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bmobile and NIHERST bring Science to Carnival

A group of primary schoolers satisfy their curiosity as they inspect some of the items made in NIHERST's Fab Lab

Revelry and fun are the first words that may pop into your mind when you think of Carnival but bmobile and NIHERST may have just broken that trend with their first Carnival Science Week. The two technology and science-driven organisations teamed up to transform the National Science Centre into the biggest children’s mas camp in the country. From 18th to 23rd February, the Centre was a creative and technological playground for youngsters of all ages. Children and adults who are children at heart were treated to interactive carnival exhibits and workshops where they learned how technology impacts the carnival culture and artform.

TSTT’s Senior Manager Corporate Communications, Marsha Caballero, stated that the experiences detailed by the visitors truly confirmed that the Carnival Science Week was an astounding success. In providing context for the collaboration, Caballero explained that bmobile’s decision to partner with NIHERST was primarily based on the fact that the project aligned seamlessly with the company’s thrust to expose technology and innovation to citizens, more so children; our future leaders.  “bmobile is focused on encouraging and nurturing innovation in our nation’s youth. We are determined to equip the next generation with experiences that will inspire creative young adults so we saw it fitting to partner with NIHERST (for Carnival Science Week) as a way of  igniting that passion for science, innovation and technology”, said Caballero.

During the six day event, children were taught how to make their very own masks and the art of wire bending and jewellery making. The Carnival Drum class; which showed the youngsters how to transform cardboard and other materials that are already in their school bags into an instrument, also encouraged them to tap into their creativity while simultaneously bringing their musical talents to the fore.

The mainstays of the National Science Centre were also on exhibition. The popular planetarium continued to be one of the most visited areas. NIHERST Lab Technician and Explainer for the planetarium Risa Gibson-Hernandez noted that “the exhibit piques the curiosity of onlookers because you simply cannot tell what is happening in the dome from the outside. You must go in to see and experience.” The mobile exhibit gives an introduction to the night sky. The atmosphere simulates a star gazing experience and children either sit or lay down on the floor for the best view of the sky.

Schools came out in their numbers to visit the centre and parents, teachers as well as students were full of praise of the exhibits.

Lael Charles, Standard four student at Lower Morvant Government Primary School said the robotics exhibit was her favourite. “I like robots and I like to see them being programmed. You can programme it to solve a Rubik’s cube, to pick up stuff and move dangerous things from one point to another. I even got to shake a robot’s hand.”

Susanne Duncan, a teacher at the same school said that it was the school’s third visit to the Centre. She said “I was not aware that we had so many budding scientists at our school. Now that the students have visited the centre, I realise that we need to do more science in school. Being here for just a couple hours have really motivated the students. Telling them in the classroom and using that confined area perhaps didn’t work and this gave them a wider picture as to how science impacts their daily lives.”

Sachel Alexander attended with her two daughters from the SWAHA Tulsi Manas Primary School in Sangre Grande. She said that as a parent, it was important to bring her daughters to interact with the exhibits because “technology is all around us. Coming here is a stepping stone for them to learn more about technology.” She said that her daughters were excited and eagerly asked questions to satisfy their curiosities. Alexander said that the learning was not restricted to her daughters and that she also learned about science on the field trip.

The Science Education Coordinator at the National Science Centre, Adafih Thomas stated that the combination of creative and technological exhibits focuses on twenty-first century learning. All the activities and exhibition areas encourage hands on learning through the interactive experiences. According to Thomas, “the activities and exhibits all encourage the development of learning and innovation skills, communication, collaboration through teamwork, problem solving and critical thinking.” Thomas applauded the sponsors for their support saying, “bmobile has demonstrated their commitment to the communities where their business thrives in. I think it is great, especially as a local company, that they support an initiative like this.”