Bright Lights in the Lab is back for a second year with an expanded program for students who love science. Once again the camp was hosted at University of Toronto Schools, from July 7-18. This year more than 50 high school students ranging from Grade 7 through 12 worked with teachers, PhDs and graduate students from U of T to perform science experiments on behavior, learning and memory.
Firefly was grateful to receive support from the Rotman School of Management's GBC outreach program to provide scholarships 3 students with limited resources, but who love science and demonstrate great academic potential.
Bright Lights evolved, based on our learning last year, and now offers a junior and advanced camp. Each camp’s curriculum is designed so that it caters to each group’s interests and ensures that the camps are as engaging, fun, and educational as possible.
When asked for their opinions the juniors describe the camp in a few words. “Fun!” and “Interesting” were the most common responses, however, some students preferred to go more in-depth. “It was interesting to see how the muscles of our crickets responded to stimuli,” William explained. “I think that doing the experiment helped me understand what was being taught on the board.” And that is exactly the principle of the junior camps – to teach, and then help the campers learn by participating in fun and interactive activities.
The seniors, like Zaneen for example, appreciate the increased sense of independence. “It’s very nice that we get to design and execute our own experiments,” he says. Meanwhile, the professional feel of the senior camp appeals to certain campers the most. “I really like how the camps make me feel like a scientist, in how the experiments are executed and documented,” Shreya remarks.
While there are differences, the camps are the same in many ways. They both revolve around the principle of learning through doing, and making sure that the campers have the most fun possible in the process. After having observed both the senior and junior groups for a good while now, the one similarity that is most apparent to me is how interested the children are in neuroscience, and how far they are willing to go to learn more.