Community Engagement—it’s in our Jeans
At our facility in Vancouver, we have hands-on exhibits that help explain the forces in nature, illustrate how our bodies work and challenge your mind, body and creativity.
On The Road is one such program. A dedicated team of science facilitators travels around the province, from Atlin to Zeballos, to deliver interactive science shows to schools and communities. On The Road will spend about a week in a community, performing at as many schools as physically possible. Often, the week will end with a Community Science Celebration. This Celebration is free to the public and showcases people and organizations doing cool science in that community. The On The Road team participates in these celebrations.
On an overcast day in May, the team visited BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, to take part in their annual Jean’s Day fundraiser. There was no shortage of sunny smiles as the team unpacked their demos.
I had the best job that day. It was a science job of sorts—I got to stand back and observe people of all ages… as they played. I observed smiles, but I observed so much more. As people became engaged, I could see that they were actively trying to problem solve as they had fun.
A family approached the Science World tent. Sheepishly, an 8-year-old boy stepped forward. Brian greeted him with a smile, holding an energy stick in one hand. Brian instructed the boy to grab the other end of the energy stick and to give him a high five. As soon as their hands touched, the energy stick lit up and made noises. A smile instantly came across the boy’s face.
Building on this, Brian asked the family to all join hands, with the little boy still holding the energy stick. Brian then instructed the family member with a free hand to high five him. Again, the energy stick lit up and made noises. Through his smile, the little boy remarked, “Now my energy is used up!”
If we can get kids to be curious and ask questions about the world around them, then we are at the beginning stages of inspiring science literacy. If children see that science is accessible and not scary, they could go on to make the next great discovery. I have been very fortunate to have travelled with the On The Road team on a few occasions. When I see kids buzzing with excitement and becoming 100% engaged with the shows, not only does it warm my heart, but it inspires me to do whatever I can to help make science accessible to them.