If you didn’t know what was going on, you’d think a pop concert was taking place, complete with cheering kids with shout-out posters, volunteers running up and down the aisles and everyone’s focus trained on the stage.
But this wasn’t a concert and the signs didn’t read “Justin Bieber 4ever!” Instead, it was the All Science Challenge held at the McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building on Friday.
The day-long competition involved more than 150 Grade 6, 7 and 8 students from 12 schools in Halifax. The volunteers were Dalhousie science students in various areas of study and the judges were Dalhousie science and engineering professors. The event began in the morning where teams of students competed in quiz-style competitions that tested their knowledge in biology, chemistry and other science-related subjects. Then they moved to a hands-on competition that required them to build a device using a variety of materials to protect an egg from breaking when dropped from one, two and three metres. The top team moved on to the finals in the afternoon.
“It’s an exciting and interactive day. We wanted to create an event that shines a positive light on science education and we wanted everyone to have fun and learn at least one new thing,” says Joyce Li, one of the Let’s Talk Science coordinators. “Hopefully, the kids will walk away from the event proud of themselves, and with a positive attitude toward science, learning and Dalhousie University.”
It was obvious by the cheering coming from the auditorium at the McCain Building that everyone was having fun. “I’m having a great time so far. My teacher asked me if I wanted to participate and I thought it would be a cool experience. It’s awesome!” says Cara, a Grade 8 student from Caledonia Junior High School.
“Everyone seems to be having a great time. All the students are participating whether they know the answers or not. It’s a lot of fun to be here!” says Marie-Laurence Tremblay, a Dalhousie PhD student in biochemistry who volunteered for the event.
The All Science Challenge was developed in 2004 and is part of the national Let’s Talk Science outreach program that aims to inspire next generation scientists through fun, hands-on learning initiatives. What began as a response to the community need for science outreach blossomed into a nationwide volunteer-driven outreach program that connects more than 2,600 students from 33 universities and colleges with more than 120,000 youth in 200 communities across Canada.
The All Science Challenge was hosted by Dalhousie University science students and funded by the Faculty of Science and others.
LINK: Let's Talk Science
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