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Hands-on fun and learning at Memorial University’s Science Rendezvous Saturday

Peter Isesele (right) taught children, including Clare Quilty (left), about acids and bases at the biochemistry section of the Science Rendezvous on Saturday at Memorial University.
Peter Isesele (right) taught children, including Clare Quilty (left), about acids and bases at the biochemistry section of the Science Rendezvous on Saturday at Memorial University. - Juanita Mercer

“I just love it,” gushed Logan Gosse, while he plucked a small crab out of the touch tank at Science Rendezvous on Saturday.

Logan said he “(doesn’t) know why” he loves science so much, but his mother Julie Gosse said “he can’t get enough” of events like the one at Memorial University (MUN), where he could explore a wide range of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) exhibits and activities.

Logan Gosse holds a snail while his younger brother looks on at the Ocean Science Centre touch tank display.
Logan Gosse holds a snail while his younger brother looks on at the Ocean Science Centre touch tank display.

They were amongst upwards of 700 other people – mostly children – who descended on the university, bringing the average age on campus down considerably for at least a few hours.

Science Rendezvous is a free annual festival organized all over the country with over 300 events.

Science Rendezvous committee chair Lisa Breen said this year’s theme is “Full STEAM Ahead”.

“It used to be predominantly STEM-focused,” she said. “But hopefully as things grow and it gets bigger next year we can get more arts integrated, and more arts involved because STEM and the arts are very closely intertwined.”

At MUN, the fun, hands-on exhibits and activities spanned four different buildings on campus, and children could be seen excitedly running from one building to another to take it all in.

Representatives from the university’s faculties of engineering and applied sciences, humanities and social sciences and science all presented exciting hands-on learning experiences.

In addition, various community groups had exhibits at the event, such as Bricks 4 Kidz and the Newfoundland Labrador Archeological Society.

Children made their own lip balm, explored the Paradigm HyperLoop, attended a chemistry magic show, studied ancient rocks and the list could go on.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to get access to things that they wouldn’t normally see in a regular school day and get them to try and experience hands-on things with science,” said Breen.

For 12-year-old Alex Hanrahan, it was a great opportunity to explore future career ideas. 

Twelve-year-old Alex Hanrahan explores a ship using virtual reality goggles.
Twelve-year-old Alex Hanrahan explores a ship using virtual reality goggles.

“I do like technology, so I could be an engineer of some sort,” he said, adding his favourite activity at the event was the virtual reality goggles he used to explore the inside of a ship.

“It was cool!” he exclaimed after taking off the goggles. “You get to walk around the boat and see where everything is, and it’s just cool to look around at what it’s like on a ship.”

Jennifer Norman brought her children to Science Rendezvous because “they had to come and see this,” she said.

“They came home from school yesterday with this pamphlet going absolutely crazy,” said Norman. “They’re starting to learn little bits of this in school, so it’s really interesting to them now at this point.”

Norman said her 7-year-old daughter, Eve, is especially interested in anything science-related.

Seven-year-old Eve Norman takes a closer look at rocks on display at the geology department’s exhibit.
Seven-year-old Eve Norman takes a closer look at rocks on display at the geology department’s exhibit.

“She would rather do this than go to movies and stuff any day. I mean, she would stay all day here at the rocks,” said Norman, nodding her head toward her daughter, who appeared engrossed in studying a display of rocks with a magnifying glass.

“It’s important just to see the world outside of the tablet or computer,” said Norman. “It opens their minds, and to things that I might not know they were interested in.”

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: juanitamercer_

Earlier story:

Hundreds of people gathered at Memorial University on Saturday, engaging in a wide range of science-related topics ranging from biochemistry to geology and everything in between.

The average age of those attendees, however, was much younger than events typically held at the university.

Science Rendezvous was geared toward young children and teenagers, with exhibits and activities in several buildings on campus.

Madison Druken and Yasmina Aloui learned about Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids while playing with a mixture of corn starch and water.
Madison Druken and Yasmina Aloui learned about Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids while playing with a mixture of corn starch and water.

Children made their own lip balm, conducted biochemistry experiments, attended a chemistry magic show, studied ancient rocks and the list could go on.

It was a fun day of science promotion and discovery to kick off a nationwide Science Odyssey week – Canada’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with events happening across the country until May 20.

Representatives from Memorial’s faculties of engineering and applied sciences, humanities and social sciences and science all presented exciting hands-on learning experiences.

In addition, various community groups had exhibits at the event, such as Bricks 4 Kidz and the Newfoundland Labrador Archeological Society.

Science Rendezvous committee chair Lisa Breen estimated there were between 500 and 700 people on campus for the event between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“By celebrating science and bringing researchers together with the general public, we hope to help foster a strong culture of science in this province,” said Breen.

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