Each year, Grade 6 to 8 students from across Canada participate in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge, a full day science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition held at Let’s Talk Science Outreach sites from coast to coast.
This was the first year the Let’s Talk Science Challenge was offered in French. Taking place at Université de Sherbrooke in Québec, the Let’s Talk Science Challenge in French (Défi Parlons sciences) had over 50 students compete.
Though the competition is extracurricular, students start preparing as early as January for the event that takes place in April and May. It gives students interested in STEM an outlet for their passion. The event encourages students to cooperate, collaborate and problem-solve with fellow peers, all while getting a realistic view of the STEM opportunities presented in high school courses. Not only that, but with guest speakers, trivia and design challenges – it’s also a fun-filled day of competition and excitement!
Along with Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers, industry volunteers from various sectors generously offered their time to help out on the day of the Challenge.
Mabel Ho, a volunteer from Samsung Canada explained why she volunteers at the Let’s Talk Science Challenge: “It’s important for all stages of life. Volunteering in the community helps you grow as an individual but you also can support your community to grow along with you.”
For Balsam Ibrahim from 3M Canada, volunteering at the Let’s Talk Science Challenge at Western University was an obvious choice. Ibrahim was a Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteer during her time as a student at Western University and the Let’s Talk Science Challenge was always her favourite event.
“It was a great event today! I think it was very beneficial to the students who participated… and I think they learned a lot. I’m just happy we were able to provide the support that the [Let’s Talk Science Challenge organizers] needed.” – Diana Da Silva, Roche Canada employee and volunteer at the Let’s Talk Science Challenge at McMaster University
“In university, I didn’t know a lot about the different companies I could possibly work for, so having 3M sponsor this event, [the competitors] are now aware of [3M] at such a young age. They may think, “Oh, one day, I can work at 3M… Also as a woman in science, you don’t see a lot of women right now in the lab, so encouraging young girls to love science is a really great thing,” said Ibrahim.
Why does the Let’s Talk Science Challenge attract so many students? Claire Gulliver, a teacher at Jack Chambers Public School who has participated in the Let’s Talk Science Challenge for five years explained:
“They’re really excited [about the day]. Win, lose, it doesn’t matter; it’s been a great day. They’ve learnt, they’ve grown, they’ve done new things, and they’ve been on campus. That in itself is an experience for a lot of them. They’re excited when they get home [from the Challenge].”
Through its free programs, Let’s Talk Science supports science literacy by engaging students in STEM from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The day would not be possible without the generous support from Let’s Talk Science supporters including:
National supporters: The Government of Canada, CH2M Foundation, Shaw Communications, Trottier Family Foundation and 3M Canada.
Regional supporters: Dow Chemical Canada, Hibernia Development and Management Ltd., The Government of Ontario, Dart Foundation, Stantec Consulting, and Libro Credit Union.
For more information about this and other Let’s Talk Science programs, please visit - Let’s Talk Science programs.