I present to you our grade 10 students at Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario Canada that participated in the Toshiba ExploraVision Contest. This was the first time Harbord had entered teams into the contest. It was a very good experience for our students no matter the outcome.
While watching them work hard on their projects I noticed a few things. It pushed them to work harder and work at their maximum potential, it also helped with their collaboration and leadership skills despite all of the challenges we have encountered the year with Covid.
Due to the Covid safety protocols like mask wearing and social distancing, students found it hard to work together. Despite this, doing this science project contest was a great exercise to help build teamwork skills and bring students together. As a teacher and coach, I integrated this contest project into the school curriculum and shared it with others in the Science department as well as our admin team at our school.
As a result of this rich experience, some of my students and I created a brand new club to investigate science initiatives called the Harbord STEM Club. We plan to make this a yearly club at our school!
We will be giving out the certificates for the contest participation and prizes during a special event planned by our science program. We are going to advertise next year’s contest throughout the school by putting up posters, having a dedicated article on it in our school’s newsletter and we will also post it on our various social media outlets.
Overall, I believe that initiatives such as the Toshiba ExploraVision Contest will change students’ outlook on STEM initiatives and allow for more underrepresented and/or racialized students to get involved in Science, Tech, Engineering and Math. During the process involved in this contest, not only were our students excited about participating but many parents and other teachers were also excited and offered to lend a hand where needed! It really brought the many stakeholders together. We look forward to next year, when we hope to make it a bigger and even better event for our students here at Harbord!
Mr. Vasan Persad, Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Canada