The CSP workshop is an integral part of the program. Students meet in small (under 30 students) groups once per week and take part in a variety of hands-on learning activities. Below we have described some of the CSP workshop activities: Course Review Presentations, Sound of Music, Organic Chemistry Races, Digital Storytelling, Experimental Design and Scientific Debates.
Course Review Presentations
Students worked in teams of two to develop and deliver a presentation (e.g. in Powerpoint) reviewing one of the topics covered in their science classes. This exercise helped students review a portion of their courses, created an on-line resource for all CSP students after the files were posted on UBC's Connect site, and helped students develop confidence with public presentations.
Sound of Music
Students applied the principles of waves learned in Physics to the construction and operation of simple musical instruments. In designing the instruments to play certain specific musical notes, students gained practice in the types of calculations required to answer exam questions!
Organic Chemistry Races
Working in teams of 3 to 4 persons, students raced to build models of named organic molecules, and to apply learned rules for naming organic molecules. Highly appreciated were the attendance of the Chemistry professor at the workshop and the edible prizes for the winning teams.
Reflection is increasingly recognized as an critical component of learning. Students reflected on what they have learned in one of their biology course. They then converted the story of their learning into a digital movie.
In this workshop, students worked in small groups to design an experimental setup for an apparatus. The aparatus consisted of a wooden stand, a long funnel, clothes pins, tape, a long tube, and a marble. The goal of the apparatus setup was to have the marble take as long as possible to travel through the tube and funnel. Students designed the setup in the week 1 workshop (no marble was given) and there was class discussion about experimental parameters and variables.
During week 2 of the workshop, students were given a marble and had 45 minutes to do 48 trials of their experiment. Usually students did variations of the set up and did 3-5 trials of each variation. At the end of the workshop, the "Funnel Olympics" provided students with an opportunity to compete to see which aparatus had the longest time of marble travel.
UBC is lucky to have a very active Debate Society. Last year, CSP had three workshops focusing on debating, run by members of the UBC Debate Society. Debate Society volunteers came in for the first workshop to give a useful and entertaining presentation on debate skills. CSP students learned that the skills required to develop a debate would come in handy in writing assignments, discussions with friends and parents (!), and speaking in public, as well as in the CSP Workshop debates. Here is the link to the UBC Debate Society "Debate 101" page.
The students were grouped in teams of 2, 3 or 4 persons, and given their choice of scientific topics and one week in which to prepare to debate both sides of the issue. Students, CSP instructors, and UBC Debate Society members were involved in judging the debates, and feedback was given immediately following each debate. For CSP debates, the focus was not on who "won" or "lost" the debate but on general skill development.