The Kivalliq Science Educators’ Community (KSEC) has developed and delivered the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Challenge since 1995. Initially it was an event organized for participants at the Regional Science Fair. Its popularity quickly led to the development of a distance delivery model for science olympics at the regional level. In 2013 The Northwest Company came aboard as event sponsor, providing t-shirts and medals to all Kivalliq schools.
The SET Challenge is a collection of fun concrete thematic problems that require cooperation, communication and some science, engineering, and technology to construct a solution. SET Challenges also reinforce many of the Core Values of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ). Over the years, SET themes have included: buoyancy, rockets, towers, motion, projectiles and eggs. Each theme translates into five different age-appropriate events for Kindergarten to Grade 12.
In 2008 the event grew to include Teachers’ guides, prizes & promotional items, as well as school & regional awards. Each year schools are sent an event package with instructions, materials, promotional items and awards to for the month of October, to coincide with National Science and Technology Week. Schools run the events, tabulate the results, and present awards. A summary report with results and participation data is sent to KSEC, where regional winners are determined and medals awarded. Participation data is used by KSEC to monitor program efficacy and to share with funders.
The SET Challenge has proved to be a Trojan horse of sorts. Students and teachers bring it into their classrooms because it is fun and engaging, but hidden inside each event is an army of science and cultural outcomes. All SET Challenge events promote many of the guiding principles of IQ including collaboration, hands-on learning, innovative problem solving and others. Where possible, the challenge itself has a cultural connection. For example, Uuksitaaqtut (Target Practice) challenges students to build catapults and slingshots as well as traditional Inuit hunting bolos and slings.
The SET Challenge has become KSEC’s most popular event and is much anticipated in Kivalliq schools and participation tops 2000 students most years. Each school organizes the SET Challenge a little differently. Some encourage individual teachers to carry out the events in their classrooms, while others turn it into a school-wide event held in the gym and open to the public. Either way, students get an opportunity to observe, hypothesize, and experiment in authentic hands-on knowledge construction. The scientific method becomes a natural extension of each group’s endeavors to solve the problem.
Past SET Challenge Themes
- 1995 Keewatin Air Show (Flight)
- 1996 Vehicle Venture (Force & Motion)
- 1997 Tower Power (Force & Structure)
- 1998 Space Race (Flight)
- 2000 Stay-Afloatilla (Buoyancy)
- 2001 Towers (Force and Structure)
- 2002 Rally-Ho! (Force & Motion)
- 2003 Space Race (Flight)
- 2004 Sanajiit (Force & Structure)
- 2005 No event held
- 2006 Aksalualik (Things with Wheels)
- 2007 Mannik Madness (Eggs!)
- 2008 Uuksitaaqtut (Target Practice)
- 2009 Silainnaq (Outer Space)
- 2010 Sanajiit (Construction)
- 2011 Mannik Madness (Eggs!)
- 2012 Uuksitaaqtut (Target Practice)
- 2013 Silainnaq (Outer Space)
- 2014 Sanajiit (Force & Structure)
- 2015 Aksalualik (Things with Wheels)