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, Organic Chemistry Races, Experimental Design and Science/Society 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.
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.
In this workshop, students worked in small groups to plan an experiment. The experimental goal was to configure an apparatus consisting of a wooden stand, a long funnel, tape, and a long tube so that a marble dropped into the tube would take as long as possible to travel through the tube and funnel. Following a class discussion about experimental parameters and variables, students were given a marble and had an hour to do a series of trials to determine optimal values for the variables (e.g., angle of the tube) and to briefly report their results. 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 science/society 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.