Aga Khan Elementary School pupils in Uganda have demonstrated their exceptional knowledge and skills in the field of science. The school, along with its parents, is now encouraging other primary schools in the country to embrace the concept of science fairs as a practical method of teaching science subjects and nurturing a generation of future scientists.
During the annual Science Fair held at the school last Friday, Mr. Emmanuel Ndoori, the head teacher of Aga Khan Elementary School, expressed his belief in the benefits of science fairs. He called on other schools to adopt this approach, emphasizing how science fairs foster skills like innovation, research, and experimentation, engaging all five senses and thus making teaching and learning more effective.
Mr. Ndoori explained, “When teaching through science fairs, students engage all their senses—touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. This immersive method not only facilitates teaching but also ensures effective learning. It fosters a scientific mindset in our students.”
As an example, when teaching the concept of the Body Mass Index (BMI), students can relate body weight to height and age. This knowledge empowers them to take care of their bodies and, in cases where parents are obese, advise them on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and hydration. It bridges the gap between theoretical science teaching and practical application.
The remarkable display of scientific knowledge was evident at the recent Science Fair. Aga Khan Elementary School pupils captivated their parents with a wide array of projects covering various science topics, including human anatomy, nuclear energy, geophysics, nutrition, robotics, and medicine, among others.
One parent, Ms. Lydia Efata, commended the students’ projects on nutrition, balanced diet, and electric circuits, highlighting that they provided a comprehensive view of the children’s scientific learning. She observed growth in their understanding of different subjects, noting, “Their knowledge expands as they progress through different classes, making complex concepts more accessible. This collaborative and hands-on approach to learning adds a fun dimension to education.”
Mr. Paul Tumwesigye, another parent, praised the articulate manner in which the children presented their projects. He suggested that this teaching and learning method should serve as a model for other schools, considering its effectiveness.
Lydia Nanyange, a parent and lawyer, shared her insights from the fair, noting that she had gained valuable knowledge on electricity, insulators, conductors, blood circulation, and the importance of water in the digestive system. She emphasized that this approach to teaching made science practical and allowed students to grasp how scientific principles operate in the real world.
For quite some time, President Museveni has been an advocate for the promotion of science education in schools. Some institutions argue that teaching science is costly due to the resources required. However, the Aga Khan pupils showcased that they utilized locally available materials, such as food, paper, and waste materials, to illustrate their ideas, moving away from expensive simulators often seen in schools.