Hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is hugely beneficial to increasing interest and understanding in science. By integrating Indigenous knowledge and teaching with western science, we will provide learning resources for teachers in Northern communities. We will specifically collaborate with the Jaanimmarik School in Kuujjuaq and aim to positively impact the students’ science education by making it more relevant and interesting. The main goal is to create continued and meaningful relationships with the students to encourage engagement and interest in STEM.
A major challenge faced by educators in rural, isolated and northern areas is access to resources and continuous support. Our project will provide hands-on activities to enrich current curricula with the associated physical and intellectual materials to the Jaanimmarik School in Kuujjuaq, combined with discussion between teachers and students with STEM experts. The proposed project will provide continuous educational support to teachers and students throughout the school year through both written and video communication. Continued communication will occur between the project coordinators at MUN and the collaborators at Jaanimmarik. Additional STEM support will be provided by STEM experts from across the country in both English and French, with an emphasis on Indigenous scholars.
Through on-going communication, enrichment activities can be easily incorporated into the required curriculum at the appropriate times. The experiments will be designed to be relevant to the world in which the students live, with the core values of exploration, critical questioning, and investigation. By collaborating with community members, we will incorporate and celebrate Indigenous and Inuit points of view, culture, and teachings. Our proposal is unique because of on-going support, tailoring to the specifics of the community, bringing in STEM experts from across the country, and connecting students with Indigenous scholars. Students will be exposed to many different careers in STEM in a reachable way, not as a person in a faraway city with a much different life to their own.
The result of this project will be a raised awareness of STEM and how it relates to daily life in Kuujjuaq as well as further education and careers in STEM. By fostering interest in STEM with grade-level appropriate activities and concepts, as well as integration of Indigenous perspectives and knowledge into STEM learnings, we will positively impact STEM engagement in this northern Inuit community.