Inspiring future mathematicians and scientists

News May 21, 2015 by Steve Arnold Hamilton Spectator

Science and basketball are an odd mix, but for Don Do mastering one is making him better at the other.

Do, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student at Hamilton's Cathy Wever elementary school, has learned to calculate the angles needed to get the best basketball shots and it has really improved his game.

Better shots of nothing-but-net on the court are just one example of better living through science — a gospel London-based Let's Talk Science has been preaching for the past 10 years.

The non-profit group seeks to excite students about the possibilities for life and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. It took the message to 220 senior grade school students Thursday during a daylong event at McMaster University and caught the imagination of many.

"I'm here because I just really like science and I'm really curious," Do said. "Something like this is a really good chance to see physics and science in their raw form."

Federal Science Minister Ed Holder was also at the event to announce Ottawa will support the organization with $12.5 million to be paid over the next five years to support its efforts across the country.

It's an effort Holder said is critical to the future of the country.

"Only half of our high school students are taking math and science now and that's kind of sad," he told the students in announcing the federal support. "We want to inspire an interest in you because you will change the world in the future; you will be the difference makers."

One measure of that importance is a 2013 Let's Talk Science-Amgen Canada report that concluded almost three-quarters of "top" Canadian jobs, including those in the trades, will require a STEM education by 2020.

Where can STEM education lead? For Bob Thirsk, it led all the way to the stars.

Thirsk is a former Canadian astronaut who made two flights into orbit and spent six months living on the International Space Station doing experiments suggested by scientists from around the world trying to solve human and economic problems.

"Science literacy really matters because it creates opportunities and employment for the future," he told the children. "It opens our personal worlds to incredible challenges and allows us to better understand our world."

That message isn't lost on Cathy Wever students Ruthanne Parkes and Shamika Ramnauth. Like Do, they both see a future for themselves in the world of experiments and test tubes — Parkes in physics or chemistry and Ramnauth as a physician.

Thursday's event at McMaster, a day that included a quiz, hands-on demonstrations and a chemistry magic show, was one of 23 to be held across the country during April and May, an agenda to be expanded sharply with the new federal money.

"This will help us to increase our reach tremendously," said president Bonnie Schmidt. "This is going to mark the launch of a real transformation for us."

Schmidt said the federal cash will back an effort to reach 5 million students across the country, with a special focus on rural areas, the north and aboriginal communities.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec

Inspiring future mathematicians and scientists

News May 21, 2015 by Steve Arnold Hamilton Spectator

Science and basketball are an odd mix, but for Don Do mastering one is making him better at the other.

Do, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student at Hamilton's Cathy Wever elementary school, has learned to calculate the angles needed to get the best basketball shots and it has really improved his game.

Better shots of nothing-but-net on the court are just one example of better living through science — a gospel London-based Let's Talk Science has been preaching for the past 10 years.

The non-profit group seeks to excite students about the possibilities for life and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. It took the message to 220 senior grade school students Thursday during a daylong event at McMaster University and caught the imagination of many.

"I'm here because I just really like science and I'm really curious," Do said. "Something like this is a really good chance to see physics and science in their raw form."

Federal Science Minister Ed Holder was also at the event to announce Ottawa will support the organization with $12.5 million to be paid over the next five years to support its efforts across the country.

It's an effort Holder said is critical to the future of the country.

"Only half of our high school students are taking math and science now and that's kind of sad," he told the students in announcing the federal support. "We want to inspire an interest in you because you will change the world in the future; you will be the difference makers."

One measure of that importance is a 2013 Let's Talk Science-Amgen Canada report that concluded almost three-quarters of "top" Canadian jobs, including those in the trades, will require a STEM education by 2020.

Where can STEM education lead? For Bob Thirsk, it led all the way to the stars.

Thirsk is a former Canadian astronaut who made two flights into orbit and spent six months living on the International Space Station doing experiments suggested by scientists from around the world trying to solve human and economic problems.

"Science literacy really matters because it creates opportunities and employment for the future," he told the children. "It opens our personal worlds to incredible challenges and allows us to better understand our world."

That message isn't lost on Cathy Wever students Ruthanne Parkes and Shamika Ramnauth. Like Do, they both see a future for themselves in the world of experiments and test tubes — Parkes in physics or chemistry and Ramnauth as a physician.

Thursday's event at McMaster, a day that included a quiz, hands-on demonstrations and a chemistry magic show, was one of 23 to be held across the country during April and May, an agenda to be expanded sharply with the new federal money.

"This will help us to increase our reach tremendously," said president Bonnie Schmidt. "This is going to mark the launch of a real transformation for us."

Schmidt said the federal cash will back an effort to reach 5 million students across the country, with a special focus on rural areas, the north and aboriginal communities.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec

Inspiring future mathematicians and scientists

News May 21, 2015 by Steve Arnold Hamilton Spectator

Science and basketball are an odd mix, but for Don Do mastering one is making him better at the other.

Do, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student at Hamilton's Cathy Wever elementary school, has learned to calculate the angles needed to get the best basketball shots and it has really improved his game.

Better shots of nothing-but-net on the court are just one example of better living through science — a gospel London-based Let's Talk Science has been preaching for the past 10 years.

The non-profit group seeks to excite students about the possibilities for life and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. It took the message to 220 senior grade school students Thursday during a daylong event at McMaster University and caught the imagination of many.

"I'm here because I just really like science and I'm really curious," Do said. "Something like this is a really good chance to see physics and science in their raw form."

Federal Science Minister Ed Holder was also at the event to announce Ottawa will support the organization with $12.5 million to be paid over the next five years to support its efforts across the country.

It's an effort Holder said is critical to the future of the country.

"Only half of our high school students are taking math and science now and that's kind of sad," he told the students in announcing the federal support. "We want to inspire an interest in you because you will change the world in the future; you will be the difference makers."

One measure of that importance is a 2013 Let's Talk Science-Amgen Canada report that concluded almost three-quarters of "top" Canadian jobs, including those in the trades, will require a STEM education by 2020.

Where can STEM education lead? For Bob Thirsk, it led all the way to the stars.

Thirsk is a former Canadian astronaut who made two flights into orbit and spent six months living on the International Space Station doing experiments suggested by scientists from around the world trying to solve human and economic problems.

"Science literacy really matters because it creates opportunities and employment for the future," he told the children. "It opens our personal worlds to incredible challenges and allows us to better understand our world."

That message isn't lost on Cathy Wever students Ruthanne Parkes and Shamika Ramnauth. Like Do, they both see a future for themselves in the world of experiments and test tubes — Parkes in physics or chemistry and Ramnauth as a physician.

Thursday's event at McMaster, a day that included a quiz, hands-on demonstrations and a chemistry magic show, was one of 23 to be held across the country during April and May, an agenda to be expanded sharply with the new federal money.

"This will help us to increase our reach tremendously," said president Bonnie Schmidt. "This is going to mark the launch of a real transformation for us."

Schmidt said the federal cash will back an effort to reach 5 million students across the country, with a special focus on rural areas, the north and aboriginal communities.

sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec