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KARACHI: “We learnt about an English scientist. His name was Noocan. Things would remain stationary until he gave them a push,” said Mahnoor Ansar Rahman, a class six student of Qamar-ul-Islam School where on Tuesday Alif Ailaan, in collaboration with the Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science, Robotics Lab, Science Fuse and Pakistan Science Club, conducted a mini science festival to ignite children’s curiosity and interest regarding science.

When she was asked if she liked the science experiments conducted in front of them, the student said that people doing them spoke English mostly but they had studied in Urdu. “So [I] understood some of the things which were said in Urdu, not what was said in English. But I liked the experiments,” the student said.

The young team of scientists, meanwhile, kept the students engaged in interesting stuff. One of them did an experiment — the dancing Oobleck — using cornflour to demonstrate its solid and liquid properties, but most children didn’t appear to know what cornflour was.

“Is it powdered milk?” asked one student of class three. “No, it is liquid chalk,” another sitting next to her on the floor informed her. Both were wrong, of course.

The teachers, meanwhile, said that they had never seen their students this excited during any of their science classes. “We usually make them do charts or copy diagrams from their textbooks during the science period. Practicals don’t necessarily have to begin in class nine or 10, I think,” said Ms Shahana Zahoor, a class two teacher.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2017