Fun with Science in Irbid

Alhumdulileh Ramadan is over! Work hours return to normal, I can eat and drink on the streets without fear of arrest, and I’ll be able to resume site visits to the non-formal and informal education centers with members of the Questscope team.

This Ramadan I didn’t make much headway into the stacks of novels I brought with me from the US because throughout the month I was surprisingly busy.

Last spring I presented at a conference for young professionals and students working for change in the Middle East and North Africa region. There I met Hamza, the founder of the Scientific Culture Society here in Amman. The SCS is an organization that works to get kids excited about science through hands-on activities. These types of activities are quite rare in Jordan’s Science classrooms, which even at the elementary level are more like lecture sessions.

This Ramadan the SCS was invited to facilitate a few “Fun with Science” days for Syrian refugees and Jordanian orphans at a community center. These three hour sessions were held in Irbid, Jordan’s second largest city about an hour and a half north of Amman. I was very impressed with Irbid Youth Volunteers, the organization that puts on bi-weekly activities for underserved youth in the city. There were at least 10 very active and enthusiastic volunteers at each session, working with the kids and ensuring the success of the sessions!

I put my Curriculum Development class from my time at Penn to good use and designed the content of the sessions. As I learned to expect, the activities needed a bit of tweaking, each session was reworked to run smoother and be more engaging than the last. 

Last Wednesday was our last “Fun with Science” day with the Irbid Youth Volunteers. We were expecting around 25 kids but were excited to welcome nearly twice that number!

We kept the kids pretty engaged throughout whole 3 hour session by rotating stations


Modeling the lifecycle of a butterfly with pasta


Exploring the concept of flotation & displacement with clay boats


Measuring and cutting straws to make panpipes

The Scientific Culture Society team!

The Scientific Culture Society team!

About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
This entry was posted in Boren Fellowship in Jordan, 2013-2014 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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