Science-Kids On Campus Background
In early 2008 a pilot program called Eco-Kids on Campus was initiated. This involved the visit of a combined grade 5-6 classroom from a local inner-city school to the University once a week for about four hours, over the course of 10 weeks. While on campus the students did various science activities, related to their curriculum, which were taught by a combination of University faculty and students. The program was extremely successful, and word-of-mouth led to a demand from numerous other schools in the inner-city area to offer the program to them.In 2014 the program evolved into Science-Kids on Campus.
The program consists of four parts1. An introductory evening for students, parents, and teachers in which the outline and goals of the program are described. As well as being a social occasion, this event aims to get parents, grandparents, and caregivers involved in the program from the beginning, so that they can reinforce the goals of the activities at home.
2. A field trip to a local attraction such as the Manitoba Children's Museum, Oak Hammock Marsh, or Fort Whyte Center takes place. The venue chosen is fun for children, as well as having an educational / scientific component.
3. Over the 10 weeks the students visit the University campus, where faculty and students lead them in a variety of science activities. The particular activities are chosen in consultation with the teachers and tied to the curriculum. In this way the concepts learned in the campus activities will be reinforced at school, helping to make the material more dynamic and relevant to the students. The advantage of having the same students visit over such an extended period of time is that concepts in science can be explored at a deeper level.
4. At the end of the program a “graduation ceremony” is held, followed by an informal reception. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited. This provides an opportunity for sharing some of the experience the students have enjoyed over the previous weeks.
The activities the students do on campus are tied to the curriculum. As such, they will vary from year-to-year. The people involved with science outreach at The University of Winnipeg have a broad background of delivering such activities at an age-appropriate level in an interactive, hands-on manner in a fun atmosphere. Some examples of activities used in the past include:
- Forensic science, such as fingerprinting and blood typing
- Constructing simple electrical circuits
- Examining interesting bugs, plants, animals, and fish
- Learning about parts of the human body from various models
- Exploring properties of air and liquid flow, such as in aerodynamics
- Making simple mechanical machines