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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the context of culture plays an important role in communities across the globe; however, it is particularly important to Indigenous communities. Connecting STEM to social enterprise, humanities, arts, innovation, entrepreneurship, etc. an ‘A’ is added to get STEAM, standing for ‘Arts’ and all that it encompasses.
IndigeSTEAM is hosting events that incorporate the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in STEM. The first of the events is the Indigenous Inclusion Mentors Leadership Retreat which integrates modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics with indigenous wisdom to create an innovative future for all.
Through inclusion and the incorporation of Indigenous wisdom and teachings, youth can be engaged in a way that transcends race, gender and abilities and breaks down barriers for all underrepresented groups. This retreat invites participants to examine their own cognitive diversity and learn how their lens shapes their interactions with others.
The second event is the Post-Halloween Masquerade Ball Benefiting IndigeSTEAM. The experience allows attendees to have an opportunity to learn a little about IndigeSTEAM and other non-profits focused on equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM.
The Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks exhibit opened at the Discovery Centre in late September. The creator of the exhibit, Ryan McNaught, and his team have created twenty 14-foot skyscrapers out of lego bricks including New York’s Empire State Building, China’s Shanghai Tower and Toronto’s CN Tower.
The exhibit has already toured throughout Australia and parts of the United States, and the opening at Discovery Centre is the Canadian debut for the exhibition. Visitors are able to explore the different architectural wonders, but it also generates an interest for children in what McNaught calls education by stealth, “kids are thinking that they’re coming to play with Lego, but they’re actually going to learn some really important skills, things like how important engineering is in absolutely everything that we do today”.
Former CEO of Science World, Bryan Tisdall, attended his investiture ceremony, receiving the Order of Canada on Thursday, September 6th, 2018. Contributing to science education in British Columbia, he has had a remarkable career including nearly two decades as the CEO of Science World BC (1997-2016).
During his years at Science World, he was known for not shying away from controversial exhibitions and focused on what exhibits visitors would find interesting. Tisdall believes the appetite for such knowledge speaks to the importance of scientific education that’s done in a fun and accessible way.
“It's to develop an appreciation for the (the fact that) science isn't only test tubes and laboratories and old white guys with curly hair. It's everywhere and it's all-pervasive.”
He also says learning to think like a scientists is important, no matter what one does with their life. “It's being analytical. It's being questioning. It's being open,” he said. “It's appreciating you may never have all the answers.”
At the ceremony, governor general Julie Payette bestowed him with a medal which held special meaning to Tisdall as he and Payette are personal friends from her time serving as director of the Montreal Science Centre.
Ontario Science Centre's 2018 Science Literacy Survey reveals Canadians believe science is needed to solve critical world issues.
83% of Canadians want to learn more about science and how it affects our world
81% agree that most people don't understand the impact of science on their everyday lives
74% agree that critical challenges facing the world will need to be solved by science and technology
54% believe that society is turning away from science in favour of ideas that lack evidence or data
According to the Ontario Science Centre’s third annual Science Literacy Survey, most Canadians believe that science and technology play a major role in solving different challenges across the globe. Contradictory to this, many Canadians are also concerned about the impact of new technologies that may be, or already are, applied to everyday life such as artificial intelligence.
Each year, the Ontario Science Centre publishes the results of its Science Literacy Survey to coincide with Science Literacy Week, a national celebration of science from September 17 to 23, 2018. However, this year’s study also found that a little more than half of the respondents believe that society is turning away from science.
"Science literacy has never been more important than it is today," said Dr. Maurice Bitran, PhD, CEO, and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "The rapid pace of scientific advancement and the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence and self-driving cars have created an interesting tension in the minds of Canadians. People recognize that these technologies are important, but don't know enough about them to feel comfortable with their implementation. That's something the Ontario Science Centre can help with.”
The Armand-Frappier Museum officially opened its brand-new temporary exhibition Nous et les autres - Des préjugés au racisme. Originally, it was the Musée de l'Homme, one of the sites of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in France, which designed and produced this exhibition. This exhibition is an adaptation of it, and it provides a scientific understanding of what racism is and why it affects our societies.
At the crossroads of biology, history and sociology, this exhibition also sheds light on current knowledge on the subject, particularly that of human genetics, and confirms that the notion of race is not scientifically valid in humans.
This exhibition sheds scientific light on a complex and essential subject. "It enables the museum whose mission is to promote understanding of scientific issues related to human health, to promote our common humanity and to contribute to the well-being of all", said Guylaine Archambault, Executive Director of the museum.
Read more (French)
The Government of Canada is investing $123,000 in Science North over the next three years to deliver Girls’ Summer Science Camps across Northern Ontario during the summers of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)’s 2018 PromoScience Program, Science North is among the recipients of funding for summer science camps aimed at creating a comfortable space for girls to develop a positive attitude and interest in science. As recognized by PromoScience, participation by females in science must grow to ensure Canada is growing and sustaining in a very competitive global landscape.
“We are very happy to receive this funding from NSERC, to allow Science North to continue bringing Summer Science Camps to youth across Northern Ontario. Over 20,000 children have participated in Science North Summer Science Camps since PromoScience became affiliated with the program in 2001. This funding is especially important as it will give girls the opportunity to engage in science through hands-on activities led by female scientists. Science North has a mandate to serve all of Northern Ontario, a significant geographic area, from Mattawa to the Manitoba border. Funding like this is essential to our success in engaging girls in STEM learning across the North, and encouraging science as a lifelong interest, professionally or personally.” stated Guy Labine, Science North CEO
The funding will allow Science North to reach an estimated 1,050 girls in Northern Ontario through summer science camps in several communities including Kenora, Dryden, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins.
Once again, ASTC organized an incredible conference!
Thanks to all those who were able to make it out to the CASC Annual ASTC Canadian Get-together in Hartford. We hope you enjoyed the delicious meal prepared by Chango Rosa and that you all had an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues while making new connections!
We've posted an album of the event to our Facebook page. Be sure to visit, and please tag yourselves!
We look forward to seeing you all next year in Toronto, Canada for ASTC 2019!
This Wednesday, Sept 19, CASC is thrilled to be participating in the Prime Minister's Science Fair, featuring 36 youths from across Canada. After a call out to CASC members with an opportunity to participate in this unique event, 11 science centres, science museums and makerspaces responded and will help showcase the importance of informal education and science literacy across Canada.
The goal of the Prime Minister Science Fair is to showcase young innovators who will be the researchers of tomorrow. CASC members will showcase how Science Centres and Science Museums are part of their lives and help in this effort - highlighting ways that we help increase Canada’s capacity to inspire the next generation to engage with science and to pursue it at school and even as a career.
During the event the Prime Minister will tour displays of the 11 CASC member organizations and representatives from each institution will take part in a Roundtable discussion with the Minister of Science.
We will be live tweeting the event from @CASC_ACCS on twitter and using the Science Literacy Week hashtag #SciLit.
Organizations (and Twitter handles) who’ll be participating in the event include:
Bryan Tisdall, a longtime Steveston resident, travels to Ottawa Thursday to receive the honour in a ceremony with Canada’s governor general.
Tisdall has had a remarkable career contributing to science education in B.C., spending nearly two decades as CEO of Science World from 1997 to 2016. He never shied away from controversial exhibits and took the iconic False Creek orb from a floundering operation to a renowned not-for-profit that doesn’t rely on government funding for any ongoing support.
He came to Science World from a stint as general manager of Exhibition Place and the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Before that, he worked as director of finance and administration for the Metropolitan Toronto Police and as director of planning and production services with TVOntario.
Dr. Robert Thirsk, former Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut, will kick off Science Literacy Week by unveiling the winning prototypes of the Little Inventors: Inventions for Space Canada-wide competition. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC) and the CSA are proud collaborators on Little Inventors, a UK-based initiative that taps into the imaginations of students to turn inventions into real prototypes.
The event is taking place in conjunction with the opening of the Little Inventors exhibition, open until October 2018 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the launch of Science Literacy Week, a week-long celebration of science-based activities that highlight our outstanding scientists and science promoters.
Dr. Robert Thirsk, some of the little inventors and a magnificent maker will be available to media following a panel discussion. Media representatives will also be invited to tour the Little Inventors Exhibit in the Space Discovery Centre.
The CASC office is situated in Robinson Huron Treaty territory and the land on which we learn and live is the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
©2019 Canadian Association of Science Centres