Projects led by Carleton University’s Alfonso Abizaid and a team of researchers based in the Cooke Lab will receive funding as part of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience program.
Working in Steven Cooke’s lab, a team led by PhD student Jacqueline Chapman has created AquaTrax which will provide a free, curriculum-based resource for teachers focused on migration, ecology and conservation bringing the movement of wild animals into classrooms across Canada. The program will provide educators with:
- An accessible web-based platform and multimedia;
- Lesson plans with real-world data collected by scientists;
- Modules for juniors (Grades 4 to 6), intermediates (Grades 7 to 10), and senior (Grades 11 to 12).
“AquaTrax was created through the desire to re-connect students, from all regions and cultures in Canada, with wildlife and nature in a meaningful way,” said Jacqueline Chapman, PhD student at Carleton. “The data we are using is not only from our work, but also from other members of collaborative research networks, such as the Ocean Tracking Network. Using data that we have collected to engage youth with real world science is an extremely exciting extension of our research.”
For the last six years, the Society for Neuroscience Ottawa Chapter and Abizaid, professor in the Department of Neuroscience, have hosted the Ottawa Region Brain Bee, a neuroscience trivia competition. In this competition, interested students in Grades 10 to 12 come to Carleton to take a mini course in neuroscience and compete in a number of tests that include written and oral examinations on basic neuroscience and even clinical diagnosis of brain disorders.
The winner of the competition competes in the National Brain Bee that includes winners of local Brain Bees throughout Canada. During the last two years, the Chapter headed by Abizaid has started science clubs in two participating high schools in the Ottawa region with the help of two graduate students. This program was successful in increasing the number of participants in the final competition, as well as producing a set of students who have made the event very competitive.
“The support obtained by NSERC will help bring the Ottawa Brain Bee competition to a different level because it will increase the number and quality of participants, with the goal of fostering neuroscience research among high school students,” said Abizaid.
PromoScience supports hands-on learning experiences for young students and their science teachers. Grants under this program may be used to cover improvements to program content or delivery, as well as new programs and activities. Grants can also be used to cover operational costs, provided they relate to promotion of science and engineering.
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