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The Year of Enquiry

Post written by Yohan Khan, Grade 9 On Friday 24 November, the students of grade 9 put forth another one of our successful, albeit not very scientific (I’ll get to that in a minute) science exhibitions. This year the umbrella topic was ‘alternate energy sources’. A true test of innovation, invention and originality. But, before we go any further… some of you may still be wondering what I meant earlier. Well, this year we had no experiments. All our data was secondary, and our presentations were based on charts and our ability to theorize with the help of the internet. A show of what could be done, without the need to actually do so. This helped us expand our horizons as to what we could present. What would be considered outlandish in years past (case in point – group 6 and their project on semiconductors in solar cells) could be explored with ease this year. And it was this freedom of creativity that brought out the enquirers in all of us. During our month of preparation, we worked fervently. This was also the first science exhibition with such a short preparation time, which was admittedly difficult at times. But, through the hours of research, chart making and decorating (the last two were not my cup of tea), we managed to nurture our ideas fairly well. Since we were in groups that stretched across the grade, we were unable to use our science blocks to prepare, possibly one of the largest setbacks. This meant that we met over the weekends and tirelessly created ideas in our own time. Oddly enough, there was actually a skill that was improved from having to do this – unsupervised teamwork. Cooperation in its most natural, least contrived form. The finished product was a perfect embodiment of what our school stands for: originality through enquiry, and the ability to ask questions. All the projects, not stifled by the need for experiments, asked real questions: Can geothermal energy be harnessed? Can hydrogen be used as a method of generating energy? And my project: can citric acid in fruits act as a method of generation of electricity? To group 3 who had the topic of radiation poisoning – perhaps it was beneficial that experiments needn’t be conducted (lame joke) but nonetheless, nobody had a lack of connection with their topic. The exhibition had an abundance of enthusiasm and dedication, with hard work being made evident. It is with this in mind that I conclude by saying perhaps the removal of primary data collection wasn’t detrimental. After all, it broadened the platform for creativity, and isn’t the purpose of the exhibition to showcase the ideas of the students?
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