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Alberta’s Science Networks

Alberta’s Science Networks

Published: 02/15/2011 by Patty Rooks

» Education & Learning Support

The Alberta Science Literacy Association operates Science Networks across the province of Alberta. These networks are uniquely placed to offer science curriculum support to all educators at any stage of the science curriculum. Through the combination of volunteers and resource kits, the networks work to accommodate individual educators as well as any classroom needs with a focus on teaching science basics. Most networks work closely with local and regional science fairs offering support, mentors, as well as judges. All services and resources are free or available at a very low cost to make them as accessible as possible and are designed to meet the Alberta Learning Science Curriculum outcomes.

Praxis – Science and Technology Hotline
The Praxis Science & Technology Hotline is centered in Medicine Hat but covers over 29,000 square kilometres in south-eastern Alberta. The hotline offers a variety of services including speakers, Operation Minerva Conference, field trip support, industrial tours, workshops and career counseling. Praxis also offers a number of resource kits.
The resource kits have all the resources required to develop a hands-on learning experience including creative ideas and experiments to make the concept come alive. Kits are booked through the Praxis Regional Executive Director and a partial listing of all kits is available for view at the Praxis website.
Operation Minerva is a conference providing Grade 9 girls the opportunity to job shadow women in science careers to get a first-hand look at opportunities open to them as young Albertans.  It has actively promoted science education to girls in a variety of Alberta communities for 17 years.

Grande Prairie and Area Environmental Sciences Education Society (GPESES)
As a relatively new Network, the GPESES has been busy developing programs and resources for educators. Covering a vast area in the northern part of the province, GPESES has had to be creative in providing outreach resources to educators and schools in this district. Learning opportunities in this region include an annual Envirothon and “Walk through the Forest” program. The Enviothon brings together teams of high school students for fun, friendly competition and learning. The Walk through the Forest program operates in conjunction with National Forestry Week (the first week in May) and provides a  hands-on multi-station [12] information session about life in the Boreal Forest for students in grades four to six. 

Central Alberta Science Network (CASN)
The Central Alberta Science Network has a very active “Scientist and Engineers in the Classroom” program. While generally restricted to presentations within a 50 kilometre radius of travel outside of Red Deer, the network regional executive director has developed a number of resources that can be used in settings with local volunteers. For example, the Grade 5 Chemistry unit covers some basic chemical concepts that are critical to developing a more complex understanding of future chemistry units. Using an outline that lists experiments and materials, local pharmacists can be approached to deliver the workshop to these students. Students begin to understand not only the principles of the chemistry unit, but develop some ideas about scientists in the real world. The CASN also is a coordinating body for the Central Alberta Science Festival, which runs annually in the last week in May and has had over 7,000 people in attendance in recent years.

Calgary Science Network
CSN programs bring science to life for thousands of Calgary area students. Their signature program Scientists and Engineers in the Classroom allows volunteer scientists, engineers and researchers to bring specialist knowledge and in-depth scientific content into schools. In collaboration with teachers, the demonstrations and hands-on activities enhance the science curriculum, increase science awareness among students, stimulate scientific thinking and put a human face on the scientific community. Topics are varied and might include plants, animals, classroom chemistry, flight, biological diversity, planet earth, blood types, robotics ...you name it! 
CSN’s high quality teacher workshops inspire science teachers and their students. 
An experienced science teacher and enthusiastic volunteer cooperatively lead each PD workshop, ensuring accurate science and classroom friendly lesson plans. These great workshops get your students excited about science with next day lesson ideas and hands on, minds on activities!

Edmonton Science Outreach Network
Edmonton Science Outreach Network programs are designed to show the importance of science in our lives through hands on interactive and fun activities.  Thanks to the dedication of volunteers EOSN is able to offer most programs free of charge. ESON is committed to the idea that interactive hands-on science, taught by people who love science and have made science their career, is the best way to bring science to life. They also try to encourage more young people to pursue a career in science and technology. 
Experts from the scientific community volunteer their time to deliver the very popular Scientists and Engineers in the Classroom program. The Ask a Scientist program is where you can ask our team of volunteers a scientific question you have been pondering over.  Science kits are available and will predominantly be used by educators in classrooms. These will be available to borrow free of charge for a two week loan period (can be extended depending on availability). The kits will include scientific equipment, full instructions, supporting materials and additional information for topics linked to the science curriculum. 

Southern Alberta Technology Council
The Southern Alberta Technology Council (SATC) is the newest group to join Alberta’s science scene. This group has been very active in southwest Alberta conducting Sci-Fusion, its annual science fair and games. The science fair is held on Friday and Saturday. Fair participants (grades 4 through 12 students) are automatically registered to participate in the Science Olympics on Saturday afternoon.
SATC will formally be opening an office in 2010 and looks forward to adding the Scientists and Engineers in the Classroom program to its growing list of resources. 
All six science networks sponsor local science events within their communities through partnerships with other science organizations, libraries and local community groups. They are a compilation of fabulous resources of people and ideas that are designed to help make science exciting and real to students and to the general public. To learn more about programs and assistance offered by Alberta’s science networks, contact a network near you today!
The Alberta Science Literacy Association is committed to the promotion of science and technology literacy by improving public awareness and understanding of scientific and technological processes, skills and knowledge through developing databases and resources and creating communication linkages between the general public and the scientific, engineering and technological sectors. Don’t hesitate to contact a network in your area!  <>