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Science center visits increase interest in science, students say

Photo courtesy Ontario Science CentreNine in 10 Canadian university students say that trips to science centers and museums increased their interest in science and technology, according to a survey released May 1. The survey was conducted by the Canadian Strategic Counsel for software company CA Canada.

At a time when many Canadian educators are concerned about students’ declining interest in science and technology, the survey reveals that students’ interest in these subjects increases with hands-on, interactive experiences. Among the findings:
• 94 percent of those surveyed said that trips to science centers and museums increase their interest in science and technology.
• 90 percent said high school math, science, and technology should include more hands-on learning.

The survey of 482 Canadian university students also revealed that the top three reasons for not pursuing science or technology as a career choice in post-secondary education are that these fields of study are seen as “too complex,” “too boring,” and provide “uninteresting” work.

Speaking at the unveiling of a newly refurbished planetarium at Toronto’s Ontario Science Centre, astronaut Marc Garneau commented on the study. “Students are clearly saying that high school science and technology classes should have more hands-on learning to increase their interest in these subjects, making it more important than ever to bring children on school visits to science centers, planetariums, and museums so they can see the excitement of science and technology in action,” he said.

The refurbishment of the Ontario Science Centre’s Planetarium was supported through CA’s Together Community Grants, a program that supports organizations that focus on promoting education and technology.

About the image: Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space, shows grade nine students Raf Reza and Sivakami Mulvaganam galaxies beyond the Milky Way at the unveiling of the new CA Planeterium a the Ontario Science Centre.