WISE science program an Inner-City success

July 4th, 2013 · No Comments · Education, Engineering, News Release, Outreach, Science, Students

An innovative science program for students in Winnipeg’s inner city has just wrapped up, and by all accounts, it has been a major success.

WISE Kid-Netic Energy, supported by the Faculty of Engineering and a member of Actua (a national organization with a focus on engaging youth who are typically underrepresented and underserved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics), is a non-profit organization that offers hands on, curriculum based science, engineering and technology deliverables for youth in Kindergarten through grade 12. Founded in 1990, WISE (Women In Science & Engineering) Kid-Netic Energy is the largest community outreach program offered by the University of Manitoba.

This month, the program wrapped up the first year of their new Adopt-a-Class initiative, offering all of their workshops at no cost to nine schools in the inner-city. The schools were identified by the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg and ENGAP (the Faculty of Engineering’s Aboriginal Access Program). Schools visited this year were Dufferin, Norquay, David Livingstone, Niji Mahkwa, William Whyte, Children of the Earth, Gordon Bell, Sisler and Elmwood.

“Science and engineering are exciting options for all youth of Manitoba,” says Nusraat Masood, WISE program administrator. “We noticed that some inner-city teachers were writing personal cheques for our programs and that didn’t sit well with us. We decided to establish a fund ensuring that inner-city schools identified by the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg and ENGAP continue to be exposed to great young role models in their classrooms while learning through hands on Manitoba science-curriculum based workshops.”

She adds: “Our instructors, who are young women and visible minorities pursuing degrees in science and engineering, have greatly enjoyed facilitating our workshops and look forward to the growth of the program next year.”

Workshops offered by WISE Kid-Netic Energy include The Science of Music, Structures, Food Facts, Electricity, DNA Detection and Baby Animals. The actual cost of presenting each workshop is about $100, but WISE offers them to all schools for $50.

A teacher at Niji Mahkwa School noted: “The hands-on activity was lots of fun. Kids working together in groups helped them think and develop their ideas, which really surprised them overall.”

Another observed: “The students learned a lot about the scientific method. They are already thinking about new experiments they can test and myths they can bust. Exactly what I had in mind!”

This year, the program received financial support from Actua and the CWSE (Chair for Women in Science and Engineering) Contributions were also received from individuals, including the Dean of Engineering, Dr. Jonathan Beddoes.

Thanks to this support, WISE offered programs to 2,903 kids in the inner-city of Winnipeg this past school year. The workshops were very well received by both students and teachers, and plans are in place to continue the program next year.

WISE Kid-Netic Energy is committed to science and engineering outreach to all Manitobans, annually reaching more than 30,000 students. Its goal is to see all students passionate about Science and Engineering. During the school year, instructors currently studying in the faculties of engineering, science or education are sent out to facilitate exciting, hands-on Manitoba science curriculum-based workshops across the province.

WISE is seeking additional support to facilitate next year’s programs. Anyone interested in supporting this worthwhile project is encouraged to contact WISE.

For more information, please contact Nusraat Masood at email: wise@kidneticenergy.ca or phone: 204-474-9340 or toll-free: 1-800-432-1960, extension 9340

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