Oct 10, 2021

Demystifying Vaccines

Introduction to Immunity
Introduction to Immunity

Under the theme 'Demystifying Vaccines', we hosted primary and secondary school students in some virtual STEM fun! We explored the world of vaccines, a hotly debated topic currently... 

Starting off with an explanation of our immune system and how it works, we discussed different kinds of immunity and the type that vaccines confer. We next delved into the stages of vaccine development, and eventually landed on the COVID-19 vaccines and what made them similar and different compared to the vaccines before them. 
Given differing public opinions, we designed this session to inform students about vaccines, and to encourage them to do their own research. The key take-away here was to seek out reliable (and multiple!) sources of information. 
During the first breakout room session, students were able to simulate an outbreak, with and without a vaccine, to see how it is that a highly vaccinated population developed herd immunity, thereby protecting even the unvaccinated from the virus. 
In the second session, students were given insight on what it's like to be a clinical trial participant, including the measures taken to protect the participants.
We got some feedback that the session boosted STEM interest and confidence, or reinforced dreams of pursuing STEM careers -
"My dream is to become a doctor and participating in this workshop has given me a new drive to pursue that dream."
 
"Boosts my knowledge because id like to be a doctor one day."
 
"It has increased my love for engineering."
 
For others, it increased their knowledge of the field, with one student having a chuckle over their newly found knowledge:
 
"I did not know what herd immunity was. I hadn't even HERD of it. Get my joke?"
 
We get the joke :) 
 
But one thing the students all had in common? They would all attend another STEPS workshop!
 
Here's to another successful STEPS, thank you for your continued support!!!
May 13, 2021

How do Coding and Lab Grown Meat go together?

What does it mean to be lab grown?
What does it mean to be lab grown?

How do Coding and Lab Grown Meat go together?

In a workshop designed to introduce cutting-edge technology, where we focus on innovation and environmental health – our students bring us back down to earth…

What topic are they most enthralled with? Cow farts!!

We harness their enthusiasm – after all, cows produce methane, which over time impacts climate change. So, the topic that intrigued our young audience could be the basis of a sustainable solution to our climate issue!

 We combine subject areas – computer science, biology, and engineering. Students were introduced to computer coding to simulate their very own lab grown meat! First, they generated code to create growth medium in a virtual environment. This became the ideal environment to “grow” their own laboratory derived meat. Next, Step by step, they coded “meat berries”.

The end result – “meat grown in a virtual lab!!” – as our students exclaimed. Using this multi-dimensional learning approach, we facilitated lively discussions on how lab-grown meat could positively influence the climate and the environment. We touched on topics ranging from how traditionally grown meat may be contaminated with bacteria after being slaughtered, and lab grown meat could avoid this bacterial contamination. We also discussed the potential for lab grown meat to provide more control over nutritional content, which became a strong topic for debate amongst the young minds.

Our participants thoroughly enjoyed the coding activity, many counting it as the activity they enjoyed most for the day. We were able to reignite one student’s passion for coding as they commented on that aspect as their favorite activity, “I loved coding but I forgot about it until they (the facilitators) were talking about it”.

Other students enjoyed learning about coding and its utility based on one of their future goals – to create an app. Another student’s feedback reassured us that we accomplished our mission when he said that the day’s activities influenced him to do more research into the world climate clock and what technology can do to help.

SOSA is dedicated to keeping all young students abreast of the advancement of technology in our world and how it may impact us. We appreciate your continued support in this venture!

Meat grown in a virtual lab!
Meat grown in a virtual lab!
Jan 13, 2021

STEPS 2020 - A Virtual Field Trip!

Lab grown meat discussion
Lab grown meat discussion

Given the realities of the pandemic, STEPS went virtual this year! We maintained our hands-on approach for our 150+ students! Our theme this year, “Do good for yourself, do good for the world”, had an overarching focus on climate change. Original videos and interactive games were created to engage students with concepts such as how agriculture, nutrition and technology can be utilized to improve the climate crisis by improving time on the climate clock.

 

Students learnt about modern inventions aimed at improving farming practices and how limiting the use of pesticides can decrease the run-off into neighbourhood water sources. They were also eager to learn how to be more eco-friendly and the importance of managing their food waste. Overall, they were excited to learn about the links between technology and agriculture processes that could either benefit or harm the environment.

 

Our participants found the sessions informative and interesting. They loved how interactive the sessions were, with over 90% giving a score of 8 out of 10 for how much fun they had! The students also left comments describing their STEPS experience, such as “This is a dream come true” and “I used to think STEM was boring, but now I think it is extremely fun”. One repeat participant said “This is even better than the first time I came to a STEPS workshop”, which perfectly reflects SOSA’s commitment to continuously improve the value of the program. Many students are in anticipation of their next invitation.

 

SOSA is definitely reaching its goal of creating ambassadors for STEM, as one student was sure to let us know “I am now considering to be a scientist and help the world”. It is exciting to see the impact of our program given the pandemic and we are happy to announce that we have more virtual programming coming up very soon!

 

Thank you for enabling us to continue to reach these students! Look out for more to come!!

Learning about Cell Culture!
Learning about Cell Culture!
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.