On October 24th, Let’s Talk Science Outreach at the University of Guelph held their first School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an event run annually at several Let’s Talk Science locations across the country. The volunteer team saw over 750 children, youth and parents throughout the day, all wanting to learn more about the science behind magic.
“After being sorted into their houses, participants were given their very own Marauder’s map where they must 'solemnly swear that you are up to no good' before exploring the magical halls of the Summerlee Science complex,” said Tara Harvey, Let’s Talk Science Outreach Coordinator at University of Guelph. “Classes such as potions, charms, alchemy, dark arts, care of magical creatures, herbology, and transfiguration engaged participants in what appears to be magic but is truly the magic of chemistry, physics, and biology.”
As with all Let’s Talk Science community events, visitors spent the day learning about a variety of science topics in a fun hands-on setting. Some students were even more hands-on having arrived in costume and using their wands to ‘help’ the science magic along.
“Each (station) was crowded with parents and children of all ages,” comments Paul Rowntree, Chair, Department of Chemistry, University of Guelph and father. “My daughter was delighted to have been sorted into the Slytherin House, and she was enthralled by the entire day. The participants probably didn't even know that they were learning about science as they were being shown the growth of an egg to a whelp to a ‘dragon’, and as they opened up owl pellets, but I think they will remember these activities far longer than real biology lessons.”
The day was made possible thanks to help from the University of Guelph Astronomy Club, Horticulture and Botany Clubs, Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, and the many Let’s Talk Science Outreach volunteers. Financial support for the event was also provided in part from the Guelph Central Student Association (CSA), the College of Biological Sciences (CBS), the College of Physical and Engineering Sciences, and Dr. Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President Research at the University of Guelph.
Let’s Talk Science Outreach strives to engage youth and communities in the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. Throughout the year, Outreach sites across Canada visit libraries, community festivals, and after school youth groups to involve them in hands-on/minds-on STEM learning. Visit a local outreach website to find out about ongoing activities going on in your community, or to book a Let’s Talk Science Outreach visit for your youth group.