Didsbury Islamic Centre Event ( The Actual day)

The day before the event the volunteers had to go and set up the venue. We did this by decorating our boards for the displays trying to make them look aesthetically pleasing. So that people are more willing to approach them and read.

Then we ordered mannequins to dress them as a Muslim woman would dress as demonstrations. I had then created a little childrens corner which involved face painting, colouring, drawing, creating things with lego. This is so that people with children could leave their children in a safe environment and more focused on gaining knowledge.

On the day, we got food delievered and made a food area, this is because we have noticed that offering food is generally a good way to initate conversation and obviously making sure we have a vegetarian option aswell just meat. To my suprise when having some coversations with people, there were some that attended to the attack which happened in Westminster, this had made them want to know what the religion of Islam truly is and is it true what they see on media. After spending a few hours at the Centre they said that they now know that Islam is in fact the complete opposite of what the media portrays it to be and was very grateful that they had an opportunity to visit an actual mosque.

There was a woman whom I was teaching about the importance of motherhood, she seemed very intrigued and actually started to cry. Because of this more people started to come and listen as she attracted attention. Many people especially women, felt empowered after their visit, comments such as ” I always thought that Muslim women were inferior, now I see that they are actually elevated in Islam and makes me proud to be a woman.” Someone who converted to the religion three days before the event said “I am so proud to be a Muslim Woman, I never realised my status.” Comments like these were very nice to hear as we could tell that our event was a success as our aim was to educate the community and clear misconceptions.

Didsbury’s Islamic Centre Event ‘The Muslim Woman’ (Meetings and Preparation)

Currently I am one of the main volunteers at Didsbury’s Islamic Centre. Previously we had done an open day for non-muslims to come and learn about the religion and learn about our lifestyle along with eating food, watching the prayer and discussing any questions that they may have. We had also provided getting your name done in arabic calligraphy, hennah and face painting for the children.

Due to the major success of this event we then thought we should do another event but perhaps base it on something more specific. In the Western society Muslim women are stereotypically viewed as oppressed and inferior to men therefore seen as unequal and looked down upon. So in order to clear these misconceptions we thought we should base our event on ‘The Muslim Woman’.

We had a meeting discussing what topics should be discussed and displayed. We decided to do topics such as: ‘ Women in the household’ – this covers the importance of motherhood in Islam, the concept of polygamy, the importance of respecting the wife, the teacher of the household. Another topic was ‘What is the hijab: Liberation or Oppression’ – this talks about why muslim women wear the hijab, what the hijab is exactly is and how it is a liberation. Other topics were ‘ Great Muslim Women Past and Present’- this topic was about inspirational women who can be seen as role models for different things, such as women who successfully achieved things even when faced with great barriers, fighters, medical practitioners, poets, well educated. We thought it would be a good idea to add both women from the past and present women to show that there have been great Muslim women throughout life, and is not something new.

To present these topics we had to create display boards which would look aesthitically pleasing and not have so much information as there would be atleast two people stood at each display board to explain their topic. We then had another area that had posters just talking about Islam in general to provide general knowledge. We had also organised a pannel of speakers who would discuss about a certain topic, we had aimed for speakers to be from different backgrounds and different careers.


Presenting Science Poetry to Year 5

Julliette had arranged for Year 5 children to come to the University so that we can deliver our project in the resource centre. This was an appropiate place for delivering our project as it was had art displays which had intrigued children and alot of natural lightening and a sufficient amount of space.

We had organised 6 tables with all the activities for the children, including equipment for the experiments, PH scale posters and the objects, worksheets and pens. We then invited the children inside and Sam had introduced the project. The children were told to do the PH scale activity first. So we explained to them what was meant by the terms alkaline and acids. They then matched the objects to where they thought they belonged on the PH scale. Once they were done, Sam had asked them all to see if they got it correct.

We then proceeded to the experiments, the children had loved the reactions even though my table somehow something had went wrong they still were amazed. Before testing the PH of the experiments the children implemented what they learnt from the previous  activity and guessed the PH of the experiment correctly.

After that activity, we had cleared up and told the students to fill in the worksheets which were given. Like describing the experiments, writing their own poetry and then listening to Sam read poetry and engaging with the poetry. For example, everytime they heard the word Bang! they should stamp their feet. This makes poetry seem more fun.

In the end some of the children were interviewed to see whether or not they had enjoyed the activities and if their opinion on science or poetry had changed.

First interaction and 2nd Meeting (Science Poetry)

So before presenting the Science Poetry project, I was thinking to create an activity which involves the PH scale as I felt it was being neglected and would be good for children to learn about it. i had then teamed up with Shabana to think of ideas together.  We came up with the idea to create large posters of the PH scale and draw little pictures of objects that we see in our daily life such as drain cleaner, water, apple, pears, milk, coffee etc. We made about 4 copies of each poster and object at first then we had coloured them in and finally laminated them so that they can be reused and still be kept in good condition. We had made sure that they were colourful so that the activity looks pleasing to the childrens eye.

We then had to present our project to children who would come to visit Manchester Metropolitan University. There were only a few children whom attended but we still managed to see if our project was successful so far. Some of the problems that we had encountered was that some of our objects on the PH scale was spelt wrong. Another problem was that the first experiment we felt that the children had found it abit boring as there was no reaction.

Few days later, we then had a meeting with Juliette and Sam. The purpose of this meeting was to see our progress. Sam had loved our idea about how to involve the PH scale and thought it looked beautiful. However, he said that we needed to make more copies as they normally put children into groups of 6. Thankfully Lucy had volunteered to do the rest of the copies. Shabana had then sorted the spelling mistakes. We then discussed that we were ready to present our project to another group of school children.

Star Lab (Supporter)

In the beginning, the core members had to read a stories about Greek mythology, many children had already knew about the stories as I could hear them whispering what would happen next. Then  they were asked to spot certain constellations such as the lion, the crab and Hercules etc. They were then asked to spot the constellations as if they were just staring at the night sky. To me it was surprising how children could still spot the constellations as I was trying my best to focus and spot them, I wasn’t able to do so, even if they were indicating with the red laser light where they could see it, I still wasn’t able to make out the shape of the constellations. I don’t know if this was due to my lack of imagination or creativity.

They were then given work sheets, which involved them creating their own constellations and writing up their own stories which later can be read to everyone else and have their pictures taken.

Skype Meeting Early Years Science Activities

So we had a Skype meeting from 2:30 – 3:30pm with a university in Spain. They had a childrens space where children can explore science but in a fun and creative way. Although it is a very large space the maximum children they allow is 25 with 2 educators from the university and 2 of their own teachers. They had given a tour of the space and we had noticed that the equipment that was used were very simple but effective. For example, there were these bottles which had things inside them so that the children can shake them and see what sounds they make, then there was a dark black bottle which you could not see inside but then the childrens job is to figure out which substance is inside by seeing which of the other bottles sound the same.

Another activity was using these rotating mirrors and wooden shapes for them to see the different types of symmetry. Other activities involved things like animals feaces in a petry dish and reading a story book about animals feaces so that they can figure out for themselves which animal the faeces belongs to. The educators had said that children love exploring physically but at the same time they like narrative styles, this is why children love books. They also said that the educators do not really involve themselves in the childrens activities as they believe children should not be spoon fed everything and it gives them a chance to be investigators and find their own hypothesis. The only times when educators intervene is when giving the children clues. They also encourage the teachers to not intervene and in order for teachers to agree to invite children to participate in activities is to tell them the aims and philosophies of the activities that you have given.

They suggested ideas for our projects. We could show different habitats and leave clues so that children can guess what animal it belongs to. And perhaps ask questions to them to get them thinking.

Supporter For The Funologists

So on the 22nd of February, I attended the Funologists event as a supporter. I had no idea what to expect, but as much as the kids had enjoyed it, I also enjoyed it. The children involved were home educated children, for me this was an interesting experience as I found that these children were in my eyes more intelligent than those who are not home schooled.

The first activity was to sit in a circle and make a rythm with our hands and thighs. So first it’s two claps on the thighs then one clap with the hands and a click from each hand. Once we all got use to the rythm we then had to introduce ourselves by also saying our names with the rythm. Once it is your turn to introduce yourself then the rest of the group copies. I found this such a great and fun way of introducing everyone and at the same time learning how to make music in harmony, using our own bodies.

The second activity involved imagination, we were asked to stand up while still being in the circle, the woman had showed a cardboard tube, our task as individuals was to act out what else the tube could be used for. She first demonstrated that it could be used for a telescope, I noticed that the adults found it more difficult than the children to imagine what else it could be used for. I said it could be used as a sword. There were a variety of ideas from the children, such as, a horse, ores, trumpet, a prosthetic leg, a statue etc.

The third activity was quite confusing but I guess that was part of the fun. Again using our imagination we had to pretend that we had a ball in of energy in our hands and had to pass it as quick as possible to the person next to us and say zap, then we had to pass it the other way around but zip, at this moment a little girl thought that since it is the reverse way around we should say ‘paz’ as thats zap spelt backwards. Then once we got the hang of that we then could pass the ‘imaginary ball’  to any person we want whether it is right or left, opposite or diagnol but to do so we have ‘bounce’ and the other person should know we are passing it to them. This became very fun but very confusing, the kids seemed to have enjoyed it.

For the fourth activity, the children were given a sheet which had many options such as, nike/ adidas, fried chicken/pizza, olympics/ world cup football, cats/dogs etc. The children had to pick between the options for example, when the woman shouts which do you prefer between nike and adidas, those who prefer adidas had to run to the right side of the room and those who liked nike had to run to the left side of the room. Once they had gone through all the options, there were numbers to each of the options on the board, the children had to add up the numbers according to their own options. Then we had to all line up, this includes parents, children, teachers and supporters according to our scores in order. Then those with lower scores were classed as consumers and those with higher scores were classed as producers. This is where the next activity was going to begin.

So for the final activity the children and parents were divided, the consumers sat at the left side of the room and the producers were sat on the left side of the room. We were then all shown a video about the future and the role of consumers and producers. The consumers were seen as lower class people and in order to survive they have to keep buying and buying from the producers. The producers have to advertise their products so that the consumers can buy them. We then had to all imagine that we were people in the future and think of questions to ask the leaders. The children came up with very good questions such as, ‘if consumers have to keep buying where do we get the money from?’ or ‘ what happens to the producers if the consumers don’t buy or do they get punished?’ Afterwards, there was a pretend case where a consumer had hacked on to the system and created an advertisement to NOT buy the product. Which would apparently ruin the system. So the children who were producers had to create advertisements to sell an iphone. However, consumers had to try and advertise products not to buy. This is done by coding so although children are having a fun time, simultaneously they are learning coding and how to advertise online.

Early Years Science Activities (1st project meeting)

So in the first meeting for the early learning videos we got to try out activities that children would be expected to do. The whole aim of these activities is to make reading fun and for children to use their imagination and question things.

The first activity I did was reading the children’s book called ‘The Stick Man’. Then there were pieces of wood and string which we were meant to create our own stick men using the equipment. My group agreed on the fact that it makes you feel more engaged in the book and is a fun way of learning. We also discussed how this will be even more fun if we do this activity outdoors such as a park or woodland area. This is because we have noticed that children find school trips more exciting and therefore are more likley to be enthuiastic in taking part in activities.img_1188

The second activity I did was to read another book called ‘Lost and Found’. Once finished reading we were given a tank full of water and many objects such as different sized toy frogs, toy penguin, mini pots, rocks and many other various objects. The aim of this activity was for the children to see what objects float and what objects sink.  This gets the children to question why if the objects that seem heavy may not neccessarily sink, which then links into science, so without them realising they are learning about science but in a fun interactive way. Then we were given sodium polyacrylate which when you add a few drops of water it becomes a substance similar to snow and slowly expands. I could have imagined that this would have been very exciting for the kids to observe. We were then told that this material is used in nappies as it is very absorbent. After this activity we discussed that the children could make a mini stage in the tank which related to the book. For example, half of the tank can have a container which is filled with freezing cold water and the other half could be filled with sodium polyacrylate which will demonstrate the snow, and put the toy penguin in a container which floats in the water.

1st Meeting For Science Poetry

So during the first meeting we had to get to know our team and then were given a variety of activities. Firstly, we had to decide what do we prefer individually between science and literature. Majority of us prefered science, but me personally I prefer both. Science I take interest in whereas Literature is just a strong subject of mine.

Once we had picked what we preffered, the science people had pictures to choose from and explain why they had chose that specific picture, the literature students had to pick a quote and explain why they had chosen it. I was one of the science students and  picked a picture of Albert Einstein writing a confusing equation.

albertThis was the picture I had picked. The reason for picking this was because I felt it had reflected on how I feel about science. I have always found science challenging especially physics but at the same time I find it interesting. Just like the picture shows that 6-3=6 which does not make sense it still intrigues me.

For the second activity, a 2 – sided worksheet was given to us. On one side it said to draw a picture of what we think a scientist looks like and to write down 5 worss which we would use to describe a poet. On the other side, there were instructions to 3 experiments. We were then split into 3 groups so that each group does an experiment. Once the experiments were done, we were shown how the activity is evaluated which was either by recording their response for a video or showing pictures of a smiley face if they had enjoyed it or a sad face if they didn’t.img_1180

By the end of the meeting we were asked to see what we can develop and improve to make the activity for the children more interesting and appealing. We decided that the worksheet definately had to be developed as it was in black and white and was hard to read. It also did not look appealing especially if you put into context that the worksheet will be for kids. And perhaps look at the evaluation methods as recording can make children nervous and might just say what they think you want them to say.  We also thought to laminate the sad and smiley faces as it can keep them in good condition and prevent children from scribbling on them.

Science Festival

So recently I volunteered to help take part in a science festival which was held in Wythenshawe. There were many activities for the children to do, such as; drawing and colouring, making circuits, guessing the sound of the animal, printing peppered moths, robot poetry and creating science stories.

I was specifically in charge of alternating between the circuit activity, the science stories and the drawing and colouring.

In the circuit activity, the children had to tinker around with the equipment given. Which was:

  • A copper wire
  • A battery
  • LED lights

The aim of the activity is to be able to make the LED lights work. Many children enjoyed it, especially when they could get the light to work. According to my observations I realised that boys were able to create the circuit more quicker than girls.

For the drawing and colouring activity, children had to draw what they thought a scientist looked like to them and write 3 words to describe a scientist. The drawings had varied, some drew scientists as monsters, some as crazy looking men, or even a sophisticated woman. This activity made me question why do we perceive scientists as ‘crazy’?