17 January 2018

Namibia: Learners Say B2Gold Science Fair Was 'Amazing'

Windhoek — Windhoek learners who attended the Little Shop of Physics science fair at Dawid Bezuidenhout School in Windhoek last Friday could not stop talking about how interesting the fair was. Pupils from nine schools in Windhoek participated at the event.

The science fair exhibited science kits, experiment gadgets and contraptions made out of easily available materials that children encounter everyday.

Using a combination of ordinary wires, cardboards, empty bottles, paper, sand, magnet, word, and metals, the science fair was able to present a number of educational and experiment items. Among these were the slinky soundboard and an hourglass.

"I have been at different science fairs before, but it's the first time I am seeing (such) amazing things," said a beaming Desiree Rukoro, who is a Grade 6 learner at St. Andrew's Primary School. Rukoro says thanks to the science fair she has learnt how to conduct many experiments using different objects.

She says the best thing she saw was the Slinky Soundboard, an object that makes different sounds. The slinky soundboard is used to demonstrate to pupils the movement of sound waves. Using the board learners can try to simulate what high and low amplitude waves look like.

The Little Shop of Physics department at the American Colorado State University helped develop the science kits which were on exhibition. Little Shop of Physics has been helping Namibian teachers with developing simple and hands-on science kits since 2016, in partnership with a local mining company, B2Gold Namibia, through its educational programme B2Gold Education Centre.

The aim of the Little Shop of Physics is to find creative ways to share the wonder of science with people of all ages, backgrounds and interests. The approach is to use easily available materials, to have students work hands-on, and to have students explore and experiment in an open-ended, inquisitive fashion.

Breyton Beukes a Grade 12 learner at the host school says he learnt that people could create extraordinary things from just ordinary material. Beukes also learnt different ways of using magnets and simple solar panels.

Prosperity Alubent, a Grade 9 learner from St. Paul's College, says the fair was very interesting because she experimented using the knowledge she is always taught in class. She says the fair expanded her mind.

The aim of the science fair was to empower individuals and learners in particular, to see the world and themselves in a different light through hands-on science.

The programme also aims to demonstrate to students and teachers that "science is something anyone can do". The fair accomplishes this by allowing participants to act as scientists, to freely explore, engage and discover, and find creative ways to share the wonder of science. The founders of the fair believe and have demonstrated that anyone, at any age and from any cultural background, can understand science at some level.

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