Engaging children: Science is in the air

Published: May 31, 2015
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KARACHI: The students of Pakistan Railways Secondary School had a moment of fun during a science fair held for them on Friday evening.

The fair was organised by Alif Ailaan in collaboration with Pakistan Science Club and Karachi Astronomy Club. According to Alif Ailaan network coordinator Andeel Ali, the school that had been left in a dilapidated state is now back in action thanks to the efforts of a local MNA, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Arif Alvi. Now fully functional, the school is regularly attended by students up to 800 in number.

“The science fair has been arranged to provide an activity-based opportunity for students, teachers and parents alike,” said Ali. “So far the response has been overwhelming. These kids are giving such smart answers.”

Boys dressed in grey slacks and girls in blue and white shalwar kameez sat huddled under tents as volunteers stood in front of them and asked them basic science questions. On one side, the Karachi Astronomy Club had their two telescopes ready as the participants waited for the sun to set so that the stargazing session could begin. Others, who were bored of the academic air, got hold of the stereo system and danced to their favourite beats oblivious to their surroundings.

The star of the evening for the children was the water pressure rocket made of plastic bottles. Hafiz Shahbaz of the Pakistan Science Club was surrounded by a crowd of boys around him. “It works on simple mechanics of air pressure,” explained Shahbaz as the children watched in fascination. “You just add a little water and pump up the water bottle with air until the air pressure outdoes the water pressure. Then it shoots up in the air momentarily.”

Girls were not too keen on the water pressure rocket and preferred to sit and chat among themselves. Aneesha and Ayesha of classes seven and nine, respectively, said that they loved science but not the kind of activities happening in the fair. Aneesha said that she wants to become an engineer. “I want to be an engineer when I grow up because I love mathematics,” she said. Sidra, on the other hand, plans to be become a doctor. “My family is very supportive of the idea,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2015.

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