Social Responsibility at KAUST joined forces with new research park tenant Merck Life Science, to deliver a series of science workshops to intermediate school students in Thuwal. The leader of the workshops, Dr Nada Al Jassim, has had a busy year – she completed her PhD at KAUST, joined Merck and, most importantly for Social Responsibility, found time in her schedule to implement Merck’s education program, SPARK, in collaboration with Ali Balubaid, a Masters student from Professor Stefan Arold’s BESE lab.
Dr Al Jassim and Mr Balubaid worked with Grade 7-9 students in their school science labs, with four lab demonstrations and follow-on experiments. The students explored the surface tension properties of water; the capillary motion-based movement of water; paper chromatography on plant leaf extracts; and how purple cabbage juice can be used as a pH indicator.
Dr Al Jassim was pleased to note how enthusiastic the students were. Both groups of girls and boys were equally inquisitive, testing the hypotheses, questioning the methods and the findings to understand the processes involved. This active learning ensured that, when replicating their experiments in their booths at the WEP 2019 Science Fair, they did so with confidence and were able to answer technical questions from their audiences.
Taking part in the Science Fair was a first for Thuwal students. An integral part of each Winter Enrichment Program, the students were part of a select group of graduate students, scientists and TKS students demonstrating a wide range of science experiments to the wandering WEP audience from KAUST and around the world, including Lando Norris, one of the guest speakers at WEP and the new driver for the Maclaren F1 team!
KAUST Social Responsibility works with departments across KAUST to create learning opportunities for students in Thuwal and Qadimah as part of its Young Learners Development Program. Being able to add to these opportunities by aligning with research partners expands the potential and benefits for all involved. Dr Al Jassim hopes to bring another Merck initiative to KAUST and Thuwal, entitled Curiosity Labs – watch this space.
Part of the Young Learners' Development Program - read the Program Overview here.
February 3, 2019