University of Calgary

Science on the move: Minds in Motion embarks on outreach program

UToday HomeMay 23, 2013

By Nikki Reimer

Grade 5 students study wetland ecosystems in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Photo courtesy Minds in MotionGrade 5 students study wetland ecosystems in Fish Creek Provincial Park. Photo courtesy Minds in Motion“This is the best science day ever!”

Minds in Motion is a non-profit, student-led organization co-hosted by the Faculty of Science and Schulich School of Engineering. Enthusiastic endorsements are a typical outcome of their programming.

Minds in Motion has offered camps and workshops in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education since 1999. This year they plan to bring free STEM workshops to a number of Calgary schools in underprivileged communities beginning on May 21.

Director Erin Peddle described the strategy for selecting the schools. “We have chosen schools that rank low on the Fraser Institute’s School Ranking List for Alberta; schools that include high percentages of immigrant students and students with disabilities.”

Peddle further explained that funding for these schools must first be earmarked towards breakfast and after-school care programs, leaving science enrichment out of reach. This is why Minds in Motion is so important for students who might not otherwise have access to enrichment programs.

“We offer a variety of one-hour workshops where kids can get their hands dirty while completing challenges and activities that get their scientific literacy juices flowing.”

A total of 2,292 students participated in Minds in Motion’s workshops in 2012 — 50 per cent of them girls. Minds in Motion expects to introduce a rich appreciation of STEM subjects to an equivalent number of students in their 2013 workshop season. In the words of one third-grade participant from last year, “I used to really like science, now I’m in love with it!”

For more information on Minds in Motion, visit http://www.ucalgary.ca/mindsinmotion/ or contact Erin Peddle at ecpeddle@ucalgary.ca.

 

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