May 8, 2018
Eureka! Cybermentor STEAM is about rediscovering love of science and engineering
As scientific discoveries go, this is one Canada is working hard to avoid.
Specifically, grade school students who gradually discover the fun and sense of wonder is gone from science – and instead of a class most students look forward to, science becomes a lesson in difficult, drudging theory.
“When you ask a kid in Grade 6 or a lower grade what their favourite subject is, most of them will say science,” explains Alison Barrett.
“Something happens in Grade 7 and Grade 8 where those numbers decreased and suddenly they’re no longer interested in science or math.”
Getting youth excited again about discovery
Barrett is the program coordinator for Cybermentor, a Schulich School of Engineering based program that aims to get young people excited about science, engineering, math and discovery in general.
“We’re hoping by doing hands on activities, where they can get excited about science and the real world importance of learning these concepts, we can get more kids interested in science and engineering,” says Barrett.
On May 12, Science Rendezvous day in Canada, the Schulich School of Engineering will host Cybermentor STEAM, offering youth aged 11 to 18 a chance to experience hands-on activities such as virtual reality, computer programming, stop-motion animation, and slime/non-newtonian fluids.
Part of Science Odyssey Week
The 1 - 4 p.m. event is part Science Odyssey Week, a national celebration of science, technology, engineering and math powered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, all aimed at getting Canadians of all ages interested and involved in the thrill of discovery.
Starting with Science Rendezvous (the kick-off to Science Odyssey) Canadians can take part in fun and inspiring experiences in museums, research centres, laboratories and classrooms from coast to coast.
Including Cybermentor STEAM, there are over 300 exhibits taking place on May 12 across the country, and over 800 events taking place coast-to-coast throughout the ten day festival.
Goal is inclusion and diversity
The goal isn’t just getting some young Canadians interested – it’s getting all young Canadians interested, to help produce researchers of every gender and background.
Professor Qiao Sun says encouraging diversity in fields like engineering is the key to getting the best range of potential solutions to a given problem.
“Diversity is crucial to creativity and engineering is field of creativity,” says Sun, associate dean of diversity & equity at Schulich.
“It’s social responsibility to include everybody’s voice and opinion, and if something like engineering doesn’t have that balance, we need to correct that.”