"I love science because I learn how to make new things” third grade student Ahmad shared as he proudly displayed his project at the Beirut Baptist Science Fair. “It’s fun to discover new things” added another student Kamal.
In the last weeks of the school year all elementary and middle school students took part in science fair showcasing the range of science topics covered throughout the year. Science is a core subject at Beirut Baptist School [BBS] and follows the Lebanese education curriculum requirements. The science curriculum begins in kindergarten with appropriate interaction with general science principles. In elementary grades, many of the student’s projects were on animal and plant life cycles.
Middle School focusses on Earth and Life Sciences, including geology, weather systems, DNA, and anatomy. Excited middle schooler’s showed off their 3D solar systems, and potato battery presentations. Other presentation boards focused on deforestation, the skeletal system, tornadoes, how much Vitamin C we need, and the effects of Pepsi on teeth.
The courtyard where students had their presentations lined up was buzzing with excitement as each student displayed their science boards and weeks of work. Principal Pierre Rahal and selected teachers acted as the “judges” and announced winners at the chapel service that afternoon, where LSESD Executive Director Nabil Costa shared with the students about the power of knowledge in influencing one’s environment, future and circumstances.
Science is a body of knowledge but it is also a process, which is why the experimentation component of science is so important to learning. With hands on activities, students learn real-world application of the scientific method. Having the opportunity to experiment and tests hypothesis in a science lab should be a part of every student’s interaction with science. That is what makes learning fun and come alive for students.
The BBS Upper School emphasizes Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, however there is currently only one science lab for the entire school of over 1,000 students. Recent construction has allowed the school to designate new space for anther lab, but the school is lacking funds to equip it with the necessary experiment equipment such as pH meters, beakers, burners, and graduated cylinders.
The science coordinator dreams to keep the current lab for the elementary students, and use the new space for upper and middle school. However BBS still needs seven thousand and eight hundred dollars [US$ 7,800] to equip the lab.
Science cannot be studied in textbooks alone. It needs to be lived, tested, and hands-on. It is the study of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation. Giving students the opportunity to execute the experimentation side is essential to fostering learning, analytical thinking, and problem solving in students. These characteristics carry over from science into life.
Discovery should be a part of every child’s learning experience. From the buzz at the science fair, young BBS students are at a stage where science is fun and about discovering the world around them. Equipping the science laboratory with materials will continue to foster the awe and wonder we all feel when we understand how the universe works and the power of innovation and invention.