The power of close looking: Science Club in Ghana December 2, 2011Posted by Connie Chow in Clubs.
Tags: ghana, girls, Science
How many items do you use regularly that has a battery in it? Have you really thought about a battery as a curiosity?
In a classroom without electricity, and where homes are either unlit or evening chores are done under candlelight or kerosene lamps, a dry cell, or battery, is certainly not an every day item.
And while simple circuits are taught in school, and the girls in our science club can draw a diagram and tell you which end is supposed to be the positive, it was a moment of discovery for them to hold a battery in their hand, and find out for themselves, that “+” sign.
It’s a simple act, but there’s power in realizing that you don’t always have to take your teacher’s word on faith. That the physical world is connected to your flat text book drawings. That you can find out information about the world yourself, if you only looked carefully.
And that is the curriculum that we shared with the teachers in Pokuase, Ghana this past week. Thanks to the Science House Foundation, we delivered two digital microscopes – one standard and one handheld –to this peri-urban town. Lucky that one is powered by a laptop and the other by batteries. Which means that we can use them in the schools that have incomplete circuits for electricity.
The teachers discovered new worlds looking at paper, cloth, plants, their own hands and the girls will too. Using The Private Eye Project‘s principles, which develops the skills of close observation, drawing, analogy making (yes, poetry is allowed), and hypothesis making, we created a curriculum that will help girls develop the skills of creative thinkers, scientists, artists and inventors. And most importantly, for them to find their voice and trust in their own senses.
Can’t wait for the girls’ final project to make a wall quiz with their diagrams, paintings, poetry and riddles of the objects literally under their noses. They’ll discover that nothing is commonplace!
The teachers were so enthusiastic during the training that we forgot to take pictures…