If you were on the exhibit floor Tuesday morning during this year’s Joint Convention, you may have seen a younger than expected crowd!
KISP (Kids in Science Program) hosted 168 students from Our Lady of Peace and Sir John Franklin Junior High Schools Grades 7-9. The convention visit helps show students geoscience career opportunities in a fun and interactive way.
Small student groups visited 24 corporate and professional society exhibit booths. At each booth, the kids saw a short presentation by the host exhibitor then answered questions about the host’s technical or industry role. Students were accompanied by 36 “guides”; industry volunteers who answered general questions and kept the procession moving.
After their exhibit floor visit, the students enjoyed lunch in the Stampede Blue Room then participated in a rousing game of “Geo-pardy”, where they had the opportunity to test their geoscience knowledge in friendly competition. Christopher Collom and David Moore of EnerPlus did an excellent job as co-hosts-announcers-judges.
In the weeks before the convention trip, students attended informal, interactive, in-school presentations on paleontology, geology and geophysics. These presentations offered hands-on exposure to rocks, fossils and tools used by modern industry, plus some one-on-one time with professional geoscientists. The Burgess Shale fossils and a “seismic shot” were popular interactive experiences.
Feedback from the students, the teachers, the guides and the host-exhibitors has been great! The students love the exhibit floor (and the free trinkets); “totally awesome” and “this place is so cool!” and “can we go back after lunch?” were heard over the general din at lunch. The guides and exhibitors enjoy the interaction and energy of a captive young crowd. Teachers are using the question sheets prepared on the trip to incorporate geoscience instruction into their programs. Additional feedback on the in-school presentations from at least one student demographic is that “Markus (Ebner) is totally hot!”
KISP is sponsored by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation, and funding is provided by CSPG, CSEG and APEGGA. Our professional societies have hosted convention visits to students in the past, but KISP in its present form was developed by Randle Robertson, Director of the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation and Dave Middleton, then CSPG Outreach Director. They recognized that junior and senior high school curricula are usually short in earth science courses at a time when students are making future career decisions. Exposure to the variety of geoscience opportunities available may influence their career choice. During their lifetimes, these students will face critical issues on power generation, water supply, waste disposal, air quality and food supply. It is important to give them the knowledge necessary to make appropriate decisions, even if they are not professional earth scientists.
The objectives of KISP are:
- 1. To re-introduce Earth Sciences into the science curricula for junior high school students and teachers in Alberta;
- To expose students to various careers options and appropriate levels/types of education in the geological sciences;
- To create an interest among junior high school students to pursue post-secondary studies in the earth sciences;
- To provide students with the knowledge to make informed decisions on management of diminishing resources;
- To inform students about the significance of the Burgess Shale UNESCO–World Heritage Site.
The Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation, the CSEG, the CSPG and APEGGA wish to thank all the volunteers who participated, with a special thanks to the host-exhibitors and to the KISP Committee members. Thanks also to the helpful and flexible Stampede staff. It was through all of your efforts that this year’s KISP was a “totally awesome” success!