Last week, all the students from the Deaf Unit participated in an Environment project. The focus of the project was to help pupils understand the environment and how we can all act and affect its well-being in our daily lives, so all activities were carried out at the school compound.
We kicked off on Monday morning with the topic of littering, a very common problem in Tanzania. Since sorting litter is the first step to reusing, recycling and reducing waste, we let the Standard 1 pupils sort and count the litter. In the afternoon, they made beautiful colorings of dustbins. The Standard 3 pupils, whose topic was recycling, made cars from empty water bottles and balloons. Even though they didn’t work as they were supposed to, the pupils understood that trash doesn’t have to be thrown away, but can be used to make something fun.
On Tuesday, the demonstration for the Standard 5 and 6 pupils showed the damage heavy rainfall can cause. In the afternoon, the Standard 6 pupils conducted a soil experiment. They filled three bottles, one with soil, one with dead organic material and one with a patch of grass. When water was poured into these bottles, it became clear how organic material such as leaves and roots, can prevent soil from being washed away, while at the same time filter the water. The Standard 5 created a worm hotel, a big bottle filled with layers of sand and soil, and added a few earthworms. After three days, the result was incredible: the earthworms had turned all the distinct layers of sand and soil into one. A perfect experiment to show pupils how important these animals are for keeping our soil healthy.
On Wednesday, the issues of air pollution and deforestation were explained by the teachers, followed by an animation about air pollution. Later that day, we carried out an experiment with the Standard 4 students to check the air quality around the school, putting up cards smeared with vaseline to catch the air particles. After two days, the difference was already visible: where the card hung in a tree was almost clean, the card at the gate next to the road was covered in dark specks. The same day, the Standard 2 students had a crafts session. We had collected banana tree leaves and bark for them to glue on a paper with the outline of a banana tree, creating beautiful banana collages. Their proud faces were priceless.
Thursday was reserved for the pupils of Standard 7, who were dealing with the topic ‘waste management'. They played the “Don’t get wasted” game, a game to explain how waste such as glass bottles or candy wrappers, can be reduced, reused or recycled. This made way for a lively discussion on how to treat waste in the future, and what options besides burning it there are.
On Friday, we rounded up the project with a compilation video of all the activities and an exhibition. Everyone, including the teachers and the head master, listened and watched intently as both teachers and students explained what they had learned in the past week.. In his speech, the head master even promised to implement some elements from the project in the school, such as sorting litter and not burning all the waste.