1997 Winner: Excellence In Science And Technology Public Awareness
Getting Kids Excited About Science
The Discover ‘E’ Program, conceived in 1992 by engineering students at The University of Alberta, shows children, grades 5 through 9, the wonder and excitement of science and technology through applied hands-on activities. The program consists of two components: 90-minute classroom demonstrations (May-June) throughout the province and week-long summer day camps (July – August) held at the University of Alberta and in Grande Prairie.
Since its inception, the number of students participating in the classroom presentations has more than quadrupled, reaching 8100 students in 1997, and the number of students attending the camps has more than tripled reaching 600. Presentations have included topics such as “Lasers and Electricity,” Amazing Polymers and the Chemical Reactions of the Human Body,” “Biomedical Engineering of the Human Eye,” and many more. All presentations use extensive visual aids, are interactive, and are presented at a level appropriate to the students.
This year, students were challenged to build an earthquake-proof structure which was actually put to the test on shaker tables to see how it would survive as the simulated earthquake moved up the Richter scale. A new division has recently been formed to reach an older audience, The Virtual Discoveries Camps. They are intended for students in grades 8 through 10 and will focus on computer-related activities such as making their own home pages, programming their own Internet video game and designing and programming control systems for their own robots.