Last month, Cape Breton University launched Let’s Talk Science, a science outreach program focused on getting children excited about science, keeping them engaged in learning and helping them develop to their full potential. The program, which piloted last year, is a joint initiative between CBU and the national Let’s Talk Science program. It provides elementary schools with the opportunity to invite CBU faculty and student volunteers into their classrooms for curriculum aligned, hands-on science activities.The Let’s Talk Science program currently has three schools booked for activities, a March Break camp scheduled and is looking for other opportunities.
"Let’s Talk Science outreach provides a unique opportunity for Cape Breton University student volunteers to come into local elementary school classrooms to share their knowledge and passion for science,” says CBU Program Director, Kellie White. “It helps both CBU students and Cape Breton kids get excited about science and discover the relevance of science to their lives. This program also helps CBU students hone their public speaking skills and allows them to gain valuable community outreach experience that will assist in resume building and professional school applications."
The program is designed for primary to six grade levels as well as youth based programs such as local youth groups, Girl Guides and Scouts. Teachers or group leaders interested in the program are provided with a catalogue of possible activities based on age and subject matter. Once an activity is chosen a CBU student or faculty member is assigned to the project and will travel to the desired destination to carry out the activity.
“I believe science is a great way to help youth build critical thinking skills that they will use in the real world,” says third year science student and Let’s Talk Science Student Coordinator, Kristen MacLeod. “We want youth to be as excited and as passionate about science as we are, and what better way than hands-on learning?”
Let’s Talk Science activities include an Animals in Winter workshop intended for grade one students that teaches the survival needs of animals and the various strategies animals use to adapt to winter conditions. During this activity, students participate in a series of hands-on experiments where they will collect data that allows them to examine the impact of huddling, hibernation and sun basking on the temperature of animals. For grade four students, an activity titled Skulls teaches the behavioural and structural feature of an animal that enable them to survive in their habitat. There will be a presentation that teaches the kids about forensic science through the study of animal skulls. They will learn how the examination of the teeth and eye sockets can allow them to determine what habitat an animal is adapted for, learn to distinguish predator from pray and participate in a hands-on activity by trying to identify 10 mystery skulls from the CBU skull collection.