This year, York University’s Science Explorations Summer Camp for Grades 3 to 8 will feature curricula with a greater emphasis on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a new week-long program called Sustainable Science.
In its 17th year, the Science Explorations Summer Day Camp offers week-long camps exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through hands-on experiments, connected to the Ontario science curriculum, and led by undergraduate and graduate science or engineering students, teacher candidates, Ontario certified teachers and professors.
For this year’s camp sessions, the program team has continued to evolve the curriculum to reflect York’s ongoing commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Among the new additions is Sustainable Science, a Grade 7 to 8 camp, which runs from July 24 to 28 and Aug. 21 to 25. The new program will explore the science behind climate crises, while also empowering campers to use their STEM knowledge to design solutions for a healthier planet.
Sustainable Science may be dedicated to looking at the SDGs, but other programs will address them as well. “All of our curriculum will touch on some aspect of the SDGs,” says Cora Reist, manager of science engagement programs, of the more than a dozen camps being offered this summer. “Some of our programs are pre-existing programs, but we will have activities that lend themselves towards talking and discussing certain UN SDG goals.”
The camp team aims to do so by providing training to instructors on the SDGs and how to utilize the York toolkits on integrating the SDGs into the classroom, and encouraging Instructors to organically adapt camp programs to address them.
The evolving curriculum is not just reflective of the University’s priorities, but those attending the camp. “We see that a lot of kids are pushing for learning more about conservation, biodiversity and how can they become global citizens even at an early age,” Reist says. The evolving programming is meant to provide that, but also something else: hope. “The youth that I speak to sometimes get very sad about the state of things. By integrating ideas of sustainability and becoming a global citizen into our program, I’m hoping to put a positive spin on how we can take action and how there is hope for the future.”
Science Explorations Summer Camp will run weekly from July 4 to Aug. 25 with each camp one week in length, running from Monday to Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.