This year, Let’s Talk Science Outreach made an international impact on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in Nepal thanks to volunteer Serena McDiarmid. During her undergraduate program at the University of Waterloo, McDiarmid discovered her passion for science, volunteerism and education when she began volunteering for Let’s Talk Science Outreach in 2013.
In her final year at Wilfrid Laurier University, McDiarmid was invited to run teacher training sessions in Nepal. In collaboration with her partner teacher, McDiarmid developed a workshop where teachers would learn how to build and facilitate application and inquiry-based STEM lessons through participation.
“One popular workshop we ran focused on the STEM concepts involved in flight. We started by reading Angela’s Airplane, by Robert Munsch and asking teachers what forces would act on Angela’s airplane and what features the airplane would need to fly well,” said McDiarmid. “Guided by this question, teachers built paper airplanes and had a contest to see whose could go the furthest… It was an amazing demonstration of what airplanes need to fly, and an even better demonstration of the power of hands-on STEM activities for engaging students.”
Running workshops in Nepal didn’t come without challenges. Among them was navigating varying English language levels, hiking an hour to school with her supplies and competing with the sound of airplanes taking off and rain on a tin roof. McDiarmid faced these challenges with confidence knowing they were inconsequential compared to the positive impact of the workshops.
“Just like me and other Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers, these teachers have a passion for education and creating positive change for children. Through the workshop, we were able to share new strategies and ideas about STEM education that these passionate teachers can use to create positive change and inspire a new generation of young scientists, technology workers, engineers and mathematicians. By reaching dozens of teachers, we were able to positively influence the lives of hundreds of students.”
If you would like to read more about McDiarmid’s trip to Nepal, you can check out her blog: https://msmcdiarmidgoestonepal.wordpress.com/
Let’s Talk Science Outreach is a national, community-based program connecting educators and youth with outstanding volunteers to deliver a wide variety of meaningful science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities for children as young as three years old and youth up to Grade 12. To learn more about Let’s Talk Science Outreach, click here.