Science Lab

  • Community Growth
  • Youth
  • Liberia
This project is led by Andrew Penfield, a Volunteer from Massachusetts

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A couple of years ago this school got elevated to a senior high school. In the senior high in Liberia (grades 10 - 12) students take biology, chemistry and physics each year for three years. Part of learning involves notes on the board and demonstrations. Since our school doesn't have a science lab most examples in the sciences have been done in an abstract manner - thus leaving our students blindfolded having little or no idea of what is being taught. It is very hard for students to learn science that way. By extending the now unused library it will be transferred into a science lab for the students. Most of the science teachers at my school have been to workshops conducted by a Peace Corps on using local materials to conduct experiments and are knowledgeable about ways to improvise. However, one big holdup is their comments about how our school doesn't have a lab. For the teachers the knowledge is there but for them to do demonstrations without an actual lab its hard. By building a lab, actual lab times will be injected into the schedule so that students will still get enough content time then have the opportunity to see the concepts in action. That will make our students have a much better understanding. Since Liberia switched to WASSCE there is now a practical part on the exam. With a new lab this will help prepare the students more fully.

The PTA have been involved in initial discussions and are supportive of the initiative. They have agreed to volunteer their time in providing labor for the construction works of the project. specifically, the PTAs and other members of the community and school who have agreed will be helping with laying of bricks, plastering the walls, casting the floor, roofing and zincing of the library. The school and the community have also promised to donate cement and bud/dirt bricks that will be used for the actual construction of the library. The community contribution will form a great part of the project. As part of the initial community contribution on this project, one of the teachers at my school helped drew up plans for the construction and worked with a local contractor on a budget agreed by the renovation committee.

By having the building it should serve the purpose of being used as a science lab. Most of my teachers are very interested in having a way to conduct practical. Since the building is there and the chemicals and supplies can be locked when not in use my teachers will continue to use it. The school is excited to continue the project by maintaining the lab and replacing materials when needed.

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