June 4-6th 2006
Climate change discussion in Kazakhstan!
Getting people talking about climate change in Kazakhstan!
The British Council in Kazakhstan carried out three days of activities to celebrate Science and bring the issue of climate change into the public domain with the opening of the ZerCarbonCity exhibition in Astana this week.
Bahit opens the day…
CCCC explain their contribution and aims…
The programme began with an introduction to the activities for a group of 30 students from the … school in Astana as well as a team of 6 facilitators who will be working with the wrap-around activities linked to the exhibition over two days in the Congress Hall Square in the centre of the capital of Kazakhstan.
Students and teachers as well as colleagues from the centre for climate change control in Astana were very excited about the activities based on alternative energy including fast-growing seeds, UV-sensitive badges, a solar-powered clock, a solar-powered gismo and a wind turbine.
We gave the students the UV-badges to produce and colleagues may remember from previous postings that these badges are made with UV-sensitive paint so that the badge changes colour in the sunlight according to the strength of UV rays. The children were also introduced to the activities they will be carrying out over the following two days in front of the exhibition with the specific aim of drawing the attention of the passing public and so in this way these young people are actually ambassadors for the environmental cause of combating climate change.
…kit building …
The facilitators went through the construction process of each of the kits which are from the Middlesex University Teaching Resources Unit (www.mutr.co.uk) so that they would be prepared to deal with any problems encountered by the students over the following two days.
...building the exhibition...
Dr Kanat Baigarin, Director CCCC...
Day 2 – the opening and the start of the activities
The opening speeches went well from Christopher Baxter, Director British Council Kazakhstan who impressed us all be speaking in Kazakh and Russian one after the other. Dr Kanat Baigarin from the Climate Change Coordination Centre (www.climate.kz) chaired the opening introducing the speakers and stressing the importance of raising public awareness in this area.
We stayed cautious as the clouds became darker just as we got under way with our first group of students building their solar-powered models in front of the Congress Hall in the heart of Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.
We didn’t have to wait long.
The clouds broke and the sun graced us with its warmth and free energy to power our constructions and inventions as the day wore on.
The first group worked on ‘Gismos’ and had been prepared with the task of thinking what they would be producing for homework
Sure enough the 10th and 11th class students from the Humanitarian School in Astana came along with a number of wonderful ideas to create with their solar panels and motors.
I’d like to say a special thanks to these students who then decided to spend the whole day with us of their own free will and facilitate the event which would have been much less successful without them.
They not only helped the younger children with their kit building, but also were excellent guides to the exhibition for the many visitors we had (according to a head count approaching 1000 people) who came to take a look at the exhibition and find out what the children were doing.
They also explained the science behind the ‘fast growing seeds’ and even helped us tidy up and put away the tables and chairs at the end of the day. Thank you!
Other groups built wind turbines which found perfect conditions for testing in the Kazakh windy city of Astana.
In fact, this is the first place I’ve seen where the turbines ran strongly enough from wind energy to produce enough power to light up the lamp built into the construction.
Lastly, other students built solar-powered clocks designing their own ‘climate change’ clock faces
The public were very interested in the activity. That’s the whole point I think. Everybody likes to see young people having fun and doing something interesting. In fact, they all wanted a go, and so many people asked where they could buy these kits that I wouldn’t be surprised if soon they appear in the shops in Kazakhstan!
More sunshine on day two…
Kanat chaired a Café Scientifique on the subject of the Science of Climate. I spoke briefly about the role of education and activities like this one which brings Science into the public arena. The meeting had plenty of lively discussion and the group came to concrete conclusions which may see more educational initiatives in the city in the near future.
There was a lot of agreement that Science is taught too theoretically in Kazakhstan, young people are losing interest in the subject. Change in methodology is needed as well as interesting activities to motivate learners.
The group were very keen to see Science Across the World introduced in Kazakhstan and for my part I promised to let them have a CD of materials from the programme, the static site disk as well as any help they could use from me personally.
British Council colleagues are discussing the possibility of a return perhaps with the Young Ambassadors of Science programme.
That would be great. I look forward to being involved!