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Kids learn about science with hands-on experiments at UW open house


How do you get kids interested in STEM?

The University of Waterloo is hoping to spark the imagination of some future scientists, hosting an open house Saturday with fun, hands-on experiments.

“It’s for kids to come onto campus and interact with all kinds of science,” said Heather Neufeld, manager of science outreach at UW. “There’s activities engaging kids in every discipline.”

That includes chemistry, biology, physics and more.

The event is a fully interactive experience with experiments and exhibits for all ages and interests – from the tech savvy, to animal lovers and even future doctors.

“I love science,” said 9-year-old participant Zahra Ayinla.

“I was really excited to see all the different things that we could build and do,” added Kraina Kang, also 9-years-old.

The chemistry magic show was one of the more popular attractions. Kids could create cool colours, make fire and watch pumpkins explode.

“I think it’s important to have these opportunities and these activities for kids to come, get involved [and] test things out,” explained Allison Niblett, a mathematical physics major at UW.

She’s one of 300 student volunteers at the open house.

Niblett said she didn’t have events like this one when she was younger, and having a fully hands-on experience is crucial to getting kids interested in science.

“Learning about something in a textbook, in a classroom, that’s great,” explained Niblett. “Being able to connect it to the real world and actually physically doing it yourself, I think that’s really important.”

“It could be their first interaction with [science], ‘OK, this is what physics is and it’s not what I thought it was,’” said Neufeld. “Pretty much every person they’re engaging with is a student who’s here, so they’ll see people who look like them who are studying science and that’s the special part.”

This year’s event returned after a four year hiatus.

Organizers hope to bring the open back as an annual event with plans already in the works for next October. Top Stories

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