NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK OUREACH
EARTH AND BEYOND
National Science Week rolled out in Khayaletisha on the 29th of July 2013. Five schools were invited to participate in the programme for the week, which will culminate in an Educator Workshop on the 2-08-2013.The schools were requested to invite twenty learners and their Natural Science Educator from a neighbouring school to attend the learner outreach for the day. The aim of the event was to was to increase astronomy awareness in the schools and promote the establishment of Science Clubs for learners. The coordination of the project was carried out with the assistance of Mrs Zodwa of Lwandle Primary School. Learners and educators also had the opportunity to listen to various guest speakers from different departments at the SAAO, speaking about their careers and also encouraging learners to pay more attention to their studies and improve the quality of their Maths and Science results. Learners had an opportunity to ask questions after every talks.
Dr Nicola Loaring kicked off the career talks for the week. Her talk was on the Solar System and the developing astronomy industry in South Africa. She encouraged learners to think about careers that would lead them to contribute to the growing astronomy industry. However many of the learners were keen to find out, what were the requirements for becoming an astronaut and how rockets work. Dougie Melcalf from the Engineering Department addressed learners at Hopolang Primary brought a wide range of scientific instruments for the learners to see and touch. Learners had a opportunity to learn how Engineers used drawings to create scientific instruments used in space science. Learners also had the opportunity to ask Dougie, how some of the instruments were used in various scientific fields. Sivuyile Manoxyi the Manager of SCBP at SAAO, addressed learners at Yomelela Primary. The presentation was done in isiXhosa and Sivuyile brought an energy to the learners which, the learners fed off and participated with the same eagerness. Sivuyile gave learners a brief history of the Observatory and explained to learners the type of work done at there. He thereafter went on to explain key astronomical concepts. The learners were so enthralled with the information, that the career talk time slot ran into overtime. With a result Sivuyile will be revisiting the school next week Monday to inspire our budding scientists, astronomers and engineers. Willie Koorts headed of to Ntwashlobe Primary. Willie explained to learners that there are a number of engineering fields that one can branch into and gave a brief description of each one. This was followed by the type of engineering he is involved in. He also brought along a number of mechanisms and pictures to show the show learners . Using a laser and different types of optic cables, Willie and an assistant learner demonstrated on it works. Both the learners and the educators were captivated by the demonstration. At the end of the talk, the learners were extremely interested in how telescopes operated and an astronomy linked question about moon phases. Willie was able to answer both these questions with the utmost ease. Friday marked the end of the learner outreach in Khayaletisha and Hamish Whittal addressed learners at Homba Primary with a extremely interactive software programme talk. The learners eagerly engaged with Hamish in all aspects of the talk . He also brought a personal element to the talk, by bringing along his first computer which was bought with when he was 11years old.
The week was designed to engage learners in astronomy related activities linked to the National CAPS Curriculum in term four. Learners participated in 3 tasks for the day. They explored the Solar System, identifying key features of planets, made a moon find viewer and simple Mars Rover Lander using a balloon and template. These activities were structured around the school timetable, which ensured that learners were occupied for the entire day.
The Solar Search was designed by the Voortrekker Club and was used by Science Club learners at an outreach event in March at the Observatory. The activities begin with a discussion about the solar system and naming of planets including discussing their features. The learners work in pairs and completed the solar search. This was followed by identifying the moon phases and how the moon orbits around the earth using the Earth ball and white ball to represent the moon. Learners created a moon finder, which they can use to identify the 8 phases of the moon in the southern hemisphere. The last activity was creating a Mars Rover Lander. Firstly learners needed to understand the objective of Mars Rover being sent to space. The Mars Rover were used to collect information about the surface of Mars and whether there are living s things on any other planets.
For the second consecutive year the National Curriculum Advisor of the Western Cape Education Department Ms Suanne Rampou, has supported EUNAWE National Science Week initiatives by participating in the plans events. NSW is a stepping stone for greater collaborations between EUNAWE and WCED.