The universe is a big place and every child should feel like he or she has the opportunity to explore it.
A unique science outreach program called Blast Off! is sparking interest in space science learning among under-served, at-risk youth in British Columbia. Blast Off! is offered by the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, along with Surrey School District and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Faculty of Applied Sciences. Support from NSERC’s PromoScience initiative helps the program offer a combination of in-school and after school programming.
Educators from the space centre visit schools with a portable planetarium, the Starlab 2.0. Inside the large dome, digital displays let students walk on the moon, stand on the surface of Mars and have the Milky Way at their fingertips.
After-school programming focuses on disengaged boys in grades four to six and includes intensive science programming on Saturdays to advance their skills and knowledge. Students also take part in a one-week science camp with trips to the space centre and SFU’s Mechatronics Lab, where they learn about future possibilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.
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