Let’s Talk SPOOKY Science at the Elora FrightFest

October 29, 2013

The Elora FrightFest is a weekend event held in October with face painting, a glowing spooky house, and The Witch’s Door entertainment. The volunteers from Let’s Talk Science at the University of Guelph were also there to provide some SPOOKY SCIENCE activities.

Guelph IMG 1852

Despite rainy weather, the outdoor event had nearly 200 kids and 100 adults stop by, and Let’s Talk Science volunteers from the University of Waterloo joined the team on Saturday morning to help mesmerize the masses. Demonstrations involved mysterious and ghastly science twists including Frankenstein’s Toothpaste, a black and orange oscillating clock reaction, ghost balloons that were filled with baking soda and mysteriously inflated when attached to bottles of vinegar, and an eyeball filled density column of water and oil to see if different types of eyeballs would sink or float. The density discussion was rounded off with seemingly self-inflating balloons using liquid nitrogen!

The highlight hands-on activity for kids was making ‘alien snot’ (a PVA and borax polymerization reaction) to take home. Kids could choose from a number of colours, including glow-in-the-dark, or one that glowed under a UV light. Children kept returning to make a second or even a third batch of snot!

“My favourite part was seeing how amazed they were after putting their slime under the UV light in the dark and saw how it would fluoresce or glow”, says Tanya Merwiak, Let’s Talk Science volunteer at the University of Guelph. “I saw some kids hanging around the light for a while because they found it so fascinating!”

Liquid nitrogen and the PVA and borax solutions were generously donated by the Department of Chemistry at the University of Guelph.


The Let's Talk Science Outreach program is supported in Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Education and in southern Ontario by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. For information on all of the other incredible supporters of Let's Talk Science and STEM learning, visit our supporters page.



Let's Talk Science Announces New Board Members

October 23, 2013

London, ON - Let's Talk Science announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors, bringing its total up to ten.

"The caliber of our new board members reflects the growing importance of Let's Talk Science's mission for Canada's future," said Rick Dobson, Chair for Let's Talk Science. "These new directors give us strength in strategic areas and they are already hard at work sharing their talents and advancing our work. "

"We are delighted to welcome these new members, who represent key positions within the Canadian business community," said President and Founder of Let's Talk Science Bonnie Schmidt. "Their career experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) compliment the strengths of our current members, and will assist in planning the future direction of Let's Talk Science."

Joining the Let's Talk Science Board:

HiliaryMs. Hilary Foulkes, most recently the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Penn West Petroleum Ltd., began her career over 30 years ago as a geologist working in remote mining camps and on oil drilling rigs. Ms. Foulkes, a Deloitte Women of Influence speaker, is a committed mentor and passionate promoter of both science and education. She participates in many public education events, volunteers with local schools and was recognized for her service receiving the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists' Volunteer Award.



RandyDr. Randy Frank, Director of Research and Development at 3M Canada. Dr. Frank currently leads 3M Canada's technical organization including research and development, product engineering, technical services, quality and regulatory affairs. Dr. Frank has spent much of his career at 3M leading new product development programs in a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, electrical utilities, mining and automotive.

Let's Talk Science, now it it's 20th year of operation, creates and delivers unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable outreach organization. The organization strives to prepare youth for their future careers and role as citizens in a rapidly changing world.


Spotlight on Science Learning: The High Cost of Dropping Science and Math

New report on science learning reveals the economic burden of discontinuing high school science courses

TORONTO, ON (October 8, 2013) – The cost of dropping out of secondary school science and math courses is significantly high for Canada, according to a new research report released today by Let's Talk Science and made possible by Amgen Canada. Spotlight on Science Learning 2013: The high cost of dropping science and math highlights three costs – financial, opportunity and societal – that hinder Canada's economy as a result of disengagement of students in senior level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses.

Every year Canada spends $50 billion on kindergarten to grade twelve education yet less than 50 per cent of Canadian high school students graduate with senior STEM courses. Given that approximately 70 per cent of Canada's top jobs require STEM education, a number that will continue to grow, this is an alarming statistic. As jobs of the future demand education in STEM courses, Canada's economic well-being, quality of life, and ability to remain competitive with peer countries is put at risk. It is important to ensure that our funds are being directed to preparing today's youth for tomorrow's economy, especially when Canada commits almost 6 per cent of GDP toward education.

"Canada must focus on building a strong STEM talent pool with the skills to contribute to our country's long-term prosperity. Ultimately, these skills lie in at least some form of science literacy," says Bonnie Schmidt, Ph.D., president, Let's Talk Science. "We need to inform our youth of the importance of STEM courses for their future careers, engage them in experiential science learning from an early age, and sustain their interest in science throughout their studies. This will take collaborative effort – educators, parents, youth, industry, non-profit organizations and government – to ensure Canada has a bright future ahead."

The 2013 research report outlines the costs associated with high school students dropping out of senior level STEM courses:

  • Financial costs to students, parents, tax payers and high schools when students go back and retake STEM courses. Not only does it cost millions, but it delays students' post-secondary plans.
  • Opportunity costs associated with lost job options and future earnings. Students are often late in discovering that their future career requires a background in at least one STEM course. This amounts to a loss of talent pool on the job market, and affects students' earning potential as, on average, people in STEM fields earn 26 per cent more.
  • Societal costs from losing key, talented people with the skills Canada needs to prosper and grow. A high-performing economy with quality programs depends on innovation – without a solid talent pool, Canada's performance staggers relative to its peer countries.

"Education in science, technology, engineering and math will be essential for many jobs that will be in great demand in the coming years," says Karen Burke, Ph.D., director, regulatory affairs, Amgen Canada. "As other nations put greater focus on these areas of learning, Canada must follow their lead to secure its future."

Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada's shared commitment to raising awareness of the importance of science education extends this year with Spotlight on Science Learning 2013: The high cost of dropping science and math. The new report is a follow-up to the 2012 Spotlight on Science Learning: A benchmark of Canadian talent, which looked at Canada's talent pool for science-based careers and identified that while our talent pool is strong in terms of performance, it is weak in terms of size.

This fall, Let's Talk Science and Amgen Canada are taking science on the road and visiting high school students across Canada to demonstrate the value of science in everyday life and for jobs of the future. For more information and to access the full report, please visit http://www.letstalkscience.ca/Spotlight.

About Let's Talk Science
Let's Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable, science outreach organization. Let's Talk Science creates and delivers science learning programs and services that turn kids on to science, keep them engaged in learning and develop their potential to become 21st century innovators and citizens. For more information about Let's Talk Science, please visit www.letstalkscience.ca.

This report was made possible by Amgen Canada.

About Amgen Canada
As a leader in innovation, Amgen Canada understands the value of science. With main operations located in Mississauga, Ont.'s vibrant biomedical cluster, and its research facility in Burnaby, B.C., Amgen Canada has been an important contributor to advancements in science and innovation in Canada since 1991. The company contributes to the development of new therapies or new uses for existing medicines in partnership with many of Canada's leading health-care, academic, research, government and patient organizations. To learn more about Amgen Canada, visit www.amgen.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Maggie MacLellan
Let's Talk Science
519-474-4081 ext. 239

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