Science Literacy Week: Celebrating science and space through code

Kids Code Jeunesse joined in on Canada’s largest scientific celebration this year - Science Literacy Week.

Bry LeBlanc
25 October 2018

Kids Code Jeunesse joined in on Canada’s largest scientific celebration this year — Science Literacy Week. From the 17th to the 23rd of September, we coded, created and celebrated science across the entire country.

A yearly event, Science Literacy Week takes place to highlight the “excellence and diversity of Canadian science” and to show the country just how fun and exciting science can be! Schools, libraries, museums and community centres all come together for the week to put on a “spectacular nationwide festival of science.”

The event also had an extra twist this year — a sprinkle of space. The 2018 special edition of Science Literacy Week included a collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency to bring in projects and events that tied in the of topic space to the overall celebration. In the words of astronaut David Saint-Jacques, “you can discover a whole new universe by simply picking up a book.”

And our project was no exception.

This year, Kids Code Jeunesse ran free Scratch workshops in libraries and community centres across Canada that invited children to build a project based on astronaut Dr. Dave Williams’ book To Burp or Not to Burp. The humorous children’s book answers the questions not only kids — but probably many adults — have in terms of what happens to our bodies in a zero gravity environment. What do astronauts eat? What happens when they sweat? How do they use the bathroom?

These questions also came up when kids had the chance to meet a former astronaut at one of our events. Canada’s first astronaut Marc Garneau (current Minister of Transport) surprised a group of coders at a KCJ workshop that took place at the Benny Library in Montreal on Sept. 23. He answered questions left and right, satisfying the curiosity all kids had about what life is like when you’re in space.

“Well, kids have great imaginations, so they’re imagining themselves up there,” he told CTV News.

Garneau himself hoped that he could have had the opportunity to learn coding early on. “I wish it had been around for me when I was a young person,” he said. “Who knows, it may motivate some of them not only to write code, but to become astronauts.”

And we sure hope that we inspired and motivated a lot of young coders this year. Our 2017 events were a success — we visited four provinces and ran 11 workshops. But we saw a leap in growth this time around.

For Science Literacy Week in 2018, KCJ hosted 45 workshops in nine provinces, reaching over 500 kids in person and 2400 kids through online resources downloaded by teachers!

We’re proud to have celebrated science and space through code with kids and educators across Canada — see you next year!