Engineering a Bright Future
Through Fun and Learning
By Tracy Sopkow
National Engineering Week (March 4-11) was
an opportunity for Alberta’s engineers, geologists and geophysicists to
take their work out of their offices and into their communities in order
to increase awareness and appreciation of the engineering and geoscience
professions. Various activities sponsored by APEGGA and corporate supporters
around the province were aimed at sparking an interest among today’s youth
in engineering, math and science, and illustrating the pervasive role
engineers and geoscientists play in our daily lives.
The festivities began in Grande Prairie as more than 500 students, staff
and families of Aspen Grove School and Avondale School were treated to
two fantastic nights of science. Local engineers and geoscientists, along
with students from the college were on hand March 6 and 9 to interact
with families and explain the many wonders of science that make things
possible in everyday life through hands-on activities and demonstrations.
Comments received to date indicate that all in attendance had a super
In Calgary, National Engineering Week corporate supporter Fluor Daniel
Canada, Inc. organized a series of events for its employees and students.
In a test of experience versus youth, Fluor employees met head-to-head
with teams of students from Central Memorial High School in Calgary in
a test of skill. On March 9, Fluor hosted an Engineers’ Luncheon at Carriage
House Inn. Fluor engineers were invited to hear special guest speaker
Ian Hutcheon, P.Geol., PhD, from the University of Calgary, speak on the
topic of global warming and how current issues are related to this year’s
National Engineering week theme — Anything’s Possible!
To end the week, nearly 800 students in Grades 1-12 gathered in rooms
in Edmonton, Brooks and Fort McMurray to compete in Science Olympics on
Saturday, March 11. The event was an opportunity for students to experience
the challenge of competing against the clock and their peers, using ingenuity
and problem-solving skills to construct projects in advance and solve
mystery events revealed at the competition.
Competing as teams, students were asked to solve problems that dealt
with both the pure and applied sciences. Participating teams assembled
models of DNA coding; identified bones extracted from owl pellets; built
the strongest paper chair; designed apparatus capable of lighting a match
by using a steel ball; and manufactured catapults, clocks and pasta towers.
Students were acknowledged
for their efforts with medals, certificates and trophies, but true satisfaction
for competitors came from trying their best and having a great time.
Throughout the week, students and educators across the province were
invited to compete against one another in a provincial challenge sponsored
by APEGGA. The challenge is designed to get students from Kindergarten
to Grade 12 to consider and apply engineering principles in a hands-on
activity. Using limited materials, elementary teams across the province
worked to build balloon-powered vehicles, while junior and senior high
students tested their knowledge of structures, designing Popsicle stick
pillars capable of holding the most weight.
Volunteers from the APEGGA branches were on hand at various schools to
judge the designs and offer advice and encouragement. Response across
the province has been phenomenal, making it clear that the engineers of
tomorrow are alive and well in Alberta classrooms.
A big thank you to all the volunteers, organizers, sponsors, participants
and spectators for making the first National Engineering Week of the new
millennium such a huge success.
results click here.