Hands-on Science Saturdays

I’ve started looking forward to setting my alarm for early wakeup on Saturday mornings. For the past month and a half, the Scientific Cultural Society and I put on a 2 hour workshop every week for Syrian refugee kids in partnership with Syria Bright Future.

Syria Bright Future is an all-volunteer organization run by Syrian psychologists and psychiatrists to provide mental health services to Syrian refugees in Jordan. They bring in groups of 25-30 kids every Saturday morning for fun science stations with us.

This week, we had five stations: one where kids learned about batteries by creating their own with lemons, pennies and nails.

Batteries with lemons, iron nails and copper coins.

Batteries with lemons, iron nails and copper coins.

Kids learned about measurement (and theoretically, vibration) by creating their own pan pipe made out of drinking straws.

At one station, kids modeled the lifecycle of a butterfly with pasta.




At a fourth station, kids are challenged to build the tallest marshmallow tower possible and to have it withstand a jello earthquake.

Kids are challenged to build the tallest marshmallow tower possible: and have it withstand a jello earthquake!


And finally kids learn about fingerprints and investigate the patterns of their own fingerprints.


It is my dream to expand the program to include longer sessions and to have kids come back week after week. That way they could really explore in more depth the topics they are interested in, and develop important skills; particularly, the skills used to gather information about the world, the skills needed to make sense of the information they gather, and then the critical thinking skills to apply information in new situations and in solving problems.



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.
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