On November 5 and 20, an enthusiastic group of Waterloo Engineering students held two successful Education Outreach events at THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener. Waterloo Engineering Society directors have been organizing this event 1-2 times per term since Spring 2013.
The goal of the event is to interact with local youth at the children’s museum and to show them Engineering in action through hands-on experiments and activities. The activities run vary by term; this term they included acid-base indicator using red cabbage water, building earthquake proof towers with marshmallows and toothpicks, making and playing with oobleck, creating unconventional circuits with a Makey Makey, and the very popular egg drop.
The egg drop activity was very fun for all involved. The kids and their parents were very excited to make an encasement to protect the egg, which was then dropped from two floors above. It was amazing to see the creativity of the participants as they used different materials and decorations to protect their egg.
Not only is EngSoc’s Day at THEMUSEUM fun, everyone involved ends up learning something throughout the day. The kids learn from the activities, and how it applies to the world and their life in particular, with the help of the volunteers. The student volunteers learn how to best present information when they are so accustomed to a technical environment, and how to adjust the activity for a child depending on their age, interest, and abilities. Some activities were new and exciting to volunteers too, especially the Makey Makey. The parents enjoy themselves too, and with any luck, everyone leaves having learned something new.
It was important to the organizers to find a balance between fun activities and relating them to the everyday lives of those participating. A strong effort was made to explain why the experiments progressed the way they did, and to show the variety of engineering fields and applications.
The second event was particularly exciting as THEMUSEUM hosted the grand opening of its Underground Studio and Makerspace. The interactive space features soldering, 3D printing, woodworking, and much more. It’s a fantastic opportunity to increase awareness and access to technology for youth in the community, and Waterloo Engineering was very happy to be a part of the opening day.
A warm thank you goes to the Education Outreach directors and volunteers who made the events run so smoothly, and to THEMUSEUM staff who collaborated with the directors to make the events possible and successful.
Author: Emma Kennedy
I’m a second year Nanotechnology Engineering student at the University of Waterloo. I currently serve as Outreach Commissioner for Waterloo Engineering Society ‘A’, and I’m excited to share our events traditions with students across Ontario! Outside of school, I love to travel, cook, play music, and see concerts.