Celebrating STEAM with Science Odyssey 2022

Written by Pooja Moorti, ms infinity Coordinator

Every year in May, hundreds of science outreach leaders deliver fun, engaging and inspiring activities to Canadians of all ages — including SCWIST’s Youth Engagement department!

The cause is NSERC’s Science Odyssey, a national campaign that celebrates Canadian achievements in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEM).

The SCWIST team had multiple events running under two themes: STEAM Workshops full of exciting experiments for middle school and younger students and Under the Radar workshops that highlighted STEM careers that students may not have considered (or even heard of!) for high school and older students.

From May 7-22nd, our team led experiments and workshops for students across the country – from Oobleck, LED Cards, and Lava Lamps to exploring the careers of Sound Engineering and Web Game Development.

Offering a variety of workshops and experiences

Each of the workshops was created from scratch by the Youth Engagement team, who knew they needed to be both educational and entertaining for the students.

The STEAM Workshop experiments combined arts with STEM to explore many different topics and create unique experiences.

In the first week, the students experimented with Oobleck, Strawberry DNA and Periscopes. In the Oobleck workshop, students explored non-Newtonian fluids and the different states of matter. In the Strawberry DNA workshop, students inspected the structures of DNA and its related function as the code of life. In the Periscope workshop, the students built a periscope and learned about the law of reflection and its applications.

During week two, the students looked at LED Cards, Roll and Flip Books and Lava Lamps. The LED Cards helped students understand simple circuits while creating a beautiful card. The Roll and Flip Books taught about the anatomy of the eye and how the brain processes images and specifically animation. Finally, the Lava Lamps taught students about the densities of liquids, acids and bases.

Workshops for high school and older students

The Youth Engagement team decided that they would also like to build workshops for high school students and older. In particular, they focused on those who are looking into careers that go beyond the scope of what is usually considered in STEM. The culmination of those efforts led to the Under the Radar workshops!

In the first week, Maryam Leclerc facilitated the Psychology of Sound workshop. Evan Burman then led the complimentary Sound Engineering workshop. Students learnt how sounds are processed and how to use DAW software to start their sound engineering journey.

In the second week, students learned about Web Game Development in a workshop facilitated by Candy Lin, while actively learning how to code a beginner’s web game.

Reaching students and teachers all across the country

By offering these workshops live and virtually, SCWIST was able to reach students and teachers all across the country. Recordings were sent out after to accommodate for COVID and accessibility.

Excitingly, we also were able to offer quite a few in-person workshops in British Columbia!

We received great feedback following the workshops!

Many participants offered praise about the events, saying that they were very informative, educational, and engaging, particularly the STEAM Workshops. After the Under the Radar workshops, one participant said that they appreciated that, “everyone could learn something from the events despite their knowledge level.”

These workshops would not have been possible without our wonderful presenters: Jackie Ipina, Ganna Vaschenko, Gouri Deshpande, Evan Burman, and Candy Lin, as well as our patient moderators: Natasha Birdi, Smilla Colombini, Brittany Pequegnat, and Marie Wood.

Among these amazing volunteers, SCWIST would also like to highlight Alexis Kuo, one of our Youth Leadership Scholarship awardees, who used her knowledge and experience in building a very impressive phenakistoscope and lead multiple phenakistoscope workshops for 40 Grade 6 students at her school.

Finally, these workshops were a great success thanks to Maryam Leclerc, ms infinity Quebec Coordinator, JeAnn Watson, Director of Youth Engagement and Anju Bhajaj, Manitoba Chapter Lead.

Thank you to all of the teachers and students for attending this year’s Science Odyssey.

Look out for more from our Youth Engagement team from September 19-25 – they will be offering more workshops for NSERC Science Literacy Week!