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Science Circus Pacific with Imagine Samoa and MESC to influence Samoa about science

This Science Circus Pacific program is supported by the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia.

The goal of this program is to build capacity in science technology, engineering in math, education and communication across the pacific.

Joe Duggan from ANC for the public awareness of science in Australia along with his squad has teamed up with Ruth Moghbelpour from Imagine Samoa whose goal is to establish a full time science center for Samoa, in Samoa.

Therefore, it is like a Science Museum but hands-on, fun and is related to culture where Samoans can come to explore science and see how it relates to everyday life.

Science shows and interactive exhibits took place at Vailu’utai Primary School hall yesterday morning as Joe and his team is spending three days in schools of the Upolu region for this week.

“On Tuesday, 2,100 children performed science shows with the local Samoan volunteers,” says Joe.

Students from NUS, USP, local sailors, and local business people are cooperating with the team in being the focus point on stage so that they are having Samoans explain science to Samoans.

There are two things that the program is offering at the moment.

Firstly are science shows which focuses around using simple everyday materials to showcase really complex scientific phenomena in a relatable way. Examples of such materials includes plastic bottles, coke cans, straws, strings, baby milk formula tins and all sorts of other similarly simple materials.

Such simplicity of materials helps them in where they are describing energy, forces, pressure that are quite a complex phenomenon but as the same relatable ways.

The second beneficial benefit they offer is a pop-up science center. They spent some time with their local volunteers and went to bluebird, the hardware store, and got a lot of materials. “We’ve built 18 hands-on science exhibits that are very simple in construction but again showcases some really brilliant things from balance to electromagnetism,” he exclaims.

They are trying to use the simple exhibits to showcase what a science center can do. “Our goal from then onwards is to then use that as a stepping stone to create Ruth’s dream of Imagine Samoa and something that’s much more permanent and high,” he says.

A huge part of their program is how Samoans have been doing science for hundreds of years of generations have been the scientific method. “Whether it’s how you cook the umu, or how you make the fabrics out of the materials from the trees. All that is science and Samoans have developed that by trial and era which is a huge part of science,” he says.

Joe tells Samoa observer that this is one of the things that they want to do is to showcase this for Samoans. “To say, hey look at all the science that you are doing and to where and how those other scientific phenomena are relatable for everyday life,” he says.

Implementing the use of local materials is a 100 percent guarantee as Joe explains how they have built a wind tunnel from all of such.

“There is a fan, some chicken wires, some mesh, and we use this to explore the physics of flight,” he says.

Nevertheless, the program also aims to look for things that they see around Samoa that fly. “We are looking at the biology of leaves and seeds from trees. And we are exploring how and why they behave certain ways in a Windstream,” he says.

Levaopolo Failautusi Seali’imalietoa of textbook preparations and resources for schools of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC) who was also present at the sight told Samoa observer that the goal of the government is being achieved through the MESC department, and this is to acquire and uplift the status of science.

“Now we have this prehistorical Science Circus program that was performed in the years 1996 to 1999,” he says.

However, their displays of exhibitions were only conducted on a small number of days where all schools from every region were able to attend at a certain place. Now as the program is resumed, they aim for the same goal which is to respectively travel to each and every school for the same purpose.

The impact of the program is challenging the teachers in terms of improvement in the teaching of science. “There is a much greater need in the application of these scientific teachings for the ongoing success of the children’s learning,” he says.

“The teaching of the children does not only limit to writings on the blackboard and records on activity sheets of papers that are being distributed to them, but rather the need is in the application of it as this is one of the most important areas in science,” he says.

The children’s view and observance of all that has been applied is where the inspirations and imaginations are stirred up in their emotions and thoughts that cause them to question how these performances come to be in science. “So this is the useful importance of the target that this program is aiming for towards the teaching staff,” he says.

The scientific exhibitions might conclude this coming Friday due to the processing of the program. However, MESC will again assist Joe and the Science Circus program team in next month’s event to take place as well.

He further on states that the Science Circus program has requested the government of Samoa through the MESC in order for the construction of a building to serve as a teaching center for science in particular, or better yet, a Science Center. “This is a very good and appropriate request in order for many children to be fond in this specific area of learning,” he says.

Vailu’utai Primary School’s principal, Anzac Sua Seumanufagai expresses a comment on behalf of the entire district of A’ana Tasi including their school association, head teachers, teachers as well as students, on the great joy that it has been for them in the opportunity they have received.

“To me, there is a great deal of importance in the program”, she says.

Anzac told Samoa observer of how when she was initially informed of this Science Circus program, she felt very shocking as it was secretive in her thoughts that anyone would evaluate to pay a visit not only their school, but as well as the rest of the other schools in their district who have joined to witness this event in pertaining to such.

“I know that this is one of the children’s rivalry subjects, but by observing the science shows that have been performed already, I believe that the motivation will now be stirred from within the children to try and find interest in learning about science,” she says.

The experiments that were conducted would benefit the children a lot as Anzac says, “For children, it is very difficult to teach them through verbal only because without the performance of its application, the child will remember nothing at all.”

“This is a very good start and a really great way to boost up the children of Samoa to find interest in the study of science as some children aims to be doctors and scientists for their future careers, but without initiative programs such as Science Circus, motivational encouragements won’t be present,” she says.

The program’s usefulness doesn’t apply only to the students, but it also applies to the teachers as some are not very fond of teaching of science as well. “Therefore, this program has initiated a mindset for the teachers that words don’t matter, but actions do as the famous saying goes ‘Actions speak louder than words,” says Anzac.

Ruth Moghbelpour of Imagine Samoa expressed of how a long day it was at this event.

“I think about 10 schools from the A’ana District came to see the science shows and also the interactive science exhibits,” she says. 

Students from each school surely had lots of fun and lots of laughter. The main purpose of these shows is to show young people how much fun science is, simple science that is all around us. 

Imagine, The Science and Technology Centre to be established in Samoa will focus on showcasing informal science learning and science communication. It will reach out to families and students from all over Samoa. 

“Science Circus Pacific and MESC have been very supportive with this initiative, helping to get us going,” says Ruth. 

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