10,000 mark International Science Day across Israel


18 March 2010 10,000 mark International Science Day across Israel More than 10,000 students across Israel have discovered that science can be fun thanks to a Kadima Mada initiative to encourage their schools to mark International Science Day. It is the third year running that World ORTs programmatic arm in Israel has used Albert Einsteins birthday, March 14, as the focal point for extra-curricular science-oriented activities but it is by far and away the most far-reaching programme yet. One of the hundreds of displays made by students for International Science Day. Instead of organising major events at which busloads of schoolchildren would congregate, small seed grants were made available to each of the 33 schools currently participating in Kadima Mada and to the 27 schools in public hospitals which are linked to Kadima Mada-Kav Or. The result was a flowering of imaginative responses by a total of 41 schools to the call to raise the profile of science and technology among students. We wanted all the schools we work with, not just a few, to hear about International Science Day, said Kadima Mada PR and Projects Manager Sherrie Gazit. We wanted it to make an impression on teachers, school managers and kids. Up to NIS 3,000 was offered to each school to help it prepare a science programme. Many of them launched a series of activities from ecological studies and the processes involved in making natural cosmetics and therapies to cosmology, investigating Pi and examining the relationship between science and society which climaxed with an open day or similar event on March 14 itself. Western Galilee Regional High School, for example, spent over a month organising a Science Week in which science lessons were devoted to the theme of ecology. On International Science Day a major event was held in the local communitys Eshkol Payis (science and arts centre) to explore recycling. Children brought in a mountain of trash and proceeded to use it to make useful items such as a box file out of an old cereal packet. It was moving to see the children drowning in old plastic bottles and other rubbish and after only two hours the lobby of the Eshkol Payis was completely tidy everything had been used to make models, posters and displays each one of which had real thought put into it, said Anat Stein, Kadima Mada Innovation Leader at the school. What was really nice about this project was the creativity of the teachers who initiated brand new ways of teaching the subjects and developed new materials especially for it, Ms Stein added. Among the eight hospital schools which took part was the Western Galilee Hospital at Nahariya where 140 Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze children aged between six and 18 examined a range of topics on the theme of science serving the community. School Principal Yael Koppel explained that the activities fell into three broad topics taught over a period of more than two weeks. The children participated in age-appropriate studies of science and my body, science and my community and me and world. These involved explaining the science behind various diagnostic tests that the young patients often have to undergo and looking at the structure of blood and the human eye. The children were also taken on tours of the hospitals laboratory where they could see samples being analysed. We make tests on their bodies and often they dont understand what its for, so this kind of knowledge is very important, Ms Koppel said. The children took photographs of peoples hands and eyes and the images were put on exhibition, which was a huge morale boost for them. A policeman was brought in to explain the effects of drug abuse on development as well as the legal aspects, which would have resonated with some of the patients who were emotionally disturbed and were prone to using illicit substances. These and other activities were introduced for 90 minutes every day as a stimulating change to the routine and it is something which Ms Koppel in common with so many other participants around the country would like to repeat on an annual basis. This is a great opportunity to explore the common interests and concerns of young people with very different backgrounds, she said. And because our patients constantly change we can take the ideas and duplicate them in the future.