I know a St Judes Science Fair is vastly different from a Western one: the students of St Judes come up with more basic inventions rather than explaining complex research.
However, when you compare St Judes with other schools, and especially with government schools, we are vastly different because we have a Science Fair.
Government schools (considered public schools) largely do not promote the sciences as strongly because they do not have the funding to even provide science labs. Students mainly learn from textbooks, without the access or resources to do experiments.
We are lucky to have enough funding to promote more hands-on and practical learning in the sciences compared to other Tanzanian schools.
This day, we were able to open our 4 new science labs – which is very symbolic to our enthusiasm to develop practical learning. It is no wonder the student body prefers the sciences, due to its more hands-on learning compared to other subjects at our school.
New Science Lab
The 3rd Annual Science Fair was a big deal at St Judes. Considering it was the second one I attended, there were huge differences and improvements made from last year.
First, projects were divided by category. There was an arts category, math, geography, biology, ICT (Internet Communications & Technology aka Computers), physics, etc.
I, of course, appreciated the arts category. They were aesthetic, something I admired the students to explore:
The Volcano on Fire! Displayed by Mustapha (white coat), Godbless, and Melekezedek (R – L)
Students also taught me how to make traditional candles:
and Levina taught me how to make paper charcoal – much better for the environment because 1) it recycles paper and 2) less omission of green-house gases!
One group of boys made a mouse trap – if the mouse stepped on the metal plate (that perhaps had cheese / food to entice) – it would trigger the magnet to let go of the metal container it was holding – to drop and catch the mouse. A lot more humane than killing those rascals!!
These girls (Catherine, Jesca, and Beatrice) – showed me how to make traditional medicine without using any chemicals – purely oils and ingredients from fruits and herbs:
David and Ernest showed me the different parts to a computer, something I was intrigued to see David so passionately talk about. Normally when I see David around school he’s a bit jaded – and for the first time – I saw him animated and enthused. Ah, the beauty of seeing kids in different settings so you can learn their interests!
David, very Left, explaining the different parts of a computer
The two projects that impressed me the most were the following:
Riziki, a Form 4 student and roughly 17/18 years old – is an exceptionally talented artist. What I didn’t know, was that he was also a creative inventor!
Above he displays his own hand-made blender. Behind the wooden plank with grafitti lies a knife. You plave the food onto the metal place, and pulling on the wooden handle (which you can see protruding top right of machine) – you can chop your ingredients.
This then falls into the blue pitcher – where an electric motor grinds the ingredients to make – Tadaaa! Juice!!
Can you believe he made this?!
The first prize winner went to Lisson, who made (drumroll please) – A GENERATOR.
Yup, Lisson’s around 16 years old – and made a generator that could be powered both by gas and kerosene. How ridiculously crazy is that?! He found an old motor and basically hooked up all the wires and such to make it work. For a good hour the generator broke and Lisson just preservered to try and fix it, while he had hundreds of students come through to watch his brilliance. He got it back up and running finally, and of course – won first prize.
Mr Mcharo, head of the Science Department, wanted to give out cash prizes for our students who won Top 3 in their categories, as well as Top 3 overall. We were sponsored by Exim Bank – and students were thrilled to bring home some dough.
Awards Ceremony: Cash Prizes for Winners
And so there you have it. A successful Science Day, also meant to inspire other schools to encourage more practical and hands-on ways for students to display their knowledge.
Other students came to visit. (Boy on Left from Edman Rice, another school)
We are extremely lucky that our school has the funds to promote more hands-on learning in the sciences, with the addition of 4 more science labs. Our school has a strong focus in the sciences and the student body tends to favor these classes (probably because they are the most hands-on!)
As the years go on and we continue to have a Science Fair – it will be thrilling to know what more our students will create and make.