August 17th, 2019

Middle school students meet at U of L to Talk Science

By Kuhl, Nick on May 3, 2019.

Astronaut Conner Oostlander, along with Taylor Otway and Oden Kashman, all Grade 7 students from Coalhurst, pilot their cardboard space craft at the end of an activity as part of the Lets Talk Science Challenge Thursday at the University of Lethbridge. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Megan McCoy

For the Herald

More than 100 middle school students came together at the University of Lethbridge with a common interest in science with a competitive edge.

The Let’s Talk Science Challenge took place for the first time in Lethbridge on Thursday, bringing students from around southern Alberta together for some friendly competition.

Let’s Talk Science is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that focuses on enhancing the science experiences of students and growing graduate students in their science communication skills. On Thursday, 27 post-secondary institutions hosted the competition nationally.

Nathan Hill, graduate student co-ordinator for the Lethbridge event, said they want students to view science in a positive light regardless if they pursue it as a career.

“We want to make science as fun and accessible to the students as we possibly can. Keep them interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math),” he said.

The day consisted of a science quiz, a keynote speaker and an engineering design challenge in which students had to design a tool to move packing peanuts from one cup to another.

Amanda Rodgers, a teacher at Champion School, attended the event with 11 of her students and said the event is a great way to get the next generation excited about science.

“Those strong kids that sometimes I’m not able to challenge in school kind of have an opportunity to be challenged in science here,” she said.

Students from the U of L participated in the event as volunteers, guiding students and timing their design challenge.

Ute Kothe, the Let’s Talk Science faculty supervisor and professor at the university, believes the university students benefitted from the event as much as the middle school students.

“They get infected by the energy of the students. They get a lot of skill in communicating science, in organizing events, in sharing their passion and they will carry that out in the world,” she said.

This year’s challenge took place in celebration of Canada’s involvement in recent and historical achievements in space.

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