The Youth Science Foundation... Something for Everyone
By Cynthia Gardiner Evans
Volume 15 Number 3
If you have, or work with children who are interested in science, read on. You will learn about the programs and publications developed by Canada's leading organizer of science activities and resources suitable for a wide range of ages and levels of interest.
The organization mentioned above is the Youth Science Foundation (YSF), a nonprofit organization whose aim is to promote an appreciation and understanding of science in every young Canadian. The YSF has been developing science activities for over twenty years. . . and there is something for everyone.
The YSF is perhaps best known for its organization of the annual Canada-Wide Science Fair, which each year attracts over three hundred of Canada's top students, competing for over $50,000 in awards and scholarships sponsored by various corporations and government departments. The first Canada-Wide Science Fair was held in 1962, and attracted forty-five participants from twelve regions. In 1986, the Fair had grown to over three hundred participants from seventy-eight regions across Canada. This year's Fair will be held in Mississauga, Ontario from May 10-17 at the Erindale Campus of the University of Toronto.
Another YSF program is the National Science Awards, which was first introduced in 1984 in order to provide national recognition for students who participate in science fairs at the regional level. The aim of this program is to stimulate interest, excellence, and creativity among science fair participants and to encourage potential Canadian scientists.
The Young Scientists of Canada (YSC) is another YSF program developed to encourage students to get involved in science. This national student-run organization was first launched in 1975 by a group of science fair participants who wanted to unite those students who have an interest in science. The YSC, since its inception, has been involved in a wide variety of activities. For instance, YSC chapters have participated in cultural and educational exchanges with students in Third World countries, written articles for scientific journals and newspapers, organized science activities for other students, and assisted with local science fairs. The YSC is a dynamic group that gives its members the opportunity to take an active role in solving the scientific and technical problems of today and tomorrow.
Another YSF initiative is the Canada Awards for Participation in Science program, which is an awards program that recognizes participation and achievement in science while also encouraging individual accomplishment and effort. Similar to the fitness awards, students can complete science activities to earn bronze, silver, and gold medals in recognition of their efforts. The activities are designed to complement and enrich the school curriculum, but can be performed outside the classroom in youth groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, or science clubs. The program is for students in grades 4 to 10.
Science Olympics is a problem-solving forum developed by the YSF, with the aim of stressing the fun side of science and strengthening the self-confidence of those participating. Events in this program cover all areas of science and are adaptable to all grade levels. During Science Olympics events, students are brought together for the purpose of working with one another to solve a common problem . In some instances, participants know all the details concerning the problem prior to the event, so that they can prepare accordingly. In other cases, students are made aware of the problem upon arrival at the event. These two formats place different demands on the students, yet both are highly educational and fun. Science Olympics events may be organized by schools, Boy Scout and Girl Guide groups, science clubs, or summer camps.
These are just a few of the many programs developed by the Youth Science Foundation. We also, however, produce several publications that actively involve readers in a unique, hands-on manner.
Our newest addition to the publications list is Flabbergast, an exciting new science magazine for curious young kids between the ages of seven and fourteen years. Flabbergast is both fun and educational. Each issue is brimming with hands-on science activities, puzzles, games, short-story contests, and informative feature articles on the human body the stars, animals, and much more. It also has a monthly column written by Dr. David Suzuki.
Flabbergast is proving to be a great success. Parents, teachers, librarians, and children are showing us how much they enjoy it by sending us glowing testimonials.
The magazine is vividly illustrated throughout with cartoons featuring the "Flabbergast Gang," a group of adventurous children with whom readers can easily identify. A one year subscription (11 issues) costs only $14. . .a small price to pay for 365 days of fun.
The Youth Science News is our publication for high school students. Published six times a year, each informative issue keeps readers abreast of current scientific issues and career trends as reported by high school students from across Canada.
"Science is. . . ' one of our newest initiatives, is a three-ring binder filled with over four hundred pages of fascinating, fun-filled activities for children aged seven to fourteen years. It covers ten subject areas, from Matter and Energy to Weather and Living Creatures, and is divided into three major sections ("Quickies," "Make Time," and "One Leads to Another"). This book is particularly useful for teachers, librarians, and camp counsellors.
The Youth Science Foundation has also published the Science Safari Activity Book which is part of the Canada Awards for Participation in Science program. The book is a collection of science activities ranging from the simple to the complex, divided into three sections: observation, experimentation, and problem-solving. Topic areas cover a wide range; from the human body and plants, to aerodynamics and gravity. Activities can be copied from the book for use in the classroom. Each activity is illustrated and sections are colour coded. The activities have been tested by over one hundred classes of students, and have been found to be very educational and enjoyable.
In addition to these magazines and books, the Youth Science Foundation publishes brochures on science fair project tips, science fair judging guidelines, careers in science, and much more.
It is almost impossible to outline all of the Youth Science Foundation's programs and publications. The above is just a sample of the wide variety of activities and resources we have developed for children of all ages. If you would like more information on these and other YSF projects, please write to:
Youth Science Foundation
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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