DID ALL THAT REALLY HAPPEN?

9 Aug

When in the throes of an event, it’s tough to break away to report or reflect on what’s happening.  So it was with EdPowerment’s Summer Intensive: three weeks comprised of an Enrichment Camp, Sponsored Student meetings and tutoring, Teacher’s Workshops, ACT (Autism Connects Tanzania)’s Professional Two-Day Workshop and of course, the unscripted.

Now, a month later, here is the first in a series of blogs to share the substance and impact of EdPowerment’s community outreach this Summer. 

Learning Can Be – Exciting!

 

Math and science.  These are the bane of many students’ existence.  They are two of the words in what is arguably the most discussed acronym in education today – STEM.   And… when taught with clarity and enthusiasm, they can both excite and fuel student learning.
Math and science were two subjects targeted in EdPowerment’s Kilimahewa Enrichment Camp and subsequent Teacher’s Workshop.  In its second year, EdPowerment’s Enrichment Camp used the semester break in the Tanzanian academic calendar to bring together local teens (over 100 secondary and high school students) and U.S. volunteers, most of whom were professional educators this year.  The goal?  To light the spark of curiosity.  To turn a school break that would otherwise be wasted into a celebration of learning.  

This year’s surprise was that out of 6 subjects (math, science, art, computers, physical education and health, and English) taught at Camp, the oft-dreaded science and math captured the most student attention.  U.S. teachers came to TZ prepared to bring these subjects alive.  Their planning, flexibility, and simple teaching tools – supported by  a talented group of sponsored students who served as translators/ assistants – turned math and science periods into real learning labs.  

Teens hovered around experiments, worked in groups to come up with answers and solutions, and grasped previously learned concepts in a new way.

Density, temperature measurement and expansion, geometric measurement, algebraic equations – these were some of the topics.  Physics bouncing balls, jelly marbles (absorbent polymers), math boards, string and tape – these were some of the tools that helped conceptualization.

And not to be ignored, even English came to life as students competed in antonym BINGO for coveted prizes.

“AHA moments” abounded in this year’s Enrichment Camp.

Next up:  Teaching Can Be – Exciting!

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