For the first time in its 10 year history, an education outreach program spearheaded by Memorial University students travelled to parts of Labrador to encourage young students to embrace the importance of science.
From May 6-12, a pair of senior students from Memorial’s St. John’s campus visited five schools in five days, bringing their passion for science into classrooms in Sheshatshiu, North West River and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
It was all part of a unique national outreach initiative known as the Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program. It strives to improve science literacy through leadership, innovative educational programs, research and advocacy. The program partners educators with post-secondary science students who conduct hands-on science activities with junior and high school students across Canada.
Steve Penney, a master’s student from Memorial’s School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, as well as Cheryl Staubitzer, an honours student in the Department of Biochemistry, conducted interactive science activities with students in grades kindergarten to 12. The duo designed unique presentations which will appeal to the students and teachers.
Mr. Penney and Ms. Staubitzer are co-ordinators for Memorial’s Partnership Program along with Shannon Obradovich, who is completing her master of science degree in biology with the Fisheries Conservation Group at Memorial.
The goal of the trip was simple: organizers wanted to engage and encourage young minds to appreciate all aspects of science.
“Students have so many ideas and I think our program challenges them to try and see things from a different perspective and that science is all around us,” said Mr. Penney. “Personally, I would like the students to know that science is a fun and lively subject and that it encompasses everyday life. It doesn’t have to be boring or stuffy.
“This program helps expose students to science. We talk to students depending on their grade levels in a way that they grasp the subject. As a future teacher, I value the opportunity to get into the classroom and roll-up my sleeves and interact with the students.”
This is the 10th anniversary of the Let’s Talk Science Partnership Program at Memorial. Over the years, volunteer students from the university have been trained to go into classrooms to work with teachers and students while providing innovative hands-on science activities. In recent years organizers have visited schools throughout the island portion of the province, including Botwood, Heart’s Delight, Arnold’s Cove, Bay Roberts and St. John’s.
This year, however, was the first time organizers had enough funding to travel to Labrador.