This past weekend, staff members and volunteers from the University of Waterloo’s Engineering Science Quest (ESQ) engaged hundreds of children and families in a dynamic quest of hands-on experiences at Ontario’s Celebration Zone at Harbourfront Centre during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games - the only program of it’s kind to be part of this initiative hosted by Ontario Tourism.
Founded by Waterloo engineering and science students in 1990 as a senior-year project, the collaborative ESQ program is now one of Canada’s largest science and engineering camps. Celebrating a significant 25 year milestone this week, ESQ runs multiple summer camps on the main Waterloo campus for youth and also offers March break, Winter break, after school and weekend programs, as well as various in-school andcommunity initiatives. The program fills over 2,500 summer camp spots each year and impacts over 7,000 youth through unique workshops and outreach opportunities.
In partnership with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, the University of Waterloo designed a post-card-style activation for Ontario’s Celebration Zone as an interactive way for young visitors to travel through the space as they learned more about science and engineering. Children collected ESQ activity stickers for their personal post-cards by participating in a series of hands-on stations, ending their quest with a fun photo-booth opportunity inspiring future learning and engagement with the University of Waterloo.
Youth had the opportunity to embark on an experience focusing on various aspects of science and engineering design, where they learned the importance of physics by designing and building Crash Cars and Rockin’ Rockets, watched Hydrophobic Sand never get wet, engineered a filter to clean up Dirty Water, and remotely wrestled Lego Robots. Fun and engaging science demonstrations including Elephant Toothpaste and its explosive results as a catalyst composition also captivated kids through hands-on lessons and visual presentations.
"Like sport, science is international and brings people together," says Katharine Tuerke, Communications Officer, Faculty of Science. "Seeing children from various countries, speaking different languages, all sharing a passion for discovery was a proud moment for Waterloo. We showed the world what we do best."
ESQ’s high-quality children’s programming approach is simple: put science and technology in the hands of young people, igniting their natural curiosity to explore the science behind their world and cultivate a commitment to lifelong learning, discovery, and entrepreneurship. The opportunity to exhibit a strong piece of our influential outreach programming in Ontario’s Celebration Zone allowed the University of Waterloo to not only build community in an innovative, high-touch space and reach new audiences, but more importantly, impact and empower the young minds of our future.
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