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NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK: SCIENCE IS COOL!

An initiative by a local communications company to address the lack of opportunities for hands-on learning of science is set to make an impact on schools in the Umgungundlovu District during National Science Week.

The fact that South Africa lags far behind when it comes to maths and science education globally is just one of the problems that the country’s National Science Week aims to combat. Many students are deterred from taking science subjects usually because of a perception that science is difficult or boring. This is not unrelated to the severe lack of resources and opportunities for “hands-on” science in disadvantaged schools.

National Science Week is a country-wide celebration of science involving various stakeholders and role players conducting science-based activities and will run from the 27th of July to the 2nd of August 2013, with events throughout the country. National Science Week managed by South African Advancement in Science and Technology Agency, a business unit of the National Research Foundation.

Science Spaza will be supporting National Science Week by hosting an event at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg on the 27th of July 2013. The event will include demonstrations on a variety of topics, including Palaeontology, Astronomy and traditional knowledge. The event will also feature notable guest speakers including Umgungundlovu Mayor, Yusuf Bamjee, Ms. Jennifer Baiju, Manager of the Umgungundlovu District in KwaZulu Natal Department of Education, Professor Albert Modi of UKZN and Ntokozo Shezi, a geology graduate and a finalist in South Africa’s first FameLab science communications competition this year. 420 high school science learners from disadvantaged schools in Pietermaritzburg  will attend the event.

20 volunteers from local tertiary institutions will guide the day’s activities and be on hand to help learners and co-ordinate demonstrations.

Planned activities to promote National Science Week to learners will happen from the 29th of July to the 2nd of August as volunteers visit schools to promote hands-on science and the formation of school science clubs. Science Spaza aims to reach 15 000 learners in the Umgungundlovu District.

Science Spaza is an initiative run by a Pietermaritzburg-based science communications company, Jive Media Africa. It is designed to provide support to schools in disadvantaged areas throughout the country by encouraging them to form science clubs and providing sponsored resources for learning, in the hope that learners will improve their science literacy and ultimately be inspired to study science.

If you would like to partner with Science Spaza – National Science Week or attend the event, please visit www.sciencespaza.org for more information or email info@sciencespaza.org. Sign-up forms for students, who are interested in/want to start up their own science clubs at their schools, are also available on the websites.

In Makhado (Louis Trichardt) the Soutpansberg Astronomy Club, will be at various public venues and schools in Polokwane, Mussina, Thohoyandou, Giyani, Elim as well as Makhado (Louis Trichardt), promoting science and astronomy.  Astronomy and science related activities; handout material will be available, including posters and career information in the science, engineering and technology (SET) departments.

Venus and dates that the Soutpansberg Astronomy Club will be visiting:

27 July: Saturday – Polokwane, Mall of the North
28  July: Sunday – Polokwane, Sterkloop
29 July: Monday – Giyani, Muyexe High School
30 July: Tuesday – Elim, Elim Mall
31 July: Wednesday  – Thohoyandou, Spar

1 August: Thursday – Makhado, Litshovhu High and Makhado Annual Show
2 August: Friday – Makhado, Sumbandila Outreach & Makhado Annual Show
3 August: Saturday – Polokwane, Savannah Mall in conjunction with University of Limpopo
4 August: Sunday – Mussina, Great North Road Plaza.

The theme for 2013 is “Celebrating scientific areas in which South Africa has a competitive edge”.

The main topics to be conveyed are:

  • Astronomy
  • Mathematics
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Marine Sciences
  • Palaeontology
  • South African inventions


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