College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Young learners testing a solar-powered fan they made during the workshop.

STEC@UKZN Captivates Primary School Learners with Engaging Science Workshop

The Science Technology Education Centre at UKZN (STEC@UKZN) conducted a three-day outreach workshop at SM Jhavary Primary School in Durban with the aim of promoting science education and fostering strong relationships with schools.

Led by Dr Tanja Reinhardt and supported by interns Mr Samkelo Njiva and Mr Thembelani Khumalo, the three-day workshop provided an immersive learning experience for youngsters through fun and exciting activities tailored to their respective grade levels.

The workshop started with a day filled with exploration and creativity. Grade R learners got involved in a captivating colour activity, allowing them to discover the world of colours and develop their sensory perception. Meanwhile, Grade 1 learners took part in a Lego workshop, enabling them to unleash their imagination and hone their fine motor skills as they recreated patterns using the Lego bricks, sound and motion. The hands-on activity encouraged creativity while laying the foundation for understanding engineering principles. Grade 2 learners delved into the world of coding, being introduced to basic coding concepts. Through interactive activities, the youngsters got to grips with problem-solving and logical reasoning, enhancing their computational thinking abilities.

The highlight of the second day was an exciting journey of scientific exploration in which Grade 3 and Grade 4 learners focused on volcanos, engaging in hands-on experiments and demonstrations to understand the dynamics of volcanic eruptions. This interactive experience allowed them to witness the power of nature while expanding their scientific knowledge. Grade 5 learners got the chance to programme a Light Emitting Diode (LED) light that turned itself on in the dark and changed colour. This activity aimed to stimulate their logical thinking and problem-solving abilities while igniting their interest in the fascinating field of computer science.

The final day was dedicated to the wonders of the solar system. Grade 6 learners were exposed to a solar system activity, where they explored the planets and celestial bodies in our universe. This engaging session provided them with a deeper understanding of our cosmic surroundings. Meanwhile, Grade 7 learners participated in a solar modelling activity, and built a solar-powered fan. This practical exercise encouraged critical thinking, research skills, and effective communication, as they showcased their knowledge and creativity.

Principal of SM Jhavary Primary School, Mrs A Maharaj, thanked UKZN saying the workshop had also benefitted teachers who were able to expand their knowledge of science. Maharaj said the practical applications of the workshops had empowered learners to address community issues such as load shedding by learning about renewable energy sources.

The workshop served as a source of inspiration for young learners, showing that pursuing a career in science is possible regardless of an individual’s circumstances. By exposing students to various scientific concepts and engaging them in hands-on activities, the workshop instilled a sense of possibility and ambition, encouraging learners to explore scientific disciplines further.

Words: Siphesihle Owen Shezi

Photograph: Thembelani Khumalo