Recent Cape Breton University Bachelor of Education graduates Anju Virick and Megan MacLeod were recognized with the “Best Poster Presentation” award at the 2014 Canadian International Conference on Education (CICE). The annual conference was held at CBU from June 16-19, 2014. Anju and Megan worked on their presentation under the supervision of Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel and Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Maureen Finlayson.
Their presentationPromoScience – Inspiring Young Minds in Cape Breton: Bridging the Gap Between the Desk and the Dirt is based on a recent pilot project for Grade 5 students. The pilot project is focused on connecting the science curriculum to outdoor activities. The provided lesson plan honours the Grade 5 science curriculum and provides teachers with the tools they need to bring students out into the world to practice hands-on learning.
“I enjoyed taking curriculum outcomes and creating fun, exciting, interesting activities for young scientists to explore,” says Megan. “Taking students outside, as well as allowing them to learn new concepts in a hands-on manner, we are making a point to promote outdoor, experiential learning.”
Anju adds, “This was our first conference as presenters and to win the poster award is a huge surprise and a great honour. It also validates our hunch that we have a pretty good team. I’m excited to see where this project goes next.”
The project is part of a multiyear PromoScience project funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. This initiative promotes science to elementary students and their teachers through the development of science units. The PromoScience project is led by an interdisciplinary team of science and education faculty, Matthias Bierenstiel (Chemistry), Katherine M. Jones (Biology), Coleen Moore-Hayes (Education) and Maureen Finlayson (Education).
“The enthusiasm and competency of CBU students, mentored by excellent faculty, as exemplified by this project, bodes well for science education in the future,” says Dr. David McCorquodale, Dean of Science and Technology.
In the future the team hopes to develop a Grade 4 life, earth and space sciences kit. They are also hoping to work collaboratively with elementary school teachers who are interested in developing science kits. Furthermore, the team will investigate the possibility of creating a science kit focused on Aboriginal herb lore and medicinal knowledge.