Education in Thar: The First Maker & Science Expo
Pakistan Space Science Education Centre and Thar Foundation have collaborated to bring Thar's first science expo which will be held on 26th December. Let's take a look back at the combined efforts of these organizations, PSSEC in particular, to understand the amount of hard work they have put in for the future of not just these children but the whole generation.
Pakistan Space Science Education Centre came into existence because the STEM Education system wasn’t present in our country. Pakistan is still considered as a developing country because we lack in scientific education, especially space science education. PSSEC was made to break the barriers which stood like an obstacle between space science education and the people of Pakistan. They’re taking one step at a time to make this world a better place using science and education. This time, their spaceship has landed in Thar and the journey so far has been very fruitful.
Thar is considered an underdeveloped part of Pakistan, which only gets exploited due to the coal mine. It’s known to have one of the largest lignite coal reserves in the world. But the people living there aren’t aware of what is happening or how to actively take part in the coal mine project. A part of the educational project by PSSEC was to create awareness in the locals about this massive source of energy present in their area. The main agenda was to engage the youngsters in scientific experiments by providing them with hands-on experience.
The team of PSSEC visited schools run by the Thar Foundation over the course of two years. They created educational planners for the trip, which consisted of simple concepts, but the knowledge was transferred through experiments. These basic experiments allowed the children to become more curious & intrigued and the message being delivered was easily understood.
The experiments were backed by very basic concepts such as forces and movement, water recycling and filtration, properties fertile soil and testing methods, conditions and weather of surface of Mars and about rockets. The first step was to train the teachers so they could help in assisting children. Despite the language barrier, the sessions with teachers were conducted smoothly. When it was time for teaching children, the teachers were very helpful as they had already understood the lectures and experiments.
The theme of the whole educational trip revolved around exploring the conditions of Mars and relating them with Thar. Both places have similar conditions; hence, the experiments were designed in a way that children were able to learn about science and Mars-like conditions while easily relating to it. Later on, they would be able to apply those concepts in real life. The experiments were:
1. Balloon Car
2. Water Filtration
3. Soil Analysis
4. Mars Model
5. Bottle Rockets
The experiments were quite fun, easy and the kids enjoyed being involved in a healthy competition. The materials used for the experiments were cheap and easily affordable. It didn’t cost a lot and could be found everywhere so they could apply these experiments in real life and solve problems efficiently. The children in schools were eager to learn and got excited to see the team when they visited again.
PSSEC team visited twice over the course of two years and they had built this beautiful relationship with the teachers, children and that place which consisted mostly of sand dunes. “There was something so serene and mystical about sunsets of Thar,” said Nahyan, CDO & Co-Founder of PSSEC. They even visited the coal mine where a coal-fired power plant has been under construction since 2014.
Thar is an underdeveloped part of Pakistan, and that means it’s more prone to negligence. When people who want to make a difference through their actions and work come up with such amazing plans, then we feel like it’s our responsibility to support them. Their efforts will not go in vain. You don’t see people working for a greater good every day and it’s extremely overwhelming because when the government doesn’t do anything then such people come up to save the day.
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