Imagination the Inspiration for National Science & Technology Week

By Kimberly Nishikaze

Don't be afraid to ask, "How can that be done?" That's the challenge APEGGA President Dennis Lindberg, P.Eng., posed to more than 150 enthusiastic elementary school students and the other guests who participated in the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) kick-off event, on Oct. 15, at the Edmonton Space and Science Centre. NSTW, held Oct. 17-26, marked ten days of imagination and inspiration for many young Albertans as APEGGA organized events around the province to raise awareness of the positive impact of science and technology, and the contributions made by engineers and geoscientists.

Interactive Displays

The simultaneous kick-off events in Edmonton and Calgary were co-sponsored by the Association, the Edmonton Space and Science Centre, the Calgary Science Network and the Calgary Science Centre. Grade 4-6 students in both cities were transported to the centres courtesy of APEGGA for an exciting half-day of hands-on science activities. Members of Edmonton's science and technology community helped the students understand more about the everyday impact of science by setting up interactive displays. The students also visited the Internet "Surf Zone", chemistry demonstration classroom, and Sport Science exhibit.

The highlight of the day, however, was the Balloon Buggy Race. Teams of students were asked to build a vehicle from specific materials and then have the "buggy" propelled by escaping air from a balloon. The challenge -- travel the most distance. At the end of the morning, the best buggies from each school competed in a wheel-to-wheel race that brought out the school spirit in all of the participants. When the dust settled and the last buggy had crossed the finish line, the vehicle from Eastbrook Elementary School was declared the winner, having travelled 7.24 metres. The total distance travelled by the best vehicle from each school was then combined and the results were compared to the Calgary challenge. In the end, the creations of Edmonton's young scientists edged out Calgary's with a total distance travelled of 44.66 metres versus 43.70 metres.

Science Is Fun

Mr. Lindberg summed up the day's experience for a local reporter: "Events like this show that science can be fun, and is indeed fun, and it's very important to the economy of our province."

Around the province, APEGGA volunteers took to local shopping centres to bring science to the masses, and helped organize local science festivals and seminars. There were rock and fossil clinics in Edmonton and Calgary, and a Science Olympics competition in Fort McMurray. In addition, a province-wide competition co-sponsored by the Association and Science Alberta Foundation challenged students to build a "Whimsical Machine" that used energy transfer to accomplish the task of raising a flag. The competition deadline had not passed at the time of publication and the results of this event will be published in a future edition of The PEGG.