For the past three days, St. Stanislaus College came alive with intriguing scientific experiments built from cardboard, local fruits and other simple materials.
The experiments were conducted under the purview of a team of four scientists and an engineer from ‘Pueblo Science’, a Toronto based non–profit organisation.
During their second visit to Guyana, the group was able to engage students and teachers from public schools on the various methods of advancing science education in Guyana.
The participants included teachers from Georgetown, regions three, four, five, six and 10, as well as recently appointed Special Education Needs Officers; volunteers from the Guyana Youth Innovation Projects and students of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) clubs. STEM Guyana also participated.
According to National Science Coordinator, Petal Jettoo, the simple interactive activities captivated some 70 participants.
She explained that the experiments included cardboard robots constructed to operate with fluid power, local fruits being used to generate electricity, and DNA extracted from bananas, among other fun activities which included a science race.
Jettoo told Kaieteur News that the classes were conducted with the assistance of the Science Unit of the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) Ministry of Education, through collaboration with the hosts, St. Stanislaus College Board of Governors.
“The initiative was made possible through the kind support from the Saint Stanislaus College Alumni Association, and the Alumni Associations of Toronto and Antigua.
“During the workshop, participants were placed in small groups and worked with materials through guidance from the Pueblo volunteers. Most of the materials used are low cost and readily available. The small groups allowed individual participation.
This practical approach to learning, supports the implementations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal # 4 – ensure inclusive quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Through practical experiences in science its relevance to society is realized. Participants extended their learning through the use of the scientific method to propose solutions for local problems such as environmentally-friendly sources of electricity generation and water purification among others.”
Jettoo noted that in addition to the fun and experimental approach promoted by Pueblo, the vision of the Ministry of Education is to popularize STEM education.
“This initiative is timely, since regional statistics show that approximately 15-20% of the student cohort writing the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examination do so in science subjects, leading to a human resource base in Science and Technology, which is very small. Several initiatives are being piloted the improve students’ interest in the STEM subjects.
Some of these include the UNESCO Global Microscience Experiments Project and the Sandwatch Programme. The STEM Guyana team is working through its robotics programme among its other initiatives to also increase students’ interest and learning in STEM.”
The Ministry of Education and the Board of Governors of the St. Stanislaus College, along with its Alumni Associations and the support from Pueblo Science will continue to partner to support the improvement of science education in Guyana.
Pueblo Science is a Toronto-based charitable organization passionate about advancing science education in low-resource communities around the world. The Pueblo team that facilitated the recently concluded workshop included Dr. Mayrose Salvador – Executive Director and co-founder of Pueblo Science, along with the following volunteers – Dr. Martin Labrecque, Ms. Elizabeth Delve, Mr. Rommel Santos and Ms. Ekua Cudjoe.
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