The Montréal Science Centre Foundation: Science Really Matters, Today and for Tomorrow
Science Enlightens Minds
We all have an instinct for science. From a very young age, we are all profoundly curious, asking innumerable questions including perhaps the most memorable (and incessant) one: why? Offering children an opportunity to view the wonders of the world through the lens of science offers them, and us all, a chance for a better future. A child who has learned how to reason using science is less likely to be misled by faulty thinking and more likely to use facts rather than misconceptions when making important decisions. This is precisely why it is so important to embrace a child’s natural curiosity and feed it with well-established and well-suited information. Learning about science at an early age can inspire children to dream about a career in science, and helps young adults, regardless of their career choice, develop the critical thinking skills they need to become astute, attentive, well-informed citizens ready to tackle the challenges that lie before them.
The Mission of the Montréal Science Centre Foundation
This is precisely what drives the mission of the Montréal Science Centre Foundation: to light that spark and help the citizens of tomorrow discover and make science and technology their own as they prepare to pave their way into the future and build the world of tomorrow.
There are innumerable ways tomorrow’s youth can build a better tomorrow and the Montréal Science Centre Foundation dedicates itself to supporting these young minds by inspiring them with science and technology. That’s why the Foundation works to offer as many of them a real chance to discover and explore the world of science, not only by developing school programs and interactive exhibitions but also by sponsoring opportunities for youth for whom science is not immediately within reach. For more than 20 years now, the Foundation has been making a real impact by helping fund and operate the Montréal Science Centre (MSC).
The Science Centre on the Road – One of Many Outreach Initiatives
One of the success stories funded by the Foundation is the Science Centre on the Road program. Supported by the Trottier Family Foundation, the program allows MSC science educators to visit schools across the province and host a hands-on science program made for students with special needs.
Since its launch as a pilot project in 2018, over 2,000 elementary- and secondary-level youths from across Québec have taken part in this free program... from east to west in the Outaouais and Lower St. Lawrence regions to the Eastern Townships in the south and Kuujjuaq in the north. The program is a unique outreach initiative that makes science accessible outside the walls of the Science Centre to communities beyond Montréal.
The program invites students to build a vehicle prototype able to meet specific technical challenges. MSC educators arrive on site with a series of tools and materials to help students develop their ideas. MSC educator Jordan Langlois explains how the activity offers students the opportunity to think and work like real engineers: “Students are encouraged to immediately test and adjust their prototypes using a successive trial-and-error approach. They not only learn to cooperate and learn from one another but also learn to persevere and explore the joys of problem-solving. The workshop activity helps foster their creativity and determination and offers them a safe space to make mistakes and to keep at it. They are encouraged to try bold ideas and think outside the box. It’s a wonderful space to learn about generating new ideas by working together.”
Inclusive by design, this project has generated a lot of positive feedback: “Not every young person is given the opportunity to go on a school outing. Just think of those from disadvantaged backgrounds or in special education groups, or those whose school is located far away from Montréal. These workshops bring science and technology directly to their classrooms. Seeing them light up with pride and watching them realize that they have what it takes to succeed shows how the program can do wonders for their self-esteem. Teachers are in awe of what their students accomplish during the workshop. It's a clearly positive experience for students in general, and an essential one for students with special needs,” explains Cybèle Robichaud, Montreal Science Centre Director.
“Our students were just thrilled about taking part in this activity! They weren’t only proud to watch their prototypes in action… they were positively delighted! We need more activities like this in our schools. They talked about it for days and asked to take on more challenges like this. The activity leaders offered them just the right level of help and explained things well, using language perfectly suited to them. We’ve integrated some of the notions from this workshop into our daily lesson plans and are getting a lot of mileage out of our groups thanks to the excitement and insights they gained from their experience. A complete and absolute success! We just can’t say enough about it!”
– Véronique Landry, primary-level educator, Centre François-Michelle
“Thank you! We are a very small school located three hours away from Montréal, and today our students had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a science workshop and they absolutely loved it. They built wonderful things and had lots of fun doing it. Our activity leader was great with them. Located so far away, our classes don’t get the chance to visit museums or to enjoy activities like this, so the fact that you came to us — for free — was just fantastic. We hope to enjoy other activities like this again in the future!”
– Kelly Godbout, teacher, Hauts-Cantons school board
These success stories are made possible thanks to the support of the Foundation’s donors and partners. It is thanks to them that world-class permanent exhibitions and valuable and impactful educational programs like this exist. Donations to the Montréal Science Centre Foundation help us ensure that all sorts of audiences get a chance to share in innovative and engaging ways to explore the wonders of science.
“We believe that promoting science has a tremendous positive impact on the world. We support the Foundation because we believe in helping this group of educators share their knowledge and passion for science with young people everywhere, no matter where they live or their background!”
– Trottier Family Foundation, Montréal Science Centre Foundation Major Donor
Would you like to take part in our mission to help young people discover the wonders and the potential of science and technology? To help to make science ever more accessible and engaging? To help move the world forward and build a better tomorrow for us all? Become a donor! Join others making a real impact by making a gift to the Montréal Science Centre Foundation. Every contribution makes a world of difference. Donate today!
Visit the Foundation’s webpage to learn how to make a donation and about how your donation is used to make a real impact.
This article was written to mark National Philanthropy Day. Held annually on November 15, National Philanthropy Day celebrates the tremendous contributions of all those taking part in philanthropic initiatives whose impacts help make our lives, our communities, and the world a better place.