SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students 2015

Welcome to the 2015 SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students!

The camp is taking place at SFU Burnaby Campus between July 2-31, 2015. The camp is organized and supported by the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the SFU Faculty of Science, the SFU Office for Aboriginal Peoples, the IRMACS Centre, and the SFU Department of Mathematics. The NSERC PromoScience Program provides partial financial support for the camp.

Our main objectives are to:

- Increase Aboriginal student participation, retention and high school graduation rates by providing a more solid foundation in Mathematics, Science and English in preparation for admission and success in post secondary institutions.
- Help Aboriginal students to realize that University's are a place for them and to feel empowered while they are here.

Organizing Committee:
Ms. Melania Alvarez, Ms. Pam Borghardt, and Dr. Veselin Jungic (Chair)

Schedule | Week 1 Summary | Week 1 Pictures | Week 2 Summary | Week 2 Pictures | Week 3 Summary | Week 3 Pictures | Week 4 Summary | Week 4 Pictures | Student Testimonials | Teacher Testimonials | Parent Testimonials | Volunteer Testimonials | Presenter Testimonials

Student Testimonials


I learned the most in my math class with Jordan, math was definitely one of my favorites. I learned how to solve two Step Equations, multiplying polynomials and simplifying radical expressions. I really enjoyed math it isn’t the same at my school, in my school there is so many people and I feel shy and sometimes uncomfortable but here I feel comfortable to ask questions and be myself.

In English I actually learned more about myself, I loved the videos especially 8th fire I felt like I could relate to the things, like not living on a reserve anymore, having family on the reserve and how poor the conditions are, and especially the girl who wanted to be a gardener and had a brother on east Hastings while she lived in her own home. I liked Winnipegs most, they were pretty cool.

Coming to SFU definitely gave me more opportunities and opened my options. My goal is to become either a dentist or veterinarian, and being in Math 100% helped me out and I am gonna keep going further in math I started where I am, I'm using what I have here, when you give it all you got, the people and opportunities you need will be drawn to you. I'm not gonna stop or give up, the beginning is always the hardest, even if its hard work, it will pay off, coming here changed the way I think and the way I look at things, I will challenge myself everyday to do and be better. I feel more confident too! I realized it's not my business what people say or think of me, I am what I am and I do what I do.

- Ms. Brandy Newman, a camp participant from Centennial Secondary


"My IDS Portfolio" - Prezi presentation

- Ms. Nerys Kirkwood, a camp participant from Burnaby Mountain Secondary


My summer at SFU was one of my best summers. It felt cool attending a University. At first I felt so out of place like an 8th Grader going into high school for the first time. After about day four it felt like I attended SFU, like a Freshman studying sciences I can’t pronounce. I would very much like to attend this program again if I could but sadly I can’t because next year I’ll be finished high school, no more productive summers. SFU is such a welcoming environment, everyone has a mutual respect for each other and a kind positive attitude toward others and the program. I have made many friends (text me guys) and I thank the program for bring us kids together. I would recommend the program and have encouraged a Metis friend to join next summer.

I enjoyed myself in English starting almost right away with Tim Burton and Edgar Allen Poe, my favourite writers and it was a bonus talking about my favourite character of all time The Joker. ☺ I enjoyed the curriculum, nothing too challenging to handle. The best parts for me was the short story, discovering what story “actually” means to us and discovering ourselves, something I think more teachers in high school should be doing. Just a small exercise has made me more aware of my talents and weirdness. I’d like to thank Carley for the time she has spent with us and teaching us with a quirky personality and treating students as different people instead of tossing work sheets at us like I expected.

Math is something I have always struggled with all through school. I really wanted to get help in math because it’s affecting my attitude toward my education through frustration and not caring because my results always seem to be the same. I have Dyslexia taking me longer understand. I have learned so much because of it being self paced and if I have a question I have a lot of support available. If I don’t understand, Jordan will have several ways to teach it just so I can learn. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of this and have a different attitude toward math.

Janelle's story: This presentation spoke to me the most about aboriginal issues. She was very brave to share in front of a group of strangers and I really respected her. From her rough childhood she smoothed the edges of her life and challenged herself and reached her goals. She takes an interest in mental heath and shared with us the science of depression. I also take interest in mental health making me very engaged and got to share that with her. I wish her the best and she taught me to not give up on my self.

- Mr. Kristian Barett, a camp participant from Garibaldi Secondary


- Ms. Diana Charlie Iraheta, a camp participant from Burnaby Central


- Mr. Paagyanti Lifanica, a camp participant from Princes Margaret Secondary


SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students (2015!) - PowerPoint presentation

Thanks for everything this month.

- Ms. Bethani L'Heureux, a camp participant from Alpha Secondary


- Ms. Janet Bear, a camp participant from Killarney Secondary


"My Summer at SFU" - Prezi presentation

Again, I want to say thank you Dr. J for letting me participate and enjoy this camp as much as I did, and I hope it continues to go on for as long as it can so everyone can enjoy and create memories like the people at this camp did.

I would also like to thank Sheryl for being our camp coordinator. It might not be easy all the time, but I can tell she had an amazing time with our group and had lots of fun. I also would like to thank Sheryl for making us all breakfasts in the morning, since I always wake up late I never have anytime my self, it was really helpful. I would also just like to thank her for just being an amazing person in general, and we all really noticed how much effort she put into this, and I hope she will continue to do this camp as long as possible and make kids like us, have as much fun and create as much memories as we all did. Thank you.

- Mr. Stephen Ouellette, a camp participant from North Surrey Secondary


- Going to the camp was fun but sometimes in the morning I was pretty tired and just read manga on my tablet.

- When we had to put away our math packages and work on some math puzzle or when we would go to lunch I would feel sad because I wanted to do some more because I was just getting into the groove.

- The summer camp went by so fast I wish it lasted longer and wish I could maybe get to know some people better.

- I would love to come back to this summer camp because we get to do fun activates, meet people and see some of the things they do and the opportunities me have and it gives me something fun to do instead of playing video games

- I would definitely recommend this camp because you get to do so many different things that can help you find what you want to do and you get to meet people who might inspire you or might make you feel happy about math.

- Mr. Caleb Simpson, a camp participant from Centennial Secondary


- Mr. Hunter Tabobandung, a camp participant from DMS


Teacher Testimonials


Having the opportunity to experience this year's group has been wonderful. Since its inception in 2007 I've watched this program grow, thrive and evolve into what it is today. Indeed I love teaching mathematics, but working with these kids is incredibly rewarding, as they help make me a better teacher and listener, giving me something to bring to my classroom in September. Time and again I have to come to grips with the fact that these kids are giving up half their summer to improve their math and English skills, while the sun shines outside. Their eagerness to learn is admirable.

Day one I try to pinpoint where students are in their learning, without judgment, and then put together a curriculum specific for that individual. The relaxed environment allows the student to work at his/her own pace as well as receive plenty of one-on-one assistance (I certainly could not do this without my volunteer helpers ­ they're amazing!). Our daily math riddles and logic puzzles are definitely a hit too.

In my opinion what most of these kids need, especially in the math classroom, is confidence; the belief they can do it. I've worked with some fine students in the past, but as a group this year has been the most gratifying. In the long run it's not that you learn to factor trinomials, simplify radicals, or tackle logarithms for the first time, but that you experience what it means to succeed in something that at one time seemed impossible.

- Mr. Jordan Forseth, Math Teacher


What is story?

It seems like it would be a simple enough question to answer, but as one begins to explore the meaning and the idea of story it seems to get more and more complex…and what a perfect topic to dive into with a group of kids of different ages, who come from all over, each with a story of their own.

Together, the IRMACS Camp students and I have looked at Pixar short clips to see how story can be shared through animation without words. We have discussed still images and frames to analyze how a picture; a single moment captured, can tell a story. We looked specifically at director Tim Burton and his unique style that comes through in almost every story he tells, his characters, sketches and films. At the same time, we learned about Tim Burton’s own personal story of his life and career.

What makes a story ‘true’ or ‘authentic’, can a story be truly true? The students analyzed DC Comic character Joker and how the comic character is portrayed by three very different actors, how each actor told a varying story, of the same story.

In our last two weeks together, the student’s began to scratch the surface of the complex story of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Student’s shared their own experiences, knowledge and perspectives with each other and as a class, considered what the future of Aboriginal peoples might look like and how we could help shape it.

In our final week, the students have begun to investigate their own story. Their final assignment is called an "Inquiry Journey", students inquire about a story of either their own life or one of others. As they consider, imagine and look into their particular story, they are at the same time creating a story of their own journey in learning.

Teaching through inquiry learning is truly rewarding and fascinating, both for the students and myself. Inquiry in and of itself personal and unique; students begin to develop an individual thirst for learning and knowledge. It is a privilege to guide these students as they experience the stories of the world, and make discover their own.

- Ms. Carley Henze, English Teacher


What a privilege it has been to work with the students and staff at this year’s academic summer camp at SFU. They are all such fabulous individuals.

I have been helping the students with their mathematics and love to see their commitment to learning and the success they have achieved. It will set them up well for school next year and I know it has changed, for the better, how many feel about mathematics and their abilities. Thanks Jordan, I love to watch you teach and inspire these young people.

I also facilitated the opportunity for the students to complete their own Independent Directed Studies while at camp, which can earn them up to four credits towards their high school graduation.

These studies culminated in the students each presenting a portfolio detailing the connections this camp experience has allowed them to make with their aboriginal heritage and how it has helped them shape their goals for the future.

The presentations were humourous, engaging, thoughtful and detailed. The students are clearly grateful for the opportunities they have been given and the friendships and connections they have made. They have each made their own unique connections and will, I am sure, put them to good use.

And thank you to Veselin and Sheryl. Your hard work is making a world of difference to these young people.

- Ms. Kay Lever, Directed Studies Teacher

Parent Testimonials


I would like to start off by saying thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this opportunity for our son.

When he first started we really didn’t know what to expect but we knew that he’d get something out of it: new experiences and a few new friends so it was worth taking a risk and putting in an application. What we didn’t know is how wonderfully passionate, dedicated and inspiring all of the teachers, coordinators and guest speakers would be. There is a new confidence in our son and an excitement for university that he has never had before. He always knew he wanted to further his education after high school but this is the first time he has actually believed he could do it and that he belonged there.

His experience, especially in math, since the first grade, has been a struggle, and we knew at an early age that he was struggling with the same learning challenges as his father with Dyslexia. We spent many years attending appointments with Children’s Hospital, Sunnyhill and with our local paediatrician. None of them could agree on how to best assist him or how this would affect him in school but all could agree that he was intelligent, creative and wouldn’t have any problems socially. Although that sounds like great news, what that really meant was, “Your child is too well behaved and not struggling enough to receive funding or support for the extra help he needs and will most definitely fall through the cracks.” And they were right, he is a perfectly “normal” kid who makes friends and does well enough academically to get by.

However, what no one can predict is the hit your child is going to take to his self confidence and the frustration he’ll endure in every Math class for the next 11 years. Teachers just don’t have the time to be working Math in reverse with one child when they have a classroom full of students and plenty of other subjects to get through. And to be blunt, some of them just didn’t care, or felt he should just focus and try harder. Even with two parents behind him as advocates we got nowhere. Even with years of tutors he still felt stupid.

In high school he became involved in the Drama program. It was the first time he felt like he was more than just a struggling student. He really came out of his shell and was appreciated for his compassion, quick wit and entertaining personality, the attributes that were buried in low self esteem, that only we saw at home. If it wasn’t for Drama we believe he would have been at risk of dropping out of school, if not physically, mentally. … But still, when he looked at his post-secondary future he still felt anxiety because he still didn’t feel good enough, he didn’t feel like he truly belonged with the “smart people”, the A’s and the B’s.

But the day he was accepted to participate in this SFU camp his entire world opened up. He was reintroduced to Math by Mr. Jordan Forseth and for the first time in his life he understood it and now feels optimistic toward his academic future. It literally has been the answer to prayer for us and the boost that he has needed to feel positive about his abilities. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it because hearing my child say, “Mom, I get it now!” with a smile on his face and confidence in his voice is the best moment to witness as a parent. I don’t know what Jordan did, what his approach was or how he made it all make sense but whatever it was, it was something that no one has ever been able to, or took the time to, do before. We are so grateful he is teaching in this program, he has made a profound difference in our son’s educational journey.

And if this was the only thing that happened, the camp would have far exceeded our expectations, but there have been many, many more inspiring experiences our son has learned and grown from. There hasn’t been one day that he hasn’t come home with at least something that he wanted to share with us. The field trips, the speakers, the facilitators and the friends he has made have made this the best summer he’s ever had. He has even found a new love for English, a subject he has enjoyed but snoozed through (ahem, Shakespeare) through most of high school. He enjoys the darker, quirkier side of literature and stories that play into his love of Drama, music and movies. Ms. Carley Henze won him over the moment she mentioned Harry Potter, Tim Burton and Edgar Allan Poe. He is excited for university now, now that he has been treated so respectfully by the teachers at SFU and valued for his interests and individuality.

The entire experience has been a huge blessing to our family and the only complaint we have is that (because of my husband’s father being adopted) we didn’t know about our family’s aboriginal heritage sooner. We look forward to our other son joining the program in a couple of years as well.

My only suggestion would be that there be a similar program created for teens in foster care, as so few children in care go on to post-secondary for a variety of reasons, a lack of self-confidence and inspiration being at the top of that list. It would be the most empowering way to break cycles in that at-risk group, and with 55% of children in care being of aboriginal heritage, I think it’s an important issue to look into by the right contact people (whomever that might be).

Once again, thank you to everyone involved in this program. Thank you for the opportunities, the education, the experiences, the welcoming environment, the variety, the inspiration, the meals, the transportation and for including our son in this program. We feel so lucky!

Tanya & Kevin Barrett


I want to thank you for all the work you put into the camp for our kids. It was definitely a very positive experience for my son and I was also motivated by the opportunities available for him for post secondary. It was great to see that there are possibilities for my son at SFU in the future. I was happy to hear about the bridge program for aboriginal students and also to learn about the new faculties opening up. I am confident that the experience of being up there this past summer has made university a very attainable goal for my son and that it has helped him to feel like he can belong there. This camp is am incredible experience and I hope that you can continue to run it for many years to come.

Thank-you once again, I look forward to seeing you next year if he makes it in again.

Maria Jácome


Hello Veselin,

Thank you for all of the updates on the SFU Summer Camp for students who have Aboriginal ancestry. Stephen emailed me at the end of July to say he had the most enjoyable summer ever. It is so wonderful that you provide students with this great opportunity. I believe it changes lives and I do hope it continues.

Thank you again for all you do,
Darlene Heath
Aboriginal Education Asst.

Volunteer Testimonials


As a volunteer for this year's math camp, I assisted Jordan Forseth in his classroom by providing students with extra one-on-one support. I found this experience to be extremely rewarding. Each of the students had something unique and wonderful to offer the classroom community. All students maintained a positive attitude throughout their time together, and it was clear that many strong friendships were built during this time. Jordan's easy-going attitude and sense of humour was well-received by the students - they clearly enjoyed their time in his classroom. I was pleased to witness several students who arrived early to class just to get a head start on their math problems. Both the students and the teacher were dedicated to success, making my own experience working with them a very positive one. I am confident that each of the students who attended the camp has a bright future ahead of them as they continue their academic journey and beyond.

- Ms. Alana Blake, Student in The Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU


I feel so fortunate to have been able to be a part of the SFU Academic Summer Camp for Aboriginal Students. Over the past four weeks I have had the pleasure of helping an incredible group of students improve their understanding and confidence in mathematics and have been impressed by how far each and every student has come over the course of the program. No matter what level each student started at they have all improved their understanding of mathematical concepts through their own hard-work and desire to learn. I was also impressed by the work ethic that each and every student has shown; often there is at least one student, if not more who arrive in the classroom early to ask questions or begin working ahead on the math lesson for the day. It is truly a testament to their commitment that they are there and working hard not because they have to but because they want to. In addition, each day we take a little bit of time out of the lesson to have some fun and work on problem solving skills. I think this part of our math lessons has been the most rewarding for me as a volunteer because these activities allow everyone to come together and collaborate to find a solution to the day’s problem. Often the students will surprise all of us by putting forth brilliant ideas or solutions that we as teachers never considered before which makes the activity that much more interesting for everyone as we discuss the multiple ways to approach a problem. Overall, I think this camp has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved and I can only express my absolute admiration for how hard each and every student has worked to improve themselves over the last month and I believe that their hard work in apparent when you take into consideration the starting and ending points of each student in the program.

- Ms. Alannah Blouin-Summers, Student in The Professional Development Program (PDP) at SFU


Over the past 5 weeks, I have learned so much being involved with this camp. The students involved in this camp are great kids and full of energy. They are confident but if they struggle, they are not afraid to ask for help. I think this is very important because many adults are afraid to ask for help when they need it. I feel this camp gives a very safe and welcoming environment where these students can be comfortable enough to express their emotions and ask questions. I have really enjoyed helping and learning from these students. I learned new ways of explaining concepts and helping students with math problems. Sometimes, I found it difficult to explain concepts that I already know very well but that allowed me to learn as well. I learned that not all students will understand the first time through or even believe you when you are explaining how to do a problem but that taught me to think of new ways and to prove what I was doing was true. It was amazing to see students understand concepts that they have struggled with in the past. They would look proud and have a sense of accomplishment. This camp is a great opportunity. Many of these students might have given up on math because they struggled so much in the school year. I feel this camp helps students get help with many challenging concepts so they can do better in the school year and can continue taking math throughout their high school education.

- Ms. Kim Hinton, SFU Alumna

Presenter Testimonials


Just wanted to say that I had a really good time with the group yesterday - there were really engaged, lots of questions and discussions!

- Dr. Howard Trottier, Department of Physics


It was a great experience. You and your team are doing such important work. The students are gaining so much. What a honour to be part of this.

-Ms. Loretta Todd, Filmmaker


I was so moved by the closing ceremony of today. How talented the students are, how eager they want to learn, their initiative, kindness . . .

-Ms. Fumiko Suzuki, Retired Engineer


Here are the collaborative poems the English classes made during my visit.

Thanks for the opportunity to meet the group, and good luck with fundraising for next year!

- Ms. Joanne Arnott, Poet

Week 4

It is hard to believe but this is the last summary I will write for 2015. The camp has offered us experiences that are enriching and educational and Week 4 has been exceptional.

The week began with a tour of the Trottier Observatory where Dr. Howard Trottier allowed the students to control the observatory roof and he took us on a guided tour of the facility. The grounds around the observatory are a beautiful work of art full of educational surprises that can be appreciated on your own or by joining Howard on a Starry Night.

Mr. Kyle Bobiwash led us in a dynamic workshop about pollination. Of the over 450 types of bees in Canada, 80 are here in the lower mainland … all of them helping to ensure our survival! Dr. Erin Barley helped lead everyone on the microscopes as we learned to differentiate wasps, bees and flies.

Ms. Loretta Todd, an internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker, shared with the camp participants the trailer of her latest project, "Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show".

Our incredible recreation team ended our last day with a scavenger hunt and everyone’s favourite … Mafia.

Ms. Natalie Wood-Wiens shared her own journey of discovery as she applied her talents and education towards a career that let her serve the community. Her work at SFU’s Aboriginal Bridging programs have made it possible for many Indigenous peoples to acquire the prerequisites necessary to enter postsecondary institutions.

Ms. Jennie Blankinship shared her role as SFU’s Indigenous recruiter as she outlined many of the options available to students after graduation, including the process for direct entry into SFU. Remember to contact her in grade 12 for assistance or advice.

We concluded the week with what I believe is the greatest highlight of the camp … the students Independent Directed Studies presentations. Under the guidance of Ms. Kay Lever the students completed their project booklets to earn high school credits. The students seized the opportunity to reflect on what they had learned and to share their personal experiences with the group. I was honoured to witness the respect and kindness they showed each other as they participated in this final bonding experience.

As I write this I find myself reflecting on everything I have shared in during camp. I am truly honoured to have spent the past month watching this group of incredibly kind, generous and smart people come together as a community of supportive and inquisitive Indigenous scholars. You should all be very proud of yourselves and of each other. You are stronger today because of the experiences you have embraced and the people you have chosen to share your path with. Remember to nurture your new found network of friends and mentors. You are worth it.

I wish each of you continued success.

- Ms. Sheryl Thompson, Camp Coordinator

(An interview with Ms. Thompson for SFU OLS is available here.)



Week 3

It is amazing how many incredible and talented people share their time and energy with us and this week has been no exception.

Our week started with a tour of 4D LABS where we were hosted by Nathanael Sieb and his teams of researchers as we learned about many of the exciting projects taking place in their materials research institute.

In the LASIR lab, Saeid Kamal taught us the difference between a pulse and continuous lasers and gave us a demonstration of the changing colours of lasers based on the wavelength. Xin Zhang, in the Nanoimaging lab showed us the nanoscopic detail of aphids as he explained the workings of the various microscopes. It was interesting to learn how cryogenics made the photos possible. After everyone played with the shoe cleaner Chris Balicki showed us the Nanofabrication Lab including the clean room with the bunny suits. We also got to learn about the cutting edge holographic imaging that may one day be used for currency security. Great Logo! We met Scott Beaupre in the Branda Lab and he explained how nanoparticles in solutions are used for medical applications, particularly photo-dynamic therapies. He also told us a little about his own research and journey. In the Yu Lab, Samuel Weng and Lishen Zhang gave us a demonstration of super-hydrophobic and super-hydrophilic coatings. How incredible that a microscopically smooth or rough surface can have such a dramatic difference. Tania Castillo and Sameera Toenjes in the Gates Lab explained how nanoparticles change surface structures to promote drug delivery the magnetic liquid was very cool … almost as cool as their dance party. A special thanks to our tour guides Mohamad Rezaei, Grace Li and Tom Cherng.

Dr. Nancy Forde form the Department of Physics brought the visual spectrums of light to life as we used lasers, prisms and her “stylish glasses” to observe many of its properties. The students learned how wavelengths, energy, quantity and intensity played a role and they watched the light “dance” across the wall. Thank-you Michael Kirkness and Christina for sharing your talents with us.

We were honoured to have Ms. Joanne Arnott, an award winning poet, as a guest speaker. Ms. Arnott shared with students her wisdom and got them involved in poetry creating activities.

SFU Recreation department offered us a day of fun and teamwork. We played line-tag, Camouflage and Sardines to get our blood pumping and ended our day with some friendly competition over archery and Mafia.

Ms. Brenda Davison from the Department of Mathematics spent a fun filled afternoon of math through pattern recognition and hearty competition. Who knew this game SET existed … fantastic. We also learned that 3 blouses, 3 shirts, 3 trousers and 3 skirts = 81 possible outfits!

Ms. Noreen Pankewich from the School District 72 came from Kamloops to share an afternoon of teachings with us. The story of Hannah and the Spindle Whorl created a perfect backdrop for our beautiful art projects. The value of sharing our knowledge with each other is a powerful message. Huy tseep q’u!

Ms. Daniela Abasi from the Faculty of Applied Science put together a great workshop and along with Mr. Steven Price, the students constructed and battled robots. What an entertaining, educational and very competitive afternoon. Great teamwork! Special thanks go out to Mr. Mircea Trans, Mr. Ken Yuan, Ms. Joanna Che, and Mr. Thomas McKay for all of your help and guidance.

We have one more fun filled and exciting week left to go.

- Ms. Sheryl Thompson, Camp Coordinator




Week 2

Week 2 of the camp has been jam packed with fun and exciting learning opportunities.

Mr. Dave Robinson, an Algonquin wood sculptor shared his newest masterpiece. He also shared some of the lessons he has learned during his journey as a boxer, a teacher and a carver. “Bring yourself to the question with the tools needed to answer it AND the answer will never be less work.”

Ms. Ciera Morgan-Fier from the SFU Indigenous Student Centre shared some of the many ways to enrol in post-secondary school. The importance of course planning, asking questions and finding programs that help support our interests. Don’t forget to check out SFU’s Bridging Program if you need to upgrade.

Dr. Ivona Mladenovic took us through the steps for cloning animals. Mimi and Mini-Mimi were fun visual representations but not nearly as interesting as the possibility of resurrecting mammoths. We had great ethical debates over reintroducing extinct species and cloning humans … the thought of a 16 year old baby is intriguing.

Ms. Fumiko Suzuki honoured us with her presence all day. Her positivity was infectious and her lessons about perseverance and hard work were present in every story she shared. Every success she enjoyed was preceded by recognition, practice and preparation. But mostly … practice practice practice ☺

Dr. Shawn Desaulnier spent the afternoon challenging everyone to math puzzles and games. From dividing chocolate getting the whole family across the bridge he kept everyone thinking and laughing. The tangrams we made provided for both frustration and triumph and it was a fun afternoon.

FIELD TRIP!!! We spent the day at UBC hosted by Ms. Melania Alvarez Adem. We toured the Museum of Anthropology and our guide Kav highlighted some of the exhibits. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the beautiful Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Science building followed by a tour of the Triumf physics lab where we learned that a particle accelerator can give us all magnetic personalities.

Ms. Leslie Varley and Mr. Tysun Tallman from The Aboriginal Health, Provincial Health Services Authority shared their organization’s goal of training all peoples to be culturally competent in their relationships with Aboriginal peoples. Their Decolonize youth films inspired some great discussions.

Ms. Sara Neuert and Mr. Scott Munro from The First Nations Financial Management Board shared how their organization provide support and create opportunities for sound financial management. They helps First Nations communities’ access bond markets which lets them borrow funds like other governments within Canada. They also shared tips on how to manage personal finances.

It’s hard to believe that we are half-way through.
Another fantastic week.

- Ms. Sheryl Thompson, Camp Coordinator




Week 1

Week one of camp has been full of activities, learning and incredible people. The opening day was full of generosity and caring- Mr. William Lindsey did our opening, Mr. Gary George sang a welcoming song, Dr. Felix Breden welcomed us to IRMACS, Ms. Melania Alvarez brought us greetings from the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences followed by gifts for the students from Ms. Marcia Guno (Indigenous Student Centre), Ms. Cynthia Henson (Faculty of Science) and Ms. Ciara Morgan-Feir (Indigenous recruiting). Following lunch and the math assessment test, the students ended opening day touring the SFU campus with Dr. Veselin Jungic, the Chair of the Organizing Committee, and Ms. Sheryl Thompson, the Camp Coordinator.

Math with Mr. Jordan Forseth starts with individual learning packages and ends with everyone’s favorite … riddles! At a restaurant, how could you choose one out of three deserts with equal probability with the help of a coin?

English with Ms. Carley Henze is combining teamwork and writing as each classmate contributes a vital component to everyone else’s story. She is weaving literary terms and visual arts to teach the students the power of storytelling.

We met Ms. Janelle Dobson-Kocsis, an Indigenous scholar who shared her love of math, puzzles and life. We were honoured to have her share her story of resilience, perseverance, triumph and accomplishment with us.

Dr. Gail Anderson taught us about insects and how they can rule out murder suspects complete with photos and video! She followed up her remarkable lecture with a tour of her lab and the morgue. It will not be easy to top that!

Ms. Sherri Ferguson led a tour of the inside of the Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit and their hyperbaric chamber while Gary taught us how to use the controls. The children got to see firsthand the effects of 3 atmospheres on an inflated glove and took selfies inside the chamber.

We had an eventful day of recreation playing soccer, dodgeball and Mickey Mouse kick-ball. Everyone had fun team-building and playing games together. Unfortunately, the day ended with one broken arm … get well soon Kristian!

Ms. Natasha Davidson from Douglas College combined origami and math for an afternoon of folding, geometry and arithmetic. Everyone had fun using math to make ninja stars and construct with sonobe modules. Who knew you could do origami with one hand ;)

The student’s journaling was led by Ms. Kay Lever, a teacher at Vancouver School Board, as she helped them with their directed studies assignments. Everyone is getting excited about their options for their big presentation project.

Members of the Squamish Nation Education Department shared teachings and artifacts with us as they wove math into traditional ways of learning. Everyone had an opportunity to make art with bulrush reeds and practice using traditional weapons. Ms. Anjie Dawson, Ms. Tracy Williams, and Mr. Norman Guerrero rocked the house!

The students have been having a great time learning. They arrive early, excited to start and exit the classrooms smiling and enlightened.

What a fantastic first week!

- Ms. Sheryl Thompson, Camp Coordinator


Day 1: July 2, 2015


For more information, please contact Veselin Jungic at irmacs-summercamp2015@sfu.ca.

      Wednesday, 1st Thursday 2nd Friday 3rd
9:00 - 9:30         Breakfast
9:30 - 10:45       10:00-11:30 Opening Ceremony Math/English
10:45 - 10:55       11:30-12:30 Lunch Break
10:55 - 12:10       12:30-2:00 Math Assessment Test English/Math
12:10 - 1:00         Lunch
1:00 - 4:00         1:00-3:00 Special Events - Presentation by Janelle Dobson-Kocsis, Douglas College
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
  Monday 6th Tuesday 7th Wednesday 8th Thursday 9th Friday 10th
9:00 - 9:30 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
9:30 - 10:45 Math/English Math/English Math/English Math/English Math/English
10:45 - 10:55 Break Break Break Break Break
10:55 - 12:10 English/Math English/Math English/Math English/Math English/Math
12:10 - 1:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:00-1:15 Meet in IRMACS Atrium Walk to activity - Gymnasium Meet in IRMACS Atrium Meet in IRMACS Atrium Meet in IRMACS Atrium
1:15 - 4:00 1:00-3:00 "Murder and Maggots" with Gail Anderson, SFU
3:00-4:00 EMPU tour with Sherri Ferguson
1:15-2:00 Field 4 (Soccer)
2:00-3:00 Raquetball Courts (Dodgeball)
3:00-4:00 Cornerstone Field (California Kickball)
1:00 - 3:00 "Mathematics: Origami" with Natasha Davidson, Douglas College
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
"The Squamish Nation: Past and Present" with Tracy Williams, M.Ed, Squamish Nation Education Department 1:00-3:00 Special Events - Totem Pole Carving with Dave Robinson
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
  Monday 13th Tuesday 14th Wednesday 15th Thursday 16th Friday 17th
9:00 - 9:30 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast   Breakfast
9:30 - 10:45 Math/English Math/English Math/English Field Trip To UBC Math/English
10:45 - 10:55 Break Break Break   Break
10:55 - 12:10 English/Math English/Math English/Math Museum of Anthropology English/Math
12:10 - 1:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch PIMS Lunch
1:00-1:15 Meet in IRMACS Atrium Walk to activity - Gymnasium Meet in IRMACS Atrium   Meet in IRMACS Atrium
1:15 - 4:00 1:00 - 1:30 Aboriginal Students at SFU with Ciara Morgan-Feir
1:30 - 3:00 "Cloning Humans - a Science Fiction or Not?" with Ivona Mladenovic, SFU
3:00-4:00 "Being a Woman in Engineering Industry" with Fumiko Suzuki
1:15-2:00 East Gym (Basketball)
2:00-3:00 Field 2 (Quidditch)
3:00-4:00 Maggie Field (Capture the Flag)
1:00-3:00 "Mathematics: Puzzles" with Shawn Desaulnier, UBC
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
TRIUMF 1:00-2:15 Presentation by Leslie Varley and Tysun Tallman, The Aboriginal Health Provincial Health Services Authority
2:15-3:30 Presentation by Sara Neuert and Scott Munro, The First Nations Financial Management Board
3:30 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
  Monday 20th Tuesday 21st Wednesday 22st Thursday 23rd Friday 24th
9:00 - 9:30 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
9:30 - 10:45 Math/English


Guest Speaker: Ms. Joanne Arnott

Math/English Math/English Math/English
10:45 - 10:55 Break Break Break Break Break
10:55 - 12:10 English/Math


Guest Speaker: Ms. Joanne Arnott

English/Math English/Math English/Math
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
  Walk to activity - SCC 9051 Walk to activity - Gymnasium Meet in IRMACS Atrium Meet in IRMACS Atrium Meet in IRMACS Atrium
1:15 - 4:00 1:00-3:00 4D Lab tour with Nathanael Sieb, SFU
3:00-4:00 "Lasers and Light" with Nancy Forde, SFU
1:15-2:00 Fox Field (Line Tag)
3:00-4:00 AQ Gardens (Camouflage)
1:00-3:00 "Mathematics: Playing SETS" with Brenda Davison, SFU
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
1:00-4:00 "Making Connection Through History and Education" with Noreen Pankewich, Aboriginal Resource Teacher 1:00 - 3:00 "Interacting With Robotics via a Lego Mindstorm Workshop" with Stephen Price and Daniela Abasi, SFU
3:00 - 4:00 Directed Studies with Kay Lever
  Monday 27th Tuesday 28th Wednesday 29th Thursday 30th Friday 31st
9:00 - 9:30 Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast  
9:30 - 10:45 Math/English


Guest Speaker: Ms. Loretta Todd

Math/English Math/English Students to meet in IRMACS Atrium at 10:00
10:45 - 10:55 Break Break Break Break  
10:55 - 12:10 English/Math


Guest Speaker: Ms. Loretta Todd

English/Math English/Math 11:00-12:30 - Closing Ceremony
- Veselin Jungic - Welcome and Thank You
- Jon Driver, Vice President Academic
- William Lindsay, Director, OAP
- Jordan Forseth, Carley Henze, and Kay Lever, Teachers
- Sheryl Thompson, Camp Coordinator
- Alannah Blouin-Summers, Volunteer
- Autumn Collins and Paagyanti Lifanica, Students

- Wanda John, Parent
- Presentation of Certificates of Completion and Gifts
- Students showcase: Jose Paulson, Destiny Morris, Anika Robertson, Aaron Oxley, and Paagyanti Lifanica
12:10 - 1:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch  Lunch
1:00-1:15 Walk to activity - SCC 9051 Walk to activity - Gymnasium Meet in IRMACS Atrium Meet in IRMACS Atrium  
1:30 - 3:30 1:30-2:45pm Observatory tour c/o Howard Trottier (presentation in Trottier studio before proceeding to the observatory)
3:00-4:00 Erin Barley and Kyle Bobiwash (Biology)
1:00-2:30 Scavenger Hunt
2:30-4:00 Waterfight on Maggie Field
1:00-2:00 "SFU Bridging Program" with Natalie Wood-Weins, SFU
2:00 - 4:00 Students' Presentations with Kay Lever
1:00-4:00 Students' Presentations with Kay Lever