The fundamental goal of this project is to further expand upon and enhance the connection of expertise at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) with public school science programs. This proposal builds on
initiatives in the Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry over the past two years. The current project will focus on the combined efforts of the departments of Biochemistry, Biology and Chemistry in the Faculty of Science (FOS) and involve outreach and engagement opportunities for junior high students and their teachers from across the Avalon region to visit FOS laboratories and take part in two-and-a-half hours of hands-on activities and demonstrations designed to demonstrate and enhance understanding of provincial science curriculum outcomes. Through the participating departments, activities include the isolation and study of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and protein from common nutrients, the investigation of chemical displacement reactions as well as the isolation of chloroplasts and demonstration of photosynthesis.
By making use of use of infrastructure and equipment between the Winter and Fall university academic semesters, these experiential deep learning opportunities will work to not only support and enhance in-class instruction through hands-on exploration but will expose students to modern equipment and expertise that would otherwise be beyond the scope of the schools to offer. Visiting students will also benefit from the opportunity to establish a personal connection with MUN through their interaction with professors and laboratory staff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students involved in the delivery of this outreach program. Furthermore, valuable teaching experience will be gained by graduate and undergraduate students supporting this program by helping with in-lab instruction alongside seasoned professors and laboratory instructors.
This collaborative, iterative process will form the basis of a full-scale engagement project in future years
and intended to be extended to full-day visits for high school students and their teachers and well as a professional development component to extend hands-on learning in the sciences across the province.