Science made fun

Making science simple is what the Sharjah Science Museum does. Since April 17, 1996 when the museum was inaugurated, it has been a great learning centre for children as young as five years.

By Lily B. Libo-on (about Sharjah)

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Published: Sun 25 Mar 2012, 3:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:58 AM

Making science simple is what the Sharjah Science Museum does. Since April 17, 1996 when the museum was inaugurated, it has been a great learning centre for children as young as five years.

They can learn by experiencing or playing with the exhibits like touching a sand pendulum that draws a beautiful pattern as it slows down with gravity and air friction.

Kids and their families find the joy of watching a science magic show, including a laser show that explains the application of laser to children and adults, the oldest of whom was 80 years when this reporter visited the museum. Children experiment themselves with the exhibits that teach them fundamentals of physics, chemistry and other sciences with two instructors leading a group of 15 each in every workshop.

Rami Taha, 12-year-old student, says he has been going to the museum since he was five. His favorite is the cycling of the human muscle to generate electricity and the human body workshop. “I am coming here daily because it has become part of my life.”

Eleven-year-old Mohammed Al Askar come to the museum with her sister, and together they watch the different interactive shows that make them understand the different fields of science.

“Now, I know how to put the parts of the human body in the right place. I also understand the lives of different fishes in the aquarium and make my own perfume.” At the spacious exhibition hall, children can be seen crowding around 35 interactive exhibits curious to know how they work and how they can do it themselves.

There is a play area for children under four years and even a special room marked “Einstein is here”, making them know at an early age the German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity, being about a revolution in physics. Senior Instructor Bushra H. Idris says that the Einstein room shows optical illusion which when the light is on, the face of Einstein seems to follow you wherever you go.

Nearby is a planetarium with three designs: the Sharjah Sky which tells kids what they can see in the sky that night; the Solar System; and what glitters in the sky. There is also a demonstration hall with 15 shows, and the Learning Centre complete with three well-equipped teaching and learning spaces, the Discovery Area, the Science Lab and the Computer Lab.

Nadia Ahmed, senior instructor at the Learning Centre, says that 80 per cent of the visitors are students and the remaining 20 per cent are families coming from all over the UAE. She says the Sultanate of Oman is also sending batches of students every school semester and sometimes every week, especially during vacation. “We are using the Vernier and Foss kit and other kits.”

Compared to 2009, she says, there has been a 10 per cent increase in the number of visitors. This year so far, the increase has been 20 per cent as compared to the same period in 2009.

Before coming to the museum, the teachers can select one of the 25 curriculum-related workshops, including electromagnetic, sound, water, human body, acid base titration, Newton’s Laws, light and colour, reflection and refraction of lights, geology, chemistry of perfume and paper recycling.

Mashair Siddig, senior instructor, says that children learn how to make their own perfume at an early age since they learn through hands-on activities in the Sharjah Science Museum.

“We always maintain 15 students in every workshop, and two instructors will assist them in the hands-on of every three students and adults. We do not only have kids and students, adults are also here, young and old. It is amazing to see them do their own experiments successfully.”

The story of the museum started with the strong commitment of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to culture, which has made Sharjah famous among the emirates for its many cultural institutions, including the Sharjah Science Museum.

It is developing programsme, workshops and shows that keep in pace with the world’s new developments, inventions and discoveries in science and technology.

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