Bringing science to life

By on August 28, 2013

BLUEBERRY RIVER FIRST NATIONS – Each year a science camp travels to remote communities to engage children and youth with fun science experiments.

The week-long camp is called Science Alive and it took place in the Blueberry River First Nations School’s gym from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23.

“We just try to make science available for all youth regardless of where they are from, their age, gender and race,” said Raven Haan, Science Alive director and camp coordinator.

Science Alive is a program run by undergraduates from Simon Fraser University. One of its goals is to make science education accessible throughout B.C.

“Some areas are a little more remote than others, they don’t have much opportunity to participate in our science camp, so we come to them,” explained Haan.

The camp has been coming to Blueberry River First Nations for a number of years. Its instructors also visit areas like Haida Gwaii, McLeod Lake and Moberly.

“[We’re here] to deliver a week of free science camp to each community, just to make sure that [the kids] can come and see science and see different science activities if they want. Even if they are not interested in science it’s trying to make them more comfortable with [it],” said Haan.

On the second day of the camp, there were approximately 20 kids who participated, the day before there were eight.

“[We want them to know that] science isn’t scary or boring, there are lots of cool things to do with [it].”

From making tie-dye patterns on shirts using rubbing alcohol, to constructing a fan made out of foam, a tube, a couple of wires, a battery and a small motor, to understanding how the human body can power a light stick, the kids appeared to be fully engaged and curious about the new experiments they were learning.

The camp provides the kids with an opportunity to explore science and see if it’s an area they would continue to pursue in high school or university.

“[We want] to make sure they don’t think it’s all just math or studying out of a book, that science can be something hands on and it’s incorporated in everyday life things,” said Haan.

Children had the option to participate in activities that interested them, so they didn’t feel pressured to stay.

“We’re not trying to force anyone to become a scientist but we’re trying to make science more fun and easy,” she said.

Haan just finished her degree in biomedical physiology at SFU, she was joined by Ahla Rezaei, a health sciences undergraduate from SFU.

Science Alive is a member of Actua, a charity organization that delivers science, engineering, technology and mathematics to youth aged six to 16. Suncor Energy Foundation supported the camp.

Kyla Corpuz

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