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Saskatchewan Indigenous youth participate in STEM and space sciences boot camp

Press Release

Last year Saskatchewan Polytechnic launched Camp Artemis – Join the Moon Mission, a one-day immersive learning experience designed to inspire Indigenous youth in grades 7 to 12 to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and space-related disciplines. With funding provided by the Canadian Space Agency, this opportunity promotes STEM skills to youth in rural and remote areas, with a particular focus on Indigenous communities. So far, Sask Polytech has hosted five camps in 2023 and 2024 in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina with student participants from Carry the Kettle First Nation, Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Montreal Lake and other First Nations from across Saskatchewan.

Indigenous students attending the boot camp engage in interactive activities that showcased the exciting possibilities of pursuing a career in STEM and its connection to Canada’s space program. Throughout the camp, students were introduced to space science, the Artemis II Mission and Canada’s overall involvement in space exploration through discussions and interactive gameplay using Minecraft Education and mBots (programmable robots). Under the guidance of experienced instructors, students embarked on Minecraft Education missions such as Artemis: rocket build and Artemis: return to the moon, where they learned about rocketry, Newton’s laws, coding and experience life as an astronaut. Students also learned about STEM and space with mBots, robots that provided an accessible platform for students to learn coding concepts and use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

“We were thrilled to offer this unique learning opportunity to Indigenous youth in Saskatchewan,” says Gerry Youzwa, director of Training Solutions for the Centre for Continuing Education. “Camp Artemis is not only about fostering an interest in space science and technology but also about empowering students to explore the vast opportunities available in STEM fields. By providing culturally appropriate educational materials and consulting with Indigenous communities, we aim to create an inclusive and inspiring environment for all participants.”

“Camp Artemis was an amazing, educational experience for our grade nines,” says Alicia Brown, teacher at Punnichy High School. “It was well-organized, well-supplied, and extremely engaging. The instructors were friendly, funny and helped the students every step of the way. Their enthusiasm for coding, mBots and all things space was very contagious.”

One of the student participants shares, “I was never a fan of coding but that’s because I never coded before. After today I had fun coding and now I’m interested in learning how to code more.”

Another student adds, “Today was a very fun day, it was very interesting exploring and making a rocket ship in Minecraft.”

Camp Artemis is part of Sask Polytech’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM education. By collaborating with Indigenous communities, the boot camp activities have been tailored to ensure cultural relevance and to inspire Indigenous youth to pursue STEM and space-related careers.

Several Sask Polytech departments assisted with the success of Camp Artemis including Continuing Education, Instructional Leadership and Development Centre (ILDC), School of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Computer Automated Systems Technician (CAST) program and Women in Trades and Technology (WITT), powered by Orano.

Camp Artemis supports the NASA-led Artemis program, the next chapter of lunar exploration designed to send humans farther into space than ever before. Named after the mythological figure Artemis, who is both Apollo’s twin sister and Goddess of the Moon and the hunt, the Artemis program includes efforts to send the first woman and the first person of colour to walk on the surface of the moon. These missions will also prepare and propel society onward to Mars. As the torch bringer, Artemis will light the way for human exploration of the red planet.

In addition to the immersive learning experience, Camp Artemis gives Saskatchewan K-12 teachers access to resources that focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and space science lessons. These resources are designed to support educators in delivering engaging and relevant content in their classrooms after the camp. If you are interested in using these resources in your classroom, please email youthprograms@saskpolytech.ca.

If you are interested in learning more about youth programming offered by Sask Polytech please visit saskpolytech.ca/coned or email youthprograms@saskpolytech.ca for more information.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is signatory to the SDG Accord. Sustainable Development Goal alignment is one of the ways Sask Polytech is leading the rise of polytechnic education.

For all media inquiries, please contact:

Brianna Bergeron
Media relations
306-250-3978 (cell)
brianna.bergeron@saskpolytech.ca

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