA scientist Kennda Lynch on developing a new kids’ science show for broadcasters in the United States. I also created, produced and wrote the award-winning television science series for grade-school children, Finding Stuff Out for TVO and Discovery.
“Gross Science” School Presentation:
My “Gross Science” school presentation is based on my series of the same name for Kids Can Press, consisting of three books: Stinky Science, Germy Science and Poopy Science. They are currently being adapted for television by Shaftesbury Films (Hudson & Rex, Murdoch Mysteries), so animated clips are available to show. It is a lively, hands-on presentation that includes a visit from a Venetian Plague Doctor in full costume (me, seen below taking the stage at the Toronto International Festival of Authors, 2022).
Students will learn fun and amazing things, such as:
- There are more germs on their thumbs than there are people in all of Canada.
- This tiny dot . can hold more germs than the Rogers Centre can hold people!
- Most germs are harmless and many help keep us safe and healthy by helping us digest our food, making oxygen that we breathe, and killing the bad germs that make us sick.
- How vaccinations work, and that the first known immunization was done in ancient China, by blowing powdered smallpox scabs up your nose! (gross, but it worked!)
- Bad breath and body odour are actually made by germs, not us.
- Stinky feet and stinky cheese smell the same because they have the same microbes!
- The amazing reason why some things smell good to us and others smell bad!
- Animals that use stinky smells as a defense.
- That girls’ sense of smell is better than boys’.
- That artificial flavorings were once made from beaver butt secretions! And whale poop was used in ice cream!
- That some of the shooting stars we see at night are actually astronaut poop from the International Space Station burning up in the atmosphere.
- That our bodies help keep us healthy by making a cup of snot per day!
- Reproductions of what Ancient Romans used to clean their teeth and wipe their butts with (note: these are two different objects!)
- Simulated spider poop to show how tiny it can be.
- A model of the largest human feces ever discovered (it was from a Viking, but don’t worry, my reproduction smells like Oh Henry bars!)
- Sneak previews of the animated television adaptation of my Gross Science books.
- Illustrations from the book shown on a video monitor (optional).
- Simulated dinosaur poop to show how paleontologists and other researchers learn about an animal’s diet, environment, and health.
Kids will learn practical things (but in fun ways!), such as that the reason they should brush and floss their teeth isn’t so that their dentist won’t nag them but because microbes are constantly pooping acid into their mouths, which rots their teeth! Or why they shouldn’t pick their noses because fingernails make tiny scratches through which germs can get into their bodies! There is lots of audience participation to keep things lively, as well as sneak previews of the animated series based on the books.
“How to Be Funny” Comedy Writing Workshop:
My science writing is closely tied to my comedy writing. There is a growing body of data-driven research proving that humour helps us stay healthy, cope with stress, build relationships, communicate and retain information more effectively, and be more successful in life. With that in mind, I also offer a workshop entitled, “How to be Funny“. Although the orientation is on comedy, my workshop is also useful for teaching students writing techniques that apply to all situations, as well as creative problem-solving skills that can be applied in many areas of their lives. The presentation is highly interactive. Students will learn what makes a picture, story or joke funny as well as specific exercises and techniques to find funny things to write about, create funny characters, learn how to play with language and ideas to create jokes with setups and punchlines, and how to create stories with comedic arcs and callbacks.
Maximum number of students per presentation: 100 (35 for comedy writing workshops)
I am comfortable presenting in: classroom, library, auditorium.
Equipment and other requirements:
For Gross Science, ideally I would like to have either a video monitor and DVD player or a video monitor and computer with a Wi-Fi link to play back a 30-second musical introduction and several two-minute clips from the Gross Science television series, as well as show illustrations from the books. However, if for any reason your school does not have this equipment, it’s not a deal breaker. There is still lots of great show and tell, and lots of fun interactivity for students. For younger students, drawing materials are highly recommended, as I find that encouraging kids to draw some of the things that we are discussing – germs, poop, dinosaurs, etc. – is a great way to keep them engaged.
For the How To Be Funny comedy writing workshop, I require a blackboard and chalk or dry erase board and markers, as well as a DVD player and television for showing some age-appropriate comedy writing in completed form, drawn from my television shows. Students will require writing and drawing materials.
I request that a librarian, teacher or other school representative be in attendance throughout the presentation.
Biography: Edward was a staff writer and producer on the hit political satire series, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, during its four most successful seasons and was a contributor to Rick Mercer’s Talking to Americans. Since then, he has gone on to create three hit television series for kids, including Jimmy Two Shoes (Teletoon, Disney) and the comedy inflected science series, Finding Stuff Out (TVO). He is the author of three middle grade novels as well as four non-fiction science books for kids, including the Gross Science series, and, as co-author, Indigenous Ingenuity: A Celebration of Traditional North American Knowledge (to be released in May 2023). Edward enjoys reading and performing in front of audiences, and has appeared at Toronto’s Word On The Street literary festival and the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and been a guest speaker at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.
Contact Edward Kay: