Gladstone Secondary recently resurrected their Junior Scientist Program after a hiatus of a few years. This two day event partners Grade 11 students from Gladstone with young students from surrounding elementary schools. About 350 elementary students from kindergarten through Grade 7 came from Lord Selkirk, Beaconsfield, Cunningham and Nootka to be mentored through a science laboratory experiment at Gladstone.
This approach is beneficial for the Grade 11 students because they get to try explaining concepts, methods and ideas and to lead their young counterparts safely through the experience of working in a high school laboratory. Teachers say the elementary students, many of whom were very excited to be at a high school for the first time, really enjoyed getting to do some of the interesting activities on offer and have the experience of working closely with their bigger mentor.
The science teachers at Gladstone went out of their way to provide novel, exciting activities for the event. SH Ho, a Gladstone teacher, coordinated the Biology activities which allowed the junior scientists to investigate the microscopic world including viewing a water flea (daphnia).
Teachers Kate Pineo and Minnie Liu managed the chemistry section and devised a seven station carousel activity surrounding the wonders of chemistry. The day ended with an amazing demo that involved burning money and the effects of accelerants and damping agents. Lori Paley took on the tech side of science with her students creating three types of batteries--wet, dry, fruit.
On the physics end, teachers Fergus McCallion, Klaus Breslauer and student teacher Hazel staged design competitions based on forces and motion that involved air balloons, planes and boats.
Jolene Mergens had the young students intrigued with an elaborate crime scene scenario. Forensics is a course offered only at Gladstone and a real attraction for the students.
When the kids finished their activities they were treated to juice and cookies to fortify them for the journey back to their school. Gladstone Secondary and the Science Department would like to extend a special thanks to the teachers and students of Selkirk, Nootka, Beaconsfield and Cunningham elementary for participating in the event and to Gladstone Secondary's senior scientists and John Vatougios, a qualified Physics teacher volunteering at the school, who made it possible.