by Kelly Long
GADRA’s Whistle Stop School (WSS) and Mobile Science Lab (MSL) have joined forces to launch an exciting new initiative. Their “Savvy Scientists” programme brings hands-on scientific experiences of a practical nature to Grade five and six learners attending schools that do not have laboratory equipment.
The initiative is aimed at inspiring young children to take an interest in the sciences from an early age with a long-term view to boosting the number of Grade 10 learners choosing Physical Science and Maths across the town.
St Mary’s RC Primary School, Good Shepherd Primary School, and Tantyi Primary School are participating in the pilot year of the programme. Each participating school will be visited once a term to enable learners to engage in fun and exciting hands-on science practicals that are related to their Natural Sciences curriculum. Retired and respected local science teachers, Rhona Duncan and Elspeth Whitfield volunteered to work with the GADRA team to design the practicals ensuring that they are engaging, interactive, and meet curriculum requirements.
There was great excitement last week as the first Savvy Scientists days were held at each of the schools. WSS and MSL staff worked with natural sciences teachers from the partner schools to ensure the practicals ran smoothly and the learners got the most out of the opportunity.
Term one saw the Grade five’s learning how to use a scientific key to classify a variety of leaves. Grade six learners tested the amount of energy contained in a peanut, and used iodine to test a variety of foods for the presence of starch.
GADRA looks forward to more successful Savvy Scientists days throughout 2023 and is hopeful that the programme can be offered to more schools in 2024.
(Kelly Long is Research and Communications Manager at GADRA).