Written by: Yasna Omed
The AUIS Engineering Club began the 2018 Spring semester with a community service initiative called ‘The Engineering Outreach Program.’ The program aimed to create partnerships with local schools by engaging and sharing the excitement of engineering through simple hands-on activities and competitions.
This semester, the program was implemented over four consecutive Saturdays from January 20 to February 10 at The British International School of Sulaimaniya. Under the supervision of AUIS Lecturer and Engineering Department Deputy Chair Ms. Raguez Taha, twenty dedicated members from the Club facilitated six different activities and mentored students in grades four, five, and six. Each activity simulated various concepts in engineering, allowing and encouraging students to think critically and creatively.
Each week the students were given a set of simple household items and asked to design and create a model that would be tested under a set of criteria. Each week the students would compete for certificates for first, second, and third place.
"Being one of the mentors of the BIS outreach program redefined my idea of kindness once I got to interact and talk with fourth grade students."
During Week 1, the mentors were assigned to different grades where they conducted ice breaker games to get to know their students, after which, they led the students in a puzzle challenge.
In Week 2, students were challenged to design the tallest tower and a tower to withstand wind loads. At the end, the fourth and fifth graders placed their towers in front of a fan. The intensity of air produced by the fan was raised to test the stability of the towers under wind loads. The height of each tower was then measured as a tiebreaker. Winners among the sixth grade competitors were determined based on the amount of material used and the height of the towers.
"I was so happy when I saw [the kids'] reactions to the activities; they loved the idea and they were so proud of themselves!"
Students were challenged to design cars during Week 3, investigating the mechanical and energy transfer concepts. In the end, students competed in a race to determine the winners.
During Week 4, students explored the concepts of gravity, air resistance and shock absorption in creating a structure that would protect its contents when dropped from heights greater than one meter. Winners were determined based on height and accuracy of the landing.
"This program introduced me to the world of teaching, and it also taught me how to work with others and explain things to younger people."
In the last week, parents were invited to observe the last activity and certificate of completion ceremony. Overall, 91 students participated throughout the four week program. Students expressed eagerness to continue these activities in the future.
The school’s director said she was amazed by the Engineering Club mentors and their work with the students. The Engineering Club was delighted to finish the project successfully, and plans to continue with similar activities to encourage young leaders to discover and grow their talents.
"[The outreach program] helped me gain self-confidence as a teacher through talking to people and children."
Many thanks to the volunteer mentors who participated in this initiative: Ardin Shaho Hasan, Barin Abd Al Hameed Sharaf, Barzi Mohammed Ali, Dunya Hama Jazaa Amin, Jwtyar Jamal Nasralddin, Kali Yaseen Kareem, Lanya Ali Ahmed, Lelo Khaled, Mohammed Abubakir Hama, Niga Kamal Hama Rahim, Rayan Qasim Mohammed, Safw Kawa Abdulkareem, Sanya Rzgar Abdalqadir, Sivan Sirwan, Solin Salahalddin Salih, Sozi Hassan Taha, Yad Rzgar Mhammed, Yasna Omed Mohammed Ali, Zryan Ibrahim Ahmed, Halbast Abdulah