Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science

by Society for Scientific Advancement
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Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
Uplift Jamaican Schoolchildren Through Science
STEPS High School Students!
STEPS High School Students!

Forensic Science intrigues all persons of different ages and stages in life. As such, we thought it would be exciting to have our STEPS secondary students extract DNA from fruit using household items and solve a Zombie Apocalypse using cutting edge techniques to track the outbreak of a fictitious Zombie Virus. These two experiments allowed for all 80 students enrolled in the workshop to interact with each other, promoting inter-school interactions. All in all, they were excited to exact DNA and view it under microscopes and also simulate the break out of a Zombie Apocalypse and discover who in the room was the originally “infected” individual. 

Here are some student reactions from their afternoon with us! 

What was their favorite activity?

Students were split between extracting the DNA and solving the Zombie Apocalypse. They absolutely enjoyed interacting with the students from other schools while taking on the role of a forensic analyst. 

We surveyed the students and these are a few examples of what they had to say. 

My favorite part was looking in the microscope for the DNA because in the future I would love to become a forensic scientist and I actually felt like a scientist today” 

My favorite activity was when separate the DNA from the banana because I learned that every fruits we eat has DNA in it.” 

The Human Zombie Virus because it was exciting and I got it to change color so I was a zombie” 

The zombie apocalypse experiment because it showed how one person can infect an entire population” 

Overall students left with a feeling of accomplishment and a renewed or continued passion for learning. We are thrilled to know that when asked, after doing experiments today would you be interested in becoming a scientist, students had comments like this to say: 

Yes, it widen knowledge and make us aware of things we might cannot see clearly with our naked eye without adding chemicals or using tools/ apparatus.” 

Yes, because being involved in any field of science helps you to analyze and reason out factual information and make your own opinions” 

We continue to excite and educate these young minds gearing them towards a future possibly in a career in STEM!

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STEPS primary school students using microscope
STEPS primary school students using microscope

We confess! We’re scientists – data crunching is something that we do!!

We introduce new activities in our STEPS workshops so that we appeal as many students as possible and to effectively show how applicable and fun science is. Because of this, we survey student participants to find out what they enjoy, what they don’t like and also try to gauge the benefits to the students and identify areas that we need to improve.

Here are some results from 126 primary school students!

What was their favorite activity?? Drumroll!!!

Students were evenly split between making their very own magnetic silly putty, making a test tube vanish, and the oldie but goodie – viewing microscopic critters in local water sources. The students continued to be fascinated about what cannot be seen with the naked eye!

What did they not like??

A number of students were already familiar with making an electromagnet using a battery, nail and copper wire, and so found this least stimulating. We’ve now know we have got to keep on our toes for Generation Z!

For some time now, SoSA has been considering going on the road – Heading into schools to work with kids in their environment. Students overwhelmingly responded to this idea, with 97.6% saying they would like it if SoSA volunteers visited schools and conducted experiments with students there.

We also took note of some positive trends – Just over 55% of students have interacted with scientists before the STEPS workshop. This is encouraging, but also means we have more work to do. This is exemplified by students’ responses, with 95% of students indicating that the interaction influenced the way they now think of science.

We also relish the honesty of those students who indicated that they were not influenced by the interaction with scientists - these students still responded that they had fun at the workshop – we’ll take that for now, while we further explore how to reach as many students as we can!

Thank you for your continued support - Stay tuned for feedback from high school students!

In their own words!
In their own words!
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Primary Sch. student using microscope for 1st time
Primary Sch. student using microscope for 1st time

Dear Friends!

Our hearts just about burst when we saw the raw excitement on students' faces as they entered the registration space for STEPS 2016 and saw for the first time the laboratory that they would be working in. We heard comments like "is this really where we will be today?", "this is just like the movies" and giggled along with them as they suited up in gloves and labcoats to do activities like "Identify Squirmies in Pond Water," "Making Test Tubes Vanish," and "Solving the Zombie Acopalypse!". 

Yes, in morning and afternoon sessions, we hosted 204 students from schools including Half Way Tree Primary, Mona Heights Primary, Swallowfield Primary, St. Richards Primary, Rock River Primary, Allman Town Primary, St Catherine Primary, Immaculate Conception, St. Francis Primary and Infant School, Papine High, Holy Childhood High, Jamaica College, Ardenne High, Jose Marti Technical High, Norman Manley High and Spanish Town High Schools! All thanks to you!

This lab was full to capacity. We will seriously have to think further on how to accommodate all schools that are interested especially as we expand further outside of the corporate area. We view this as a good problem to have!

On this #GivingTuesday, please consider donating to the project once again and telling all your contacts! Please feel free to circulate this report to all your familty, friends, colleagues, everyone!

When we reflect on the joy on their faces and how they just appeared to 'feel bigger' in their "STEPS Ambassador pins" when the workshops were dismissed, we are sure we doing a good thing.

Thank YOU for enabling us to reach these young minds once again!

Workshop - Full to capacity!
Workshop - Full to capacity!

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The promise of STEPS
The promise of STEPS

What time of year is that you ask?? SoSAvember!!

Yes, that right – It’s August, nearly September. Do you know what that means? Wheels are a-turning!

What do we have in store? Year 4 of STEPS! Can you believe it? We are now in full preparation to receive our 4th cohort of STEPS students, who will become science ambassadors to their schools, a majority of which have very limited resources.

Not only are we bringing even more kids into advanced laboratories to gain exposure to cutting-edge science using everyday materials, getting them excited about their future, and the promise it holds –  BUT….we are gearing up to outfit our first science laboratory at a primary school that’s much in need!

Your support, yes – Your support has helped us to reach over 1000 students so far. Can you tell we are excited?

As we approach our biggest time of year, please tell your friends about SoSA’s work! Thank you for your continued support.

 

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SoSA Intern and elementary school students!
SoSA Intern and elementary school students!

Life changing, inspiring and impactful are a few words that describe my experience with SoSA to say the least. To start, my journey with SoSA began two years ago when I became involved with the organization as an intern. Through months of planning, fundraising and networking, the pieces fall together for an outreach trip filled with learning. From my experience, the most memorable part of my journey would be the daylong science workshops provided by volunteers to the local elementary/middle school students. Students throughout Kingston are exuberant and fill the room with their presence, ready to conquer science! The smiles and excitement that glow on the student’s faces when they see something under the microscope for the first time or watch in amazement after creating a chemical reaction are priceless. It is the joy of learning and exploring the wonders of science that enlightens them to pursue a degree, to one day become professionals. Captivated by the excitement they have when learning, as a volunteer my heart fills with joy. It is a reminder why I chose the career I did and the difference I can make in others. To me, ‘blessed’ would be the word I choose to describe being given this opportunity. 

I grew not just as a student, but also as a person. Knowing I was capable of teaching and enlightening students about the wonders of S.T.E.M. careers keeps me longing for the year to come when I can once again teach science.  

A special thank you to the wonderful ladies that created such an amazing organization. You didn’t only change the lives of the students you help, but you’ve also changed the lives of those who volunteer. Thanks to you both, new doors have been opened up for those involved and minds have been filled with creativity. To me, this is only the beginning. With the years to come, SoSA will become more than you both dreamed of. Thanks again for being such beautiful souls and great mentors!

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Organization Information

Society for Scientific Advancement

Location: Orlando, FL - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thesosaorg
Project Leader:
Keriayn Smith
Orlando, FL United States
$21,553 raised of $25,750 goal
 
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