Postgraduate students in science related faculties were tasked with the challenge of presenting their research to grade 10 and 11 learners at this years Slam off
The University of Witwatersrand hosted its first Science Slam competition in two years in celebration of the national Science week. The competition is an opportunity for postgraduate students in the various science related faculties to present their research to high school learners.
These learners, from grade 10 and 11, were brought to Wits in an effort to expose them to the facilities and encourage them to consider pursuing careers in science. The facilitator of the event Dr Ian Mckay told Wits Vuvuzela, “Investment in science and technology are seen as major factors in promoting a countries long term growth.”
Mckay said the Science Slam created a space that encouraged discussion as the high school learners got the opportunity to interact with postgraduate students in science.
One of the participants Felix Kwabena Donker, a PhD Environmental Science student said the event is a platform that can be used to bridge the gap between science and the community. Another participant, Mercy Manyema, a PhD Public Health Science student, echoed the same sentiments and said she wanted to show that science can be applied to everyday life.
Mckay told Wits Vuvuzela that the participants found it rather challenging to cut down on science jargon in their presentations, however, the audience enjoyed it. Manyema admitted that she found it difficult. “It was a process, and sometimes it was literally looking at every single word to see if I can say this in a simpler way,” she said.
The participants made use of props to get the learners engaged in their presentations. Donker’s research focused on communal management of natural resources. It addressed how communities in the face of climate change use their natural resources sparingly. With the use of cartoon superheroes Donker made his research topic more relatable to the learners.
Most of the high school learners enjoyed both presentations, however, Manyema was the overall winner of the day as voted by the learners.
Wits Vuvuzela, Eureka! Science Week hits Wits, August 2015