National Science Week 2016

The public having some fun during Science Week in the Village Walk. Pictured from left to right: Ayenziwe Mpanza (12) and his brother Amahle Mpanza (10) with their mom Khombisile Mpanza.

Once again NRF/SAASTA (South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement) nominated uShaka Sea World as one of the 76 organisations tasked with bringing the world of science to the South African public during National Science Week.

The aim of National Science Week is to celebrate the role that science, mathematics, engineering and technology play in everyday life, as well as to encourage more young people to follow careers in these fields.

The easy to relate “Science for Sustainable Development and Improved Quality of Life” theme made it simple to develop material to showcase science in everyday life. Every aspect of life is touched by science so great potential can be unlocked by igniting an interest in the world of science and maths.

uShaka Sea World hosted an exhibition in the uShaka Village Walk to showcase some of the vital work being done by both ORI and uShaka Sea World scientists who enjoyed sharing their world and the work they do throughout the south-western Indian Ocean with the guests. It was also apparent that the staff and volunteers learned as much from the guests as the guests did from them. 

Of particular interest were the squid dissection, a game highlighting the impacts of unsustainable trawling methods, and the “water colour change” experiment to illustrate the impact of increased carbon dioxide on the ocean. Young children, it appears, cannot resist finding out what is under the microscope especially if they are looking at living microscopic organisms.

Most guests stopped at the exhibition out of curiosity and ended up soaking up information that not only intrigued and fascinated them but equipped them with tools to make better environmental choices.

Ngobile Mabaso, a Grade 12 learner from Ingqungqulu Secondary School, seen here with scientist Justin Hart from ORI.

On 10 and 11 August uShaka Sea World will be hosting 120 Grade 9 learners from two schools per day from the eThekwini areas of Amanzimtoti, Folweni and Molweni, selected together with the Department of Education.

These learners make their subject choices at the end of this year. After spending a day at uShaka Sea World meeting scientists, microbiologists, veterinarians, animal care staff and some incredible marine animals, it is hoped they will be motivated to consider a career in one of these fields.

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