Executive Director Mayrose Salvador featured on Be the Next Her

Executive Director Mayrose Salvador featured on Be the Next Her

“I am the first one in my family to go to grad school and come from a small town where many people still don’t understand what a chemist does, much less what is done in PhD research. During visits back to my town, I realized that very little had changed in how children are taught science since I myself was in grade school — it was too theoretical, which made it too abstract and unapproachable.” – Mayrose Salvador

 

Our Executive Director, Mayrose Salvador was recently featured on Be the Next Her, a modern-day career blog for women to share their career, life experiences, stories and advice to inspire other women and girls to be successful.

In this article, Mayrose tells the story that lead to the inception of Pueblo Science, as well as some of the activities that go on day-to-day at our organization!

Read the full article here!

Palmerston STEM Night

Palmerston STEM Night

Part of our initiative at Pueblo Science is to spread Science awareness among the youth. On March 22nd 2018, we were a part of Palmerston Public School’s STEM Night, demonstrating physics and chemistry concepts to students at the school. Over a hundred students from grades 1 to 6 participated in activities at the event; including highly successful Chromatography and Phosphorescence demonstrations run by our dedicated volunteers, who took time out of their busy schedules in university and high school to help us reach out to the community.

Students participated in hands-on activities to explore science in a fun, engaging way. Chromatography, a common lab technique to separate a mixture, was shown to students by letting them create their own “Chromatography Buttons”. The future scientists drew designs on paper and watched as water spread the pigments in their markers across the sheet. The patterns that were formed were then pressed onto button pins, which they got to take home. The next activity was to demonstrate Phosphorescence. The students shone laser light onto a phosphorescent surface to create laser drawings. They were thrilled to see the drawings stay on the surface even after the laser light was switched off.

We would like to thank Palmerston for letting us be a part of their STEM Night. Being able to share our love for Science with the community means so much to all of us!

by: Russel Hassan

Encouraging the Next Generation of Women Innovators

Encouraging the Next Generation of Women Innovators

In the days leading up to International Women’s Day, Executive Director Mayrose Salvador had the opportunity to talk to media sites across Canada promoting gender equality and discussing ways to encourage more women to work in STEM.

Women comprise a significant percentage of STEM degrees graduates, yet they are under-represented in STEM careers with 20 per cent fewer women than men. STEM is an important part of society and holds many jobs in the future, which raises the question:

Why aren’t more women involved?

The low number of women in STEM is a bias that self-perpetuates with a lack of interest. It’s the perception that boys are curious, while girls are reserved, that we give boys Lego blocks and girls dolls. Girls are statistically more likely than boys to avoid STEM-intensive programs, which prevents them from pursuing STEM fields. The process of bridging the gap between men and women in the sciences starts with raising interest among the female youth, sending the message that STEM prowess is not limited to just boys and that anyone can succeed in the field.

In her interviews with news coverage, including City News Toronto , CTV Calgary (starts at 24:00), Newstalk 610 CKTB (St Catherines), the Jim Harrison Show (Kamloops), the Jon McComb Show (Vancouver), and Digital Journal, Mayrose explained the importance of getting girls into STEM and engaging them from a young age through education. The best way to introduce them to STEM is through hands-on and inquiry-based learning.

During the interview with CTV Calgary, an example was given on how a simple wind turbine made with easily obtainable inexpensive parts is very effective in teaching electricity. This underscores the importance of education and training that is geared towards hands-on and inquiry based modules.

Pueblo Science has been involved in school STEM clubs and science fairs since inception. One way of raising the engagement level of young girls is to make science camps accessible for them regardless of their socioeconomic status.

“I personally think that there is a lack of role models. Girls need to see what is possible and get advice on how to do it.”

Strong role models and mentorships are important in building an interest in the sciences. We strive to lead by example. From our volunteers to researchers, we have a strong presence of women who are excellent role models. Another way to provide role-models is to bring in accomplished women in science as speakers in schools.

It’s very important to raise awareness of and celebrate successful female role models. An excellent example is Julie Payette who is an astronaut, engineer and currently Governor General of Canada!

Accomplishments and the Future

Pueblo Science has trained over 2,500 teachers in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean since 2011 and we are already gaining traction in these overseas communities as well as in Canada. We are looking forward to launch a new program this year for the indigenous communities in Canada that will allow science professionals to teach fun science to teenage girls.

Pueblo Science getting exposure like this to the general public is extremely exciting. Being able to reach out through the various news outlets for International Women’s Day helps raise the profile for our initiative, and we’re so glad to see Mayrose out there for us!

by Russel Hassan

How Canada can bridge its gender deficit in STEM subjects?

How Canada can bridge its gender deficit in STEM subjects?

STEM fields in Canada are dominated by men — with 20 per cent fewer women venturing into such careers. How can this imbalance be addressed? Mayrose Salvador, founder of Pueblo Science, has some answers.

One reason why so few women are studying or employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas is due to a lack of interest in STEM programs among women early on. A recent study by Ismael Mourifie, assistant professor of Economics at the University of Toronto revealed that statistically, girls tend not to choose more math-intensive STEM programs due to math anxiety, which underscores the need for early learning intervention.

This prompts the question: “How can Canada address this STEM gender deficit early on?” On International Women’s Day, Digital Journal spoke with Mayrose Salvador, founder of Pueblo Science, a Toronto-based charitable organization which works to advance science education across the world.

Read full article here .

Hart House Family Sunday: It’s all about the bases (and acids)

On January 21, Pueblo Science hosted its fifth Curious Kids Love Science! event in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Family Sundays program at Hart House. Our volunteers devoted their time and energy to create a successful event bringing joy and excitement to over 80 participants. Through a range of visual and hands-on activities, we covered many scientific fields such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Children had the opportunity to put their creative minds to work by making their own life-sized body maps using arts and crafts supplies for modeling body parts. Family members also got busy helping children with tracing and assisting them in creating the model human body. Kids loved getting their hands dirty by making their own colourful slime while learning about what polymers are, where we find them, and how we use them. The little chemists also explored acidic and basic properties of household materials by noting the changes in the colour of the indicator, red cabbage juice, as each sample was added. Last but not least, children built and decorated their own climbing puppets and competed with each other to see whose puppet could climb up the spring the fastest.

With the help of our volunteers and the Hart House Staff, over 30 families were able to enjoy our science experiments, for which we had one of the largest attendances at Hart House. We would like to say a special thanks to Carly Stasko, who made this possible by coordinating the Hart House staff and providing us with materials for the experiments.

by Adrienn Goczi

RISE in the First Nations community

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In addition to all the work that we do abroad, Pueblo Science is excited to expand the RISE program to low-resource communities in Canada. Admittedly, numerous indigenous communities face many challenges and education is at the forefront of them. Basic science education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse for many of the youth. And basic science is best conveyed with fun and hands-on activities and enthusiastic teachers. Right now, we are in need of $5,000 to provide a week-long camp for 40 students in the Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario in May 2018. Our goal is to encourage young students to get interested in science by making it relevant to their everyday lives and respectful of their culture.

Thank you for your generosity.

Why This Global Citizen of Canada Uses Ice Cream to Teach Kids Science

Why This Global Citizen of Canada Uses Ice Cream to Teach Kids Science

Founder and executive director of Pueblo Science Dr. Mayrose Salvador speaks with Jackie Marchildon from Global Citizen about how the organization started and where it’s heading.

“I believe that science education is a long-lasting way to solve poverty and problems that the populations in those rural areas are currently facing.”

To learn more about how teaching Science teachers to make ice cream can lead to positive change in their communities, read the full article here.

Introduction to the Scientific Method

Introduction to the Scientific Method

by Jonathan Lau and Dr. James Li

When we were young, we often asked why? or how? to understand the things around us. Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? How do rainbows form? Why? Why? Why? Sometimes, our stream of endless questions may irritate our parents, and the more impatient may finally capitulate to because that’s the way it is , or worse, because I said so . However, the keen parent, may instead recognize a teachable moment, and respond with why do you think this is happening, let’s explore…. From this initial inquiry, we may begin to form a hypothesis , which is a word derived from Greek hypo- meaning under and -thesis meaning placing, and together gives the meaning of foundation. This is a common human experience, to want to understand the foundation of our observable universe, the place we live in.

For example, playing by the ocean, you notice that a stone thrown in the ocean will sink, yet a beach-ball floats.You ask: why does the stone sink, and the beach-ball float? Well, what else floats? Curious, you attempt throwing a bunch of things into the water: various toys, a football, pieces of paper and plastic, your mom’s phone (wait stop!).

Could it be the shape? To explore this, you hypothesize that round objects float, while non-round objects sink. Yet, you immediately remember your observation that the beach ball and the stone were both round, but gave different outcomes. And, your toy tugboat floats, and it isn’t round! Hypothesis incorrect. Could it be the material? You then form the hypothesis that rubber objects float, and metallic and “hard” objects sank. You observe that most metallic objects and rocks sank, but those rubber balls did not. But you did notice that a deflated beach ball sank as well. Hrrmm… this hypothesis is also incorrect.

Could it be the weight? Hypothesis: heavy things sink, and light things float. You decide this must be it! You happily boast to your friends, who’ve been throwing things right alongside you all this while, and run gleefully to your parents to announce your breakthrough. But wait, your dad’s boat, surely is heavier than all these items you’ve been throwing in the ocean, and it floats. Hypothesis is yet again disproven.

Congratulations, you have been thinking like a scientist!

This cycle of hypothesis and experiment will continue, until you’ve come up with a hypothesis that stands the scrutiny of yourself and your friends’. Most likely, you’ll run out of things to toss, and/or your parent decides that the teachable moment has passed, and may begin guiding you towards the concept of density along with a tale of Archimedes’ Eureka moment.

In the scenario above, you:
1. observed something, became curious about it, and started asking questions;
2. formed a hypothesis to provide an explanation;
3. carried out experiments to prove or disprove your hypothesis based on evidence;
4. modified your hypothesis and experimented repeatedly, until you arrived at the correct prediction.
5. in the process, presumably, you also consulted credible sources (your parents) and that one really smart neighbour, and engaged your playmates in discussions about the accuracy and precision of your methods, all the while recording your observations in your handy notebook (you have learned your alphabet haven’t you?).

While science does have a lot of facts to memorize, especially from textbooks, the true nature of science is not memorization. Rather, the scientific method is used to fulfill that curiosity inside all of us. We take for granted the facts we memorize, but understand that it was another person, or teams of scientists just like us, that worked very hard to prove them. However, scientific facts only stay facts if other people can repeatedly confirm they get the same results, no matter if they live in Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Canada, China, or Antarctica! Most importantly, scientific findings must stand the test of time – does the evidence discovered centuries ago still remain true today? If I looked through a telescope pointed at Jupiter, would I still see its four moons that the father of Physics, Galileo Galilei, discovered 400 years ago? Yes, I would, except I would expect to see 63 more known smaller moons orbiting Jupiter discovered by others since then, meaning there could be more moons left to discover! This is the progress of science – discovering truth by building on previous discoveries.

The scientific method is by no means perfect. Existing tools and technologies may be insufficient to prove or disprove a hypothesis, some people lie about their evidence, some experiments are poorly designed or executed, or maybe even politics gets involved. However, at present, the scientific method is the best way for us to systematically understand the observable universe and reliably produce facts to expand on our knowledge. If scientists ever make a mistake, the great thing is that there will always be another group of scientists to challenge them. This keeps the pursuit of knowledge pure and transparent. A flaw will eventually be detected by someone curious enough to ask a question – perhaps this person will be you!

Pueblo Science Co-Founder was a Panelist at Entrepreneurship 100

Pueblo Science Co-Founder was a Panelist at Entrepreneurship 100

Dr. Salvador was a panelist for the Entrepreneurship 100 Conversations on October 5, 2017 at the University of Toronto. The event was focused on Social Entrepreneurship and was designed was designed for current students, recent graduates, and alumni. Dr. Salvador shared hared what inspired her to launch and propel Pueblo Science to reach seven countries in seven years. She hopes that the event inspired the students to take action and help make this world a better place.

An article about the event and what Dr. Salvador talked about was published by The Medium.

Science can be fun to teach

Science can be fun to teach

Over one hundred (100) high school science teachers from the length and breadth of Jamaica and from the  science  disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, Integrated science) converged on  the campus of The MICO University college for the three-day event. Teachers were awed through hands- on science activities using mainly local materials and covering some content areas of the National Standards Curriculum, and the Caribbean Examinations Council syllabi for the science subjects.

The aim of the workshop was to enable teachers to create an environment and opportunities for students to develop a love for science, hopefully translating into greater interest in science subjects and ultimately larger numbers of students opting to do the sciences in secondary school exit examinations.

The workshop was a very stimulating, exciting and novel experience for most teachers, who deemed it “successful” in demonstrating how simple fun ways in which science concepts are  taught can bring joy, excitement and enthusiasm to students.

According to Mrs. Sharon Thompson Jordan teacher of biology, “ this exposure has motivated me so much, not only to share concepts which I teach with my students but to begin a Science club which will see the utilisation of the various other concepts exposed to me outside of my area of teaching”.

The leader of the Pueblo Science group Mayrose Salvador, in commenting on the experience  of the group in Jamaica said, “We’re all very happy to have interacted with the science teachers of Jamaica and learn first-hand how receptive and dedicated they are to learning fun and novel ways of teaching science. The energy they displayed during the workshop was quite inspiring for us as scientists who go out into the world more often to share our expertise and strive to solve real world problems being faced in communities or schools. We’re all excited to go back home and continue to develop more experiments that teachers can use in their classrooms. We hope that the training will serve as a catalyst for further innovation of STEM activities and demonstrations that use locally available resources and promote collaboration…”

The event was sponsored by Solar Market Ja, the Association of Science Teachers of Jamaica, the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica as well as Pueblo Science and IBM Jamaica.

This piece was published by the Association of Science Teachers of Jamaica.