Museum event promotes science, technology
It was all about getting your hands dirty at the The Exploration Place as children and adults discovered free STEAM on Saturday.
That’s science, technology, engineering, art + design and mathematics for those of you who want to be in the know about the coolest things.
John Adams brought grandsons Fletcher, 9, and Harrison, 6, to the museum to check out the Terry Fox exhibit called Running to the Heart of Canada, and happened upon STEAM Learning Ecosystems in the foyer.
Harrison had just come from checking out the miniature bridges with Adams, while Fletcher was wrist deep in blue goop, also known as silly putty, that the UNBC chemistry lab guys were helping children create.
Fletcher was taking his cue from Dylan Fossl from UNBC and seemed delighted by the process of making his own goop.
“We’re having good fun,” Adams, who has a membership to The Exploration Place, said.
“I love it that the kids can interact with stuff like this – that way they learn more than they think they’re learning.”
Adams also discovered you’re never to old to learn a thing or two.
“I got some information from Todd (Whitcombe, UNBC associate professor) about construction and I’m actually going to have to go home and have a look at it,” Adams said.
It’s all about old-time construction that included weaving willow branches and securing it with mud, Adams added.
“Not that I need to build anything like that but now that I’ve got a little tip I’m going to look into it,” Adams said.
Jaclyn Baxter, Tech Up facilitator, took the lead in organizing the STEAM activities at The Exploration Place. Science, technology, engineering, art + design and mathematics are the fields that need focused learning, Baxter said.
“We see there are gaps in these careers – where they are heading and what kids are learning in their earlier years,” Baxter said.
A high percentage of jobs the current elementary-school aged children will be doing have not even been created yet, she added.
“So those will involve technology, coding, different scientific methods, right?” Baxter said.
“So there’s a huge gap between what we’ve been teaching kids and what they need to know. So what STEAM Learning Ecosytems originated as was a way to get kids interested in these fields and to show that it is accessible and it’s not scary. It’s fun and we’re doing stuff like this to show them that they can do these things.”
And there are careers that are geared toward all the activities showcased during the event, she added.
There were several demonstrations including exploring different types of dirt, making silly putty, building a bridge that would actually stay put, and discovering the under bellies of insects.
Children had the option to fill out a passport by completing six activities so they could be entered into a draw to win prizes.
Some of the information booths included Science World, The Exploration Place, Two Rivers Gallery, Tech-Up Robotics, Dr. Luke Harris from the UNBC physiology deparment, Dr. Todd Whitcombe from UNBC chemistry department and Science Magic with The Exploration Place’s Science Guy, Christian.
We see there are gaps in these careers – where they are heading and what kids are learning in their earlier years.
— Jaclyn Baxter, Tech Up facilitator