CERN ITW 2018 Ambassadors for Ghana and Canada tour some selected schools In the Volta Region of Ghana
CERN ITW 2018 Ambassadors for Ghana and Canada Messrs Akpeloo Christ-offer A.K. and Gregory Michael D. have toured some selected schools in the Volta Region of Ghana in a project dubbed: “Promoting The Teaching And Learning Of Science Through Practical Activities In Selected Basic, Junior High, Senior High And Colleges Of Education In The Volta Region Of Ghana”.
The project which lasted for two weeks saw the ambassadors in seven schools across five districts of the region.
The selected schools include; Saint Francis College of Education and Saint Teresa College of Education all in the Hohoe Municipality; Mawuko Girls Senior High School in the Ho municipality; Anyako A. A. Fia Schools in the Keta Municipality; Vehem-Mawunyo International School in the Ketu North District; and Adaklu Senior High School in the Adaklu District.
The project which was hosted by Ho International School, Ho and partnered by St. Francis College of Education, Hohoe with collaboration from the Ambassadors aimed at;
- Intensifying campaign to schools to encourage and promote the study of science.
- Providing support for Science teachers’ professional development in the field of particle physics.
- Promoting the teaching and learning of science from the foundational levels of education through innovative practical approaches.
- Facilitating the process of teaching and learning through improvisation
- Encouraging the exchange of knowledge and experience among students and teachers of different schools.
- Intensifying awareness and stimulating students’ interest in science and its activities within and beyond the classroom.
- Helping CERN establish closer links with schools all around the world.
- Facilitate and encourage formation of science clubs in schools visited.
- Distribute laptop computers to most schools visited to support work of science clubs
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research.
Thousands of scientists from all over the world work together here to advance the knowledge of matter, its fundamental constituents and the forces that link them. Founded in 1954, CERN was one of the first European collaborations, uniting countries that had been fighting against one another during the Second World War. The number of Member States has now grown to 22.
Every year, CERN offers various professional development programmes for teachers to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in particle physics and related areas, and experience a dynamic, international research environment. All programmes are facilitated by experts in the field of physics, engineering, and computing and include an extensive lecture and visit itinerary.
The 2018 International Teacher Weeks Programme (ITW2018), took place at CERN, Geneva, from Sunday, 5 August to Saturday, 18 August 2018. In all, a total of 46 teachers from 37 different countries were selected. Among these participants were:
Mr. Akpeloo Christ-offer A.K., CERN ambassador for Ghana - Science teacher and Senior Laboratory Technician at St, Francis College of Education, Hohoe; and Gregory Michael, CERN ambassador for Canada - Founder and curator of www.youtube.com/MyFavouriteExperiments, Coordinator of Gifted Programming at Ecole Jeannine Manuel, Paris Volunteer at UNESCO headquarters.
The goal of practical work is to explore how things work, rather than to focus on how things look. This became apparent from discussions about a homemade distillation apparatus, and from use of cardboard microscopes, which are cheap and functional, but do not look at all like what we teach our students a microscope looks like.
It is excellent that the teaching staff are taking initiatives on this kind of practical work for demonstration, and they should be encouraged to do so. It can be even better if they keep in mind that function is infinitely more important than appearance.
Teachers and students were amazed at how simple waste material can be tuned into very vital instruments that teachers have been looking for all these years to enhance teaching and learning. We are confident that many of the teachers and students we worked with will adopt and put into use these improvised methods of teaching.
Lack of adequate resources and dedicated lab facilities continue to be a problem in Ghana and around the world. The inconspicuous absence of a resourced facility equipped with basic scientific tools and equipment to facilitate teaching and learning remains an avoidable disincentive responsible for the continuous exit of science students from the field of science and its endeavours.
Number of students engaged in practical work in a room at time is always very large, this does not promote effective practical work. Practical work is most engaging when student groups are small enough that each student feels they are playing an active role in the investigation.
This requires that available space and materials are sufficient for the number of students in a class.
Teachers and students should continue to develop practical experiences, whenever possible using cheaply or freely available materials.
Increased investment should be encouraged to ensure high quality lab facilities.
Professional development sessions in area of improvisation for science teachers, trainees and students need to be organized periodically to encourage use of local raw materials to promote the study of the subject.
Mr. Akpeloo and Mr. Gregory will continue to be in contact with the schools to support and advice on their continued development of hands-on science. Please get in touch if you would also like to share ideas with us.
Mr. Gregory will be sending some of his best students from Paris to continue this work, and join Mr. Akpeloo in their efforts.
In the future, we hope to develop a science hub to further support the development of science teaching skills and hands-on experimentation in the Volta Region and Ghana.
Links and Resources
Use glass bottle (beer, wine, juice, etc), one-hole stopper, tubing, balloon and coloured water to make a gas thermometer.
PS/Pr - Obesrve temperature rise and fall with heat from hands, discuss thermal expansion. Jhs - Calibrate with resevoirs of known temperature, and use to measure unknown temperatures. Shs/Col - Calibrate, then extrapolate results to predict absolute zero.
Straw trick - a plastic drinking straw on top of a soda bottle can be a simple yet powerful demonstration of static electric attraction and repulsion.
Make toilet paper personal pinhole theatre to observe image of brightly-lit person/landscape. The mechanism how a pinhole can form a coherent image can be explained by using coloured bulbs and coloured string or yard to trace light rays.
Primary colours of light were mixed in a playful way to create secondary colours of light.
Rutherford Gold-Foil Experiment
Two different activities to model Rutherford’s experiment to discover the nucleus and measure its diameter. Marinko’s approach is more active, which he developed to engage students with various disabilities. Chantal’s was developed to gather and analyse data with undergraduate students. It is based on a common method for calculating pi, and could indeed be used to do that, if pi, rather than diameter is taken to be the unknown.
Chantal’s Pencil Drop: http://fisicademos.blogs.uv.es/files/2018/10/demo150.pdf
Video of Chantal at DDD:
Using a simple accrylic lens, a smartphone, some cardboard and elastics, you can make a suprisingly powerful and veratile mircroscope. Onion skin cell preparations were our most popular use for these, along with having fun looking at bugs and smartphone pixels. Pixel observations are great to pair with the coloured shadow activity to reinforce the concepts of colour mixing.
Re-using bags from “pure water”, we would place the bags under a board, table or desk, and use drinking straws to blow air into the bags to lift the board and whatever was on it.
Iron Science Teacher 2015: https://youtu.be/c8ZNRrF5CqI?t=893