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Naujaat students explore new science challenges

Students at Tuugaalik High School enjoyed having a new twist on an old science program this past week.

Senior high students Terrance Mapsalak, Eric Katokra and Jay Mapsalak, from left, ponder over their wind-power design while Lamimiki Malliki helps students in the background during the STEM Challenge at Tuugaalik High School in Naujaat on Nov. 29. photo courtesy of Julia MacPherson

National charity Actua took control of this year's science project the STEM Challenge (science, technology, engineering and math), replacing the SET (science, engineering and technology).

The challenges in Naujaat were Catch the Pollutants for grades seven and eight and Wind Power for grades nine to 12.

Jenifer Spencer is the senior manager of education and outreach for Actua. She said Actua has been working in Nunavut for the past 15 years doing school and science workshops and camps. She said Actua is getting close to holding a week-long summer science camp in every Nunavut community.

“We've been building our relationships with the teachers and doing teacher training on how to make science a little bit more relevant in the classroom,” said Spencer.

“We've also been working with the various science committees, including the Kivalliq Science Educators Committee, which is just fantastic.

“So, we're really excited to be jumping into this with the teachers and taking on doing the STEM Challenge for the whole territory, across all three regions.”

Spencer said Actua had consultations with Nunavut teachers this past spring, in particular teachers from the science committees.

She said they were able to propose activities, making sure they were connected to the curriculum for the teachers and then, with some back and forth, they came to a workable plan.

“There are now 34 schools in Nunavut, from all three regions doing the STEM Challenge, with 8 schools in Kitikmeot, 13 schools in Kivalliq and 13 schools in Qikiqtani,” Spencer said.

“We created challenges for all the students, kindergarten to Grade 12, with five challenges in total.

“We will have results soon and we're going to review those results and come-up with winners in each challenge regionally and also a territory-wide winner for each challenge, as well.”