Yvan loved science from an early age and always wanted to be a science teacher. That love of science also motivated him to collect many rare or important items from scientific history, which eventually he put to public use in 2009 by converting his classroom into a science museum. The benefits of this have stretched far beyond his own school and pupils. Since 2011, several hundred elementary schools visit his science museum every year, and the exhibition is curated by science students at Yvan’s school (under teacher supervision).
Yvan’s teaching uses historic scientific objects to convey basic concepts: for instance, in preparing chemical solutions he gets his students to build a Daguerreotype camera for which students then prepare the developing fluid. This approach has given his students a huge boost and they have entered a number of national science competitions under his guidance. In 2013 they won first prize in the Sur-la-toile Experience, and many have gone on to academic scientific programs. He has also worked jointly with Amnesty International and his school to produce Amnesty videos. In 2016, Yvan received the Canadian Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
If awarded the prize, Yvan would prefer to split the funds between himself and the other nine finalists. This means 10 teachers in 10 countries would each have $100,000 towards their own projects and also perhaps to form international projects and travel exchanges. In Canada, he would like to start a large mini-greenhouse project in 45 primary schools, as an introduction to entrepreneurship and sustainable science.