Downtown Guelph will be transformed into a scale map of the solar system over the upcoming winter break, allowing parents and their kids to get outside in a physically-distanced way to learn about science.
The Solar System Stroll runs Dec. 19 to Jan. 3 and combines a geocaching-type walk with science facts about the planets and other things in our solar system. It is being billed as a physically-distanced science walk in Downtown Guelph.
The free event is being run by Royal City Science, which is a non-profit hoping to eventually bring a science centre to Guelph to be a hub for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
“Guelph has a performing arts centre and an art gallery but it doesn’t have a science centre,” said Jason “Orbax” Thomas, a co-founder of Royal City Science and science communication officer for U of G’s Department of Physics. “Clearly we have a community that loves STEM education and loves getting young people excited about science, so we thought that would be a fun idea to promote.”
The Solar System Stroll is the first public event for Royal City Science and consists of stations set up around the downtown with QR codes that can be scanned.
“Each of these stations represents the scaled distance from Old Quebec Street of the planets of the solar system,” said Orbax. “The idea is you can walk around Downtown Guelph over the break, scan these QR codes, stay distanced and safe and still have an interesting and slightly different thing to do to encourage their kids to learn about science.”
For every metre walked downtown participants travel the equivalent of four billion metres in outer space.
“Junior scientists can scan the codes and it takes them to a web site that shows them a video about the planets and about interesting statistics and it shows them neat things directly from NASA about the planets themselves and gives them guidance about an experiment they can do at home with their family,” he added.
Fundraising has begun for the eventual building of the science centre, which is being dubbed The Nucleus. More information about the project and the Solar System Stroll can be found here.