Wednesday, 17 May 2017 08:00

Livingstone Range students get early start on university

Written by  Alberta Newspaper Group
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Eva Bliss, from J. T. Foster High School in Nanton, Irvin Provost, and brothers Christian and William Strikes With A Gun, from Matthew Halton High School in Pincher Creek, take part in an innovation and design exercise as part of an experiential learning project recently at the University of Lethbridge. Eva Bliss, from J. T. Foster High School in Nanton, Irvin Provost, and brothers Christian and William Strikes With A Gun, from Matthew Halton High School in Pincher Creek, take part in an innovation and design exercise as part of an experiential learning project recently at the University of Lethbridge. Southern Alberta Newspapers photo by Ian Martens

Students had a week to resolve some of southern Alberta’s water resource issues. If they came up with some answers, Livingstone Range school officials hoped, the teenagers may head back to the University of Lethbridge (U of L) to study the sciences once they’ve completed high school.


That’s the thinking behind a week-long experiential learning project that brought students to the U of L from Pincher Creek and Nanton.
They lived on campus — and saw a little more of Lethbridge — while learning from some of the university’s highly-respected water scientists.
Organizers say the students also were asked to design and create some prototype solutions, after deciding what focus they would take. While they were taking part in this first-time project at the U of L, Livingstone Range School Division spokesperson John Taylor says another group was learning more about life and learning at Lethbridge College.
Taylor, the off-campus co-ordinator for Livingstone Range, says an introduction to the post-secondary campuses is one way to remove potential barriers for rural students who would profit from further studies.
“We’re trying to break down the walls of school and get them out of the building and into the real world, solving problems and making a difference,” he says.
“It’s only one week, but it’s an immersive experience. It’s really trying to build that bridge between high school and post-secondary.”
He’s keen to see his students challenged to think in a new space, something that post-secondary studies demand.
“In this age, the information is readily available to everyone, but what we need to do is develop their skills to apply that information,” says Taylor. “They’ll get a chance to learn about design thinking, empathy, ideation and to think as an entrepreneur.”
Jackie Rice, assistant dean in the arts and science faculty, says one of the goals is introducing students to a variety of problem-solving approaches to issues such as water quality and quantity.
“We want to expose students to the different ways that they can look at that particular problem,” she says.
“Our theme for the week is ‘water’ because we know that water is an increasingly scarce resource,” she added in a news release. “Water is related to everything we do on a daily basis. It is an essential part of agriculture, industry, even recreation, and we have expertise here that can help guide the students in their thinking about water and the potential problems a lack of water could cause.
With a liberal education approach, Rice says students will first identify and then approach water issues from a variety of perspectives.
“We want to expose students to the different ways that they can look at that particular problem. Whether it be through the eyes of a scientist, a sociologist, an anthropologist, all of those different perspectives can be brought into how to solve a potential problem.”
Taylor says the students, who lived and ate on campus, also learned how to take transit, attended a movie and visited a virtual reality arcade.
A science teacher from Matthew Halton High in Pincher Creek helped facilitate their visit.
Over at Lethbridge College, a different group of students lived on campus while gaining an introduction to several college programs including environmental science, agriculture, culinary arts and public safety. It’s the initiative’s second year at the college, Taylor adds.
“Experience is the way to go, it is the best teacher,” says Taylor. “It’s only five days but it’s a start and it might be the doorway toward going to a university or college in the future.”

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