Dr. Webster interviewing a primary school student
November is SoSA’s busiest month! Yes, we hosted our 4th Annual Conference. Yes, we launched a symposium focused on ‘science policy’ and ‘the business of science’. But…a major driving force behind all that we do is reaching GenerationNext! And in the recent workshop on November 19th, we hosted nearly 150 primary and high school students in an advanced Biochemistry lab at the University of the West Indies to do hands-on science activities!
Primary school students came from Allman Town Primary, St. Catherine Primary, Dunrobin Primary, Spanish Town Primary, Shortwood Practising and Half Way Tree Primary and gee, did they melt our hearts with their enthusiasm and zeal for learning!
Why were they excited you ask?
Because, they got to see microscopic critters wriggling around in water from different sources – pond water, ‘dirty water’ from mud, and tap water.
Because, they learnt to ‘make clouds rain’ using shaving cream, water and food coloring.
And because, they left grasping the idea of density and surface tension using different liquids such as milk, honey, oil and dish soap by making ‘tie-dye milk’ and density columns. Here, most of the programs were done with common household items so that these kids can continue to explore the world of science when they go home and back to class!
High school students came from Bridgeport High, Holy Childhood High, Jamaica College, Dunoon Technical and Norman Manley High, and we took these high-schoolers on a journey into forensic science – simulated – CSI style! The task put to them was to identify a robber who got into a physical altercation with a homeowner at the scene of a burglary, and these young minds jumped right in! The excitement showed on their faces as they identified ‘blood splatter’ from the robber which glowed in the darkened room, did ‘blood-typing’ to eliminate suspects and even simulated DNA fingerprinting to identify the culprit.
What was the result? A ‘can-do’ attitude. Students expressed newfound excitement for science! Students expressed that science can in fact be fun and exciting! And most of all, students express that they find that science is something that they can do and look forward to in the future! Oh yes, we were thrilled to hear this.
Another fulfilling aspect for us – the volunteer pool of young people that facilitated this workshop. In addition to SoSA’s dedicated members, a group of 12 undergraduates and recent graduates from the University of Central Florida travelled to Jamaica to volunteer to deliver STEPS to these students. Can you say gung-ho? Oh yes, the tie-dye shirts tell the story!
We are crunching the numbers on the feedback from student participants, so next time we will have numbers for you! Please continue to spread the word on the difference these programs are having on Jamaican youth – we thoroughly enjoy carrying on this work. Thank you for your support!!
STEPS in action!
Tie-dye shirts for tie-dye experiments, UCF group!
The STEPS masses!