24 June 2013
Everyone was a winner at the recent Future Scientist Fair, held at the UNRWA Education Development Centre in Amman. Students from about 60 UNRWA schools across Jordan gathered to compete, bringing projects that ranged from fascinating and creative to practical and useful.
The fair was sponsored by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.Valentina Qussisiya, the CEO, was very impressed, and not just with the projects themselves. “I am also impressed with the students’ self-esteem and the way they can confidently explain what they are doing and why,” she said.
In one innovative entry, students from Sweileh Preparatory Girls’ School used common household items such as washing liquid to extract DNA from organic material, so they could see the DNA with the naked eye.
Sweileh student Juman Amen said: “I am in love with biology, so the idea of seeing DNA is amazing.”
From other schools, students brought projects that addressed important issues, including pollution and the environment. One group explored using solar power to cook rice. Students from Marka Preparatory Girls’ School No. 3 had already changed their families’ use of cooking oil, through a project that examined the effect of antioxidants on oil. They experimented with using natural products, including orange peel, to protect oil from oxidization.
“It’s really exciting to see science brought to life by the students in such practical ways,” said UNRWA Deputy Director Mike Oswald. “Energy conservation and efficiency, clean water, food production and the other projects we see here are some of the key technological challenges the world faces today. The students here have risen to that challenge impressively.”
In the fair’s Grade 8-10 division, first prize was shared by Nuzha Girls’ School No. 1 and Taibeh Girls’ School. Nathief School received the first prize for the Grade 4-7 division.
Dr Amal Ayyash, head of the Education Development Centre, said that the fair is part of an effort to spread a culture of science and research within UNRWA schools. “It’s not just about the science itself,” she explained. “It also builds skills in critical thinking and decision-making that students can use to solve daily problems.”
The award ceremony was well attended, with many families travelling across the country to support the students. The event was hosted by Ms Qussisiya, UNRWA director Marta Colburn, UNRWA education development centre head Dr Amal Ayyash, UNRWA science education specialist Surayya Ayyad and UNRWA deputy director of education Dr Saber Abd-Alkareem.