Yesterday afternoon, 950 grades 4-7 students filled Aberdeen Centre in a celebration of science as the district held our 11th annual Science Jam.
The original goals of Science Jam were to make hands-on, minds-on science accessible to all intermediate students in our district and to promote an enjoyment of science.
This year 13 elementary schools participated, sharing 450 inquiry-based science projects. The students filled tables with their display boards and wore their Science Jam t-shirts, autographing each others’ shirts as they visited displays from different schools.
Five student MCs from Garden City and McNeely Elementary schools did an amazing job opening and closing the event.
Mayor Malcom Brodie welcomed the community to the event and Richmond School Board Chairperson Donna Sergeant and Assistant Superintendent Lynn Archer also shared a few words of encouragement to our elementary scientists.
The main focus of the evening was the students’ inquiry projects. There was such a range of project types – models, experiments, investigations and dramatic representations of science concepts. It was great to see so many projects en franca is as well! For some classes, the teachers provided an overall topic such as Simple and Compound Machines or Electricity of the Life Cycle of the Salmon to guide students’ projects. Some teachers provided a list of suggestions for students to choose from while some students told me they found their projects on YouTube and then replicated them. In other classes, students came up with their own personal inquiries and had an opportunity to pursue areas of interest and design their own investigations – such as making the best chocolate chip cookie, investigating what colour of cupcake icing is most appealing, what makes mood rings work or investigating what makes air hockey pucks glide on air like they do.
CTV was also on site and some projects were selected to be highlighted on the 6:00 news! CTV Meteorologist Michael Kuss interviewed the students while they explained their projects. Speaking to Michael afterwards, he said he had a great time at the event and was so happy to see kids being so excited about science.
A scientists from Science World did a Science Surprises Show to close the evening, sending rubber chicken projectiles into the audience, testing our rods and cones by looking at a Canadian flag and playing with our senses with wacky flavoured jelly beans.
Here is a short slide show with some highlights from Science Jam 2014:
A parent commented to me that planning an event like this must be kind of like planning a wedding, months and weeks of preparation goes into it, and the details…oh the details! And then, boom, in 3 hours, it’s all over. Science Jam has a long strong history in our district but I am beginning to think of ways to extend and enhance the enthusiasm for science that it nurtures and celebrates.
An event of this magnitude is not possible without a village behind it.
Thank you to our corporate sponsors HSBC and the Co-operators, the Richmond Review, Aberdeen Centre, CTV and Science World at Telus World of Science.
Thank you to J & T Sports for the printing and sorting of the students’ t-shirts and to Uno Digital for the display signage.
Thank you to Scholastic, Nelson Education and Spectrum Education for providing gifts to the teachers and to Science World for providing youth passes to the students.
Thank you to Marie Thom (Early Learning Teacher Consultant) for her tremendous support yesterday and to Rosalind Poon (Teacher Consultant on maternity leave and former Science Jam Coordinator) for her advice along the way).
Special thanks to Maureen LaBelle (Learning Services Secretary), Kevin Lyseng (Teacher Consultant), David Sadler (Communications and Marketing Manager) and Andrea Davidson (District Administrator) for their support and for being a part of this year’s Science Jam team.