Hands-on projects spark kids’ interest in science

The scientific evidence is indisputable: learning about science is fun!
“Our goal is to give kids a new perspective on science,” said Shannon Patoine, a University of Regina student and one of two instructors with the Saskatchewan Science Centre’s “Go! Science” summer outreach program. “We want them to see that science is stimulating and fun; that it’s not beyond anyone’s reach.”

Youngsters work in small groups to build ‘balloon cars’ during a ‘Go! Science’ workshop on the lawn of the Langham library on Thursday, August 10

On Thursday, August 10, youngsters in Langham were busy building “balloon cars” on the lawn outside the Langham branch of the Wheatland Regional Library. It was the second stop of the day for the “Go! Science” outreach program workshop, having paid a visit to Waldheim earlier that morning.
“Tomorrow we go to Martensville,” explained Patoine in an interview at the Langham workshop. “We were in Aberdeen and Rosthern yesterday, and Lanigan on Tuesday.”
The program runs till mid-August, and by the time it’s over, Patoine and fellow instructor Jean-Paul Belanger will have logged thousands of kilometers over roads of every description from LaLoche in the north to Oxbow in the south.
“I didn’t realize how big this province is until we drove to LaLoche,” said Patoine. “That’s a really long way north.”
The Go! Science summer program celebrates Canada’s scientific accomplishments over the past 150 years, and each workshop consists of three separate one-hour segments, said Patoine.
“Terrific Tech is all about Canadian inventions,” she siad. “We tell the kids about the CanadArm and the Avro Arrow, and how Canada builds a lot of vehicles. So the hands-on exercise gives them an opportunity to build their own ‘balloon car.’
“Rock your socks is all about rocks and minerals. We explain about mining.
“Brain Train is about the human body. Canada has a national health care system, and so we tie that in as we explain how the body works.”
Patoine said the program is aimed at students in Grades 1 through 6, although they can acommodate younger siblings if their parents help out.
“Our goal is to get the kids excited about science and to help them have a really fun experience,” said Patoine.