August 31, 2012 — Pueblo Science camp sparks kids’ interest with hands-on experiments
Kids studying how the choice of sweeteners affects the rate of yeast fermentation. Photo by Diana Tyszko.
Kids from grades one to six took part in a week-long science camp last week at the University of Toronto, in which they learned that science is more than what they see in museums and that it can be done at home with everyday materials.
The camp was put on by Pueblo Science, a not-for-profit organization founded by U of T chemistry alum Mayrose Salvador. Pueblo Science was created to build on a summer entrepreneurship program that helped teachers advance education in the Philippines and other developing countries, which was run by chemistry professor Cynthia Goh, director of the Institute for Optical Sciences. The goal of Pueblo Science in Canada is to increase science literacy among kids.
"It’s all about seeing science at eye level," says Alon Eisenstein, educational programs coordinator and a U of T chemistry graduate student. "We want them to know they can do the same experiments they did here at home and really have fun with it."
The kids were engaged and busy all week, from creating makeshift volcanoes and toasting marshmallows in solar energy to building kaleidoscopes, bridges and cars to mixing chemicals and making puppets climb strings. They also took tours around the St. George campus, including a visit to the astronomy and astrophysics department for a proper look at the sun.
"They had so much fun," says camp director and chemistry alumnus Neta Raz. "They got to do the experiments and understand the background behind each one. This camp shows them how they can pursue science in the future by learning the basic vocabulary and concepts."
Pueblo Science is going to be launching after school programs at schools around U of T this fall, and will host a week-long March break camp.