Getting students to think critically about science and apply this learning to their everyday lives is never a bad thing. Couple that with a national competition inviting schools to submit science experiments, a chance for the public to vote on the most creative experiment and an opportunity for prizes to be won and the idea sounds like a winner!
This is what WeGo Innovate – a Ghanaian-Nigerian media organisation has devised in their latest offering dubbed the Junior Experimenters Of Science (JUNEOS). This national science competition aims to get Junior High School (JHS) teachers and students thinking about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and encouraging classroom innovation in the process.
Ghana is one of many countries that agreed to scale up investments and international cooperation to allow all children to complete free, equitable, inclusive and quality early childhood, primary and secondary education under the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The country made a specific commitment to ensure that 60% of its students took up STEM subjects all the way up to tertiary level.
The JUNEOS Challenge supports this commitment because students are encouraged to pick science experiments from the national curriculum and demonstrate in pictures or as a video how their experiment is innovative and can be applied to real life situations.
“We all know that not everyone learns in the same way and textbook learning does not necessarily work for everyone, WeGo Innovate and JUNEOS Challenge,” founder Charles Agbemashior told MisBeee Writes. “The JUNEOS Challenge gives teachers and students the chance to make teaching practical and boost the students’ learning experience and the potential for deeper understanding.”
But the benefits go much wider than that, Agbemashior explains. He wants these videos to become an additional resource tool for schools not just in Ghana but in other African countries and beyond. WeGo Innovate plan to launch a competition for students in Senior High School (SHS) in 2019 and are in the process of rolling the initiative out to Nigeria as well.
“Boosting STEM education is important for the growth of any nation because it provides relevant and real-world exposure to important math, science, technology and engineering concepts, while also preparing children for the future needs of our society,” said Agbemashior.
The JUNEOS Challenge is building on the existing work of NGOs and is partnered with Ghana Association of Science Teachers (GAST), the Ghana STEM Network, GhScientific, and The Exploratory, to harness more practical ways of teaching that incorporate video technology and enhance classroom interactivity. TV station Joy Prime and media outlet News Generation are also supporting the initiative.
Participating in the JUNEOS Challenge is simple. Schools share experiments conducted in their classroom based on the national science curriculum and send their experiments either as a photographs or a one-minute video.
After the 14 September deadline, the first round of shortlisting starts, Shortlisted experiments undergo a second round of judging process in which the experiments are filmed. These videos will be aired on Ghanaian TV stations, including Joy Prime, at the end of October for the public to watch their favourite experiments and vote.
Voting is simple, vote for the coolest, most intriguing experiment that clearly showcases how this experiment has real-life application. Winners receive great cash rewards and science equipment designed to support innovation in the classroom.
To compete in the challenge, visit www.wegoinnovate.org and check WeGo Innovate’s YouTube page Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @WeGoInnovate for regular updates and look out for the #Gh4STEM hashtag.
- Ghana Association of Science Teachers (GAST) – the largest professional science and technology association in Ghana comprising teachers and laboratory technicians. Members teach the sciences and manage laboratories, develop instructional and curriculum materials and equipment.
- The Ghana STEM Network – a non-profit organisation with a vision to raise a generation of Ghanaians who understand STEM and its role in national development and are equipped with skills in STEM to solve societal problems.
- GhScientific – a STEM-based registered UK charity and non-governmental organisation in Ghana with the primary aim of building capacity in STEM through public engagement and outreach activities.
- The Exploratory – an organisation devoted to making STEM enjoyable and practical for students.
- Joy Prime – A Channel well noted for transformational children programming. The Channel airs 24 hours of non-stop programming for the whole family. Aside Ghana, its transmission reaches into homes across West Africa with footprints in many more countries via Multi TV, DSTV Channel 281 and GoTV Channel 180.
- News Generation – is a News program/brand on Joy Prime and Joy News Channels delivering children focused News to Children and by Children.
For more blogs like this, check out: Breaking Barriers in Communication