So what do they all have in common? Critical thinking, teamwork and a whole lot of fun! The team visited Kyamatula Secondary School, a small school located in the hills of Wamunyu. The school, about five years old, has roughly 80 students—however the population fluctuates since students have to stop-out when they can’t pay their school fees. Kymatula consists of four classrooms with wooden desks and blackboards — no science labs, computer labs or other resource materials—but despite the lack of resources, we found the students very eager to learn.
Today’s goal was to introduce some lessons that encouraged teamwork and critical thinking. Dustin and Greg created some outdoor challenges— the first two were all about teamwork. Students placed a balloon between their legs and hopped across the field. They couldn’t use their hands and if the balloon slipped out they had to get it back in. Once all team members finished, they had to join hands in a circle to figure out how to have two hula hoops cross over them and around the circle. The team who finished both tasks first, were declared the winner!
Then onto the paper airplane challenge: Dustin and Greg showed the students how to make airplanes. Working in teams, the students made their own version with the goal of seeing whose plane could fly the farthest. This was the first time these secondary school students had made paper planes and they did it quite well. One group even figured out if they put some stones or twigs in them they would fly farther.
Meanwhile Chris and Matt split the class into groups to build marshmallow and toothpick towers. It was great fun watching these groups of 5-6 students work together to try to make their tower. Do you build tall, wide, or a combination of both? Ultimately one group in each session was declared a winner—usually with a wider base. After Chris measured the height of the tower, Matt inputted the data on his laptop along with the number of toothpicks and marshmallows used by each group. He then showed the data in a “visualized” form of pie charts and bar graphs. The students and teachers were fascinated. The class also discussed the challenges they found—the marshmallows became too soft, not enough time, and the lack of stability of the structures. At the conclusion of the class, the students tasted the marshmallows—“very sweet.”
We concluded our time with Kymatula Secondary School by distributing tooth brushes, singing the “toothbrushing smile” song and posing for a school photo.
While we were all at the school, Steve was back at the LRC teaching the staff how to use the 4 screen silk screening machine he created, helping to add shelves to our expanding library and doing other odd jobs.
Time then for the team to head back to Nairobi– One last photo outside the Lysak, one last Tusker, and one last drive with our fabulous friend, John.
Executive Director, Sharon Runge stayed on for two additional days to visit the Kitui area and two schools, Lower Yatta and Kyaithani Secondary Schools with our partners from the Sunshine Coast-Sechelt Rotary Club of British Columbia, Canada.