Hello again, SeedKit friends!
Ghana and its people continue to impress me. The colorful clothing patterns and styles, the lively music and dancing, and the flavorful spice-rich food constantly amaze me! I’ve have already started wearing Ghanaian clothes, started a list of songs to download (even though I have no idea what they are saying) and I am working my way through all the typical dishes with gusto!
These past couple of weeks I have conducted surveys in three different Junior High Schools (JHS) in the area (JHS is the equivalent of Middle School). The students and teachers were very welcoming and collaborative! The joyful energy in the classes brought back memories of Middle School, when my classmates and I would linger and laugh in the hallways until the last second before the bell rang. With the surveys, we are assessing students’ attitudes towards science to determine how helpful the hands-on SeedKit lab protocols are in understanding challenging science concepts. The teachers and I will be facilitating the lab activities in the following weeks and I am excited to see what the students do with the material!
I’ve continued adding to my list of “Amazing People I Meet in Ghana”. A little over a week ago, The Exploratory team met with Ernestina “Tina” Appiah, founder and CEO of Ghana Code Club. Tina started her career as a secretary for an Information and Technology company in Accra. She quickly discovered that she loved technology and was inspired by the only lead female consultant in the company. Sheer curiosity and determination drove Tina to learn more about web design. She sought every opportunity to teach herself and learn from the professionals around her as she didn’t have the means to pay tuition fees (her income was for the care of her siblings). Tina honed her skillset and gained the confidence to advertise her assistant/consulting services online in search of clients. To her surprise, she found four clients immediately, including an American telecom company. That was the beginning of her first company. She soon quit her job as a secretary and recruited others to work with her. Years later, Tina started Ghana Code Club with the hope of equipping elementary school children in Ghana, especially girls, with the skills to thrive in a world dominated by technology. Another of her Organizational goals is to train teachers and encourage them to create and lead clubs in their schools. Later this summer, Tina and her team will participate in the yearly training session of The Exploratory teachers. I have no doubt that the Ghana Code Club team will inspire The Exploratory teachers to incorporate coding into their club activities!
My favorite event of the past two weeks was attending The Exploratory Club at one of the JHS schools in Pokuase. Although there were other festivities going on at the school, I was able to learn from a small group of incredibly curious girls. The Exploratory has recently acquired Basic Electronics Science Sets for the clubs in each school, so on Friday afternoon the girls and I sat down to play. I asked them to teach me everything they had learned regarding the subject. They took turns sharing what they knew and I eagerly wrote down what they said on my notebook. After playing around with the set a bit, we decided to do a short experiment. I encouraged them to generate a hypothesis about the role of a resistor in a circuit and we proceeded to test it. We struggled to get all the parts of the circuit to work, and eventually the girls were able to see that the resistors were making the LEDs dimmer. Seeing these young girls work together reminded me of my classes at Wellesley where I was lucky to work on problems alongside incredibly smart and hardworking women.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to the young Ghanaian man, Charles Ofori, for creating the Science Sets. Charles is an incredibly inventive guy and uses his skills to address prominent problems in his community. He is currently working on more sets that will complement the Basic Electronics Set. Here is an article about him highlighting some of his accomplishments so far. He has engineered some amazing tools while keeping in mind the values and traditions of the Ghanaian people! I hope to meet Charles at some point this summer.
The Exploratory team went on retreat in Busua this past week for a planning meeting with the lead teachers from every school.. It a beach town a few hours west of Accra, a beautiful place to learn of their inspiring plans for the year. The teachers and staff have awesome ideas on how to further develop the clubs. They aim to teach their students not only about science but also about their rights as amazing young girls! I hope that I can play a role in achieving some of their goals :)
Ampe is the latest most popular recess game around here nowadays. Try it out :)