In a bid to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, the Department of Chemistry Education (DCE) at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), recently organised a series of chemistry outreach programmes for Junior High School (JHS) students in the Effutu Municipality.
Themed "Chemistry in a Challenging World" and "Chemistry for All," the outreach events took place at the Ansaful Community Centre and the South Campus Assembly Hall in Winneba. The students were immersed in hands-on activities exploring concepts related to electricity, acids and bases, mixture separation, and even delving into topics like the environmental effects of solid, gas, and liquid substances, and diaper chemistry.
Sections of the hands-on activities the students engaged themselves in from top L-R: environmental effects of solid, gas and liquid substances, mixture separation, diaper chemistry and electricity concepts
Dr. Ernest Koranteng, the coordinator for the outreach programmes, expressed his team's realisation that science education, particularly chemistry, had been predominantly taught in an abstract manner. The initiative aimed to dispel the fear associated with chemistry and engage students in practical activities, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject.
Dr. Ernest Koranteng
"The world is currently facing numerous difficulties, such as COVID-19 and climate change. People are concerned about climate change everywhere you go. Climate change is the reason behind the recent chaos caused by the spillage of the Akosombo Dam. We, therefore, believed it would be wise to educate our children so that they can live in a way that would enable them to contribute to the sustainability of the very world in which we live. This would be a positive step towards the sustainability of the planet on which we currently reside,” remarked Dr. Koranteng.
The hands-on experiences provided the students with valuable insights into the critical role chemistry plays in addressing urgent global issues such as plastic pollution and climate change. Dr. Koranteng expressed hope that the project would inspire the participants to pursue chemistry at higher levels of education.
Prof. Emmanuel Oppong
Prof. Emmanuel Oppong, Head of the Department of Chemistry Education, emphasised the importance of taking science education seriously in our rapidly evolving world. He challenged the students to be active questioners, urging them to seek clarification on anything they didn't understand and to apply the knowledge they acquired to address unanswered questions.
Representing the Dean of the Faculty of Science Education (FSE), Prof. Arkoful Sam, Vice-Dean of FSE, highlighted the significance of raising awareness about scientific critical thinking. He reaffirmed the faculty's commitment to helping JHS students become more self-aware and perceive themselves as future problem solvers.
Prof. Arkoful Sam
“This year is our 5th year in this outreach session. I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next five years, that is, as we celebrate our 10th year, we will have a chemistry laboratory mobile van that will move across the schools to always introduce them to that consciousness of science and its practice and applications,” he stated.
The event saw the active participation and support of various DCE faculty members, including Prof. Ruby Hanson, Mr. Twumasi Ankrah Kwarteng, Mrs. Claudia Quayson, Mrs. Cynthia Jabuni-Adanu, Dr. Boniface Yaayin, and Dr. Mbage Bawa. The collective effort of the DCE-UEW faculty showcased a commitment to nurturing the next generation of scientists and problem-solvers, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future.
Faculty members and facilitators in a pose after the training