Nine-year-old Pvitter Brar peers intensely into the little stream below scanning for tiny salmon fry. Brar, along with 22 grade four classmates from South Poplar Traditional Elementary School in Abbotsford, is learning about the life cycle and habitat of salmon fry during "Salmon in the Valley" at Trinity Western University.
The group is part of over 480 students and 100 parents and teachers who attended this year's outdoor science class, which ran over four and a half weeks, presented in part by TWU's Environmental Studies Department. During these full days of environment-based field trips, students, parents and teachers learned about living organisms, simple food chains and how nature works in local forests.
One of the most popular activities with the grade four students was the "Salmon Wheel of Death" where students took turns spinning the wheel to see if they, as a salmon, lived or died. Only two percent of all salmon fry make it to adulthood and spawn.
Brar's teacher Kaylie Rooke, knows the value of this type of field trip. Learning about the "Salmon in the Valley" program while a student at Trinity Western University, Rooke says, "As a former science student, getting students to see that science is in the world around them, and is something to be embraced and enjoyed, is invaluable. The fact that the program is interesting and aligns excellently with the BC curriculum for Grade four is like icing on the cake!"
The "Salmon in the Valley" component is part of the larger Science in the Valley program where Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver students have the opportunity to participate not only in "Salmon in the Valley," but can also take field trips in Chemistry called "Matter Matters" and in Life Sciences called "Life Through a Looking Glass." It is here that students witness engaging science experiments like flaming methane bubbles, and examine flora and fauna families in biology.
2008 saw the biggest turn-out for the Science in the Valley program. Over 1660 students, representing 64 classes in over 37 private, public and home schools, attended the field trips.
With the Science in the Valley program receiving funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the "Salmon in the Valley" component also heavily sponsored by the Salmon River Enhancement Society (SRES), who not only sponsors classes to attend but also donates children's books about Salmon to each class, the value of these types of funded science programs are seeing success.
Dr. Craig Montgomery who is chair of the chemistry department at TWU and one of the initial creators of Science in the Valley says, "This has been our largest year for Science in the Valley. We are truly grateful to our funders that have supported this unique learning lab. So many young people, their teachers and parents were able to explore science in an exciting and practical way and we feel privileged to be able to facilitate this."
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2008-06-25