Partnership bringing interactive science lessons to remote Sask. schools

One of Ingenium’s lessons introduces students to small farm animals at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. (Ingenium/Facebook)

“We love seeing their faces light up when we show them something they didn’t know.” – Lindsay Stewart, Ingenium

A new partnership is bringing science lessons to remote Indigenous communities through two-way video.

Connected North, a program within TakingITGlobal, uses high definition telepresence to take students across the country on virtual field trips and connect them with Indigenous mentors.

Ingenium, which oversees national museums related to science and technology, is now providing seven lessons.

The Father Porte Memorial Dene School in Black Lake, Father Megret Elementary and High Schools in Wollaston Lake, Nisto Awasisak Memorial School in Cumberland House and Bernard Constant Community School in Melfort have access to this virtual learning experience.

The lessons include:

• Meet the Small Farm Animals with the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

• Hidden Worlds: Under the Microscope with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

• Exploring Canada’s Energy Future with Ingenium’s Sustainable Development Initiative

“We love seeing their faces light up when we show them something they didn’t know…When I’m showing them a new animal that they’ve potentially never seen,” said Lindsay Stewart, an education assistant at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum under Ingenium.

“(It’s) very important to be knowledgable about everything that’s going on in the world and for students to really understand that the breadth of science extends so much further than what they might perceive science to be.”

She emphasized that the opportunity allows them to spark curiosity in a larger number of youth.

“It extends our reach further, to people who aren’t able to come to our museums,” said Stewart.

For Connected North Director or Innovation Michael Furdyk, Ingenium’s lessons will enrich learning for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

“The students in the north and in these remote communities deserve the same learning experiences and the same learning opportunities as every other student in the country,” he said.

“We’re really focused as an organization and as a program in making sure that most schools in the country have that equality.”

Furdyk hopes Ingenium’s science education teaches the students more than just facts, but also makes them feel empowered and confident.

“It is about giving students that subject matter knowledge, but it’s also looking at well-being,” he said.

“That’s definitely one of the goals, for students to see themselves playing these roles in society—that they can be an astronomer or they can be a scientist as well.”

Furdyk said Connected North is hoping to expand so all Canadian schools have access to virtual lessons. Ingenium and TakingITGlobal are both based in Ontario.

For more information, contact Lauren Butler at lauren@takingitglobal.org or (416) 977-9363 ext. 324.