Jul 31, 2018

Pueblo Science Workshop Report (Guyana) 2018

Pueblo Science RISE Workshop Report 

   July 11-13, 2018   St. Stanislaus College


The Ministry of Education’s Strategic Plan (2014-2018) focuses on Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as a critical tool for national sustainable development.
Part of this focus includes finding effective, cost-effective, and fun ways to deliver STEM
education. These efforts are geared towards building scientific literacy at an early age. This is
the third Pueblo Science workshop held in Guyana. It was hosted in collaboration with the St.
Stanislaus College Board of Governors and its Toronto Alumni Association. The workshop
focused on experiential learning with locally-available and low-cost materials. More teachers
from the hinterland (Region 7–9) schools were included in this workshop than in previous years.
These teachers are challenged with sourcing materials for practical work. It is hoped that the
experiments conducted would aid in ways of thinking on how to use available, low-cost
materials inside and outside a science laboratory to do practical work.
Through these experiments, participants learned how to teach concepts in chemistry and
physics. The use of cardboard, marbles, fruits and other available consumables to teach
hands-on science provided them with a new approach in the process of learning this subject. In
particular, the simulation of the Gold Foil experiment was done by teachers for the first time.
This experiment used marbles, locally-made meter rulers and masking tape. This activity was
designed to demonstrate how an experiment can provide information about something that
cannot be seen.(1)
Facilitated by the the expertise of Pueblo Science instructors, this collaboration between the
Science Unit, NCERD, Ministry of Education and St. Stanislaus College provided learning
opportunities for fun and hands-on activities. The integration of science through design thinking
was also demonstrated in most of the activities. A total of 85 participants were trained this year.
Teachers from Regions 7 and 8 participated for the first time. Teachers from St. Ignatius
Secondary participated for the second time. This workshop included the District Education
Officer – Region 9.


The Pueblo Science team identified specific areas of the curriculum and linked the identified
experiments to these areas. This was proven to further enhance the learning of the participants
for immediate application in the classroom. While work was conducted in small groups at
various stations, some sessions engaged the entire group of participants. For example, work on
polymers, robotics, engineering design challenges, ice cream making and magic tricks engaged
all of the participants. In some activities the science was intentionally hidden and participants
had to explain their observations before the facilitators provided guidance. This created an
atmosphere of fun learning while simultaneously engaging participants in understanding
concepts. The Pueblo Science team—comprised of professional scientists, engineers and
1 Pueblo Science Manual, 2018 p. 20
educators—provided the appropriate, deep yet multi-faceted expertise that is required to teach a
multi-disciplinary topic such as robotics.
A total of four stations were set up for this workshop. Each station actively engaged the
participants in a blend of theory and practical work. The strategies used revealed how science
could be taught using the scientific method. The 5 E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and
Evaluate) instructional model was used which also mirrors the scientific method. This approach
is not usually practiced in the delivery of the science curriculum in schools. In addition, the low
cost of materials for conducting science experiments added much value to this workshop. The
materials were shared with several schools after the conclusion of the workshop so that
teachers can put into practice what they learned in their classrooms.
Station 1 was set up for Chemistry and facilitated by Prof. Scott Browning. At this station, the
microscience chemistry kit was used as part of the activities to conduct the electrolysis of water.
Food batteries were used to show how electrochemical cells work. Prof. Scott encouraged
participants to A.S.K. – “Ac​ quire S​exy K​nowledge”. Station 2 was set up for Physics and
facilitated by Dr. Stanley Wong. Station 3 was set up for Light experiments and was facilitated
by Dr. Mayrose Salvador. Station 4 was the robotics station which was set up for the students.
The facilitators for Station 4 were Dr. Martin Labrecque and Mr. Fuhad Rahman. In addition to
the robotics sessions, the students also worked at Station 1 to conduct electrochemistry


The late approval of the Pueblo workshop proposal led to challenges in implementation of the
workshop. Negotiations were made for materials to be supplied in advance of payment. The
National Science Coordinator lost facilitation time since meetings and close follow-up with the
Chief Accountant and other administrative staff had to be conducted to facilitate the payment of
the Guyana teachers’ travel on time.
Most of the teachers that were invited from Georgetown were engaged in marking of the
National Grade Nine Examinations and could not attend the Pueblo workshop.

Recommendations and Areas for Improvement

Through interactions with participants, recommendations were made to host the Pueblo
workshop in various regions including the hinterland regions for students and teachers. Planning
for this will need to be done in advance to facilitate all logistical arrangements and timely
release of finances and other critical resources.
A follow up evaluation should be completed by the middle of the upcoming academic year to
determine the level of implementation of the 2018 Pueblo Manual for schools especially in the
hinterland regions.
For sustainability of the program, local volunteer scientists and engineers from for example
University of Guyana can be involved during the workshops. They can be trained by the Pueblo
instructors to help Pueblo Science instructors facilitate the workshops and perhaps later on
deliver their own workshop using Pueblo Science activities.
More significant financial support would be necessary for Pueblo Science to continue providing
workshops in a sustainable manner.

Feedback from Pueblo Science Instructors

The instructors were very happy with the experience and would gladly go back to Guyana again.
Everyone’s highlight was meeting so many dedicated teachers, education professionals and
other individuals who are passionate about improving the education of their students and the
future of Guyana. Our instructors are also very grateful for the cultural presentation of the
teachers during the closing ceremony.
The event was well-organized and the instructors were very thankful that most of the materials
needed for the workshop were already there, sorted nicely in boxes prior to the workshop.
The instructors appreciate the fact that volunteers to help facilitate the workshop were provided.
They recommended that a list of tasks for local volunteers who will help facilitate the workshop
should be created and then communicated to the volunteers before the instructor arrive in
Guyana. Meeting with the volunteers one day before the start of the workshop to discuss the
tasks would be helpful.
The computer room at St. Stanislaus College where the robotics class was held for the student
was not available for the instructors to install needed software prior to the workshop, it was also
opened late on some days. As a result, precious time for teaching was lost.

Feedback from Participants

Sticky notes were used at each station to collect feedback from participants after completing
their stations. These are compiled in Appendix 2​. In summary the participants found the
workshop to be interactive and engaging. Concepts were presented simply through the selected
experiments. The competence and motivation of the facilitators stood out in the delivery of the

Feedback from STEM Club Assistants

The robotics station – Nicholas Elliot
The robotics station had a turnout of twenty-five (25) students. Over the course of the three
days, students were challenged to build a sturdy robot with wheels. They were also tasked with
orienting sensors in appropriate positions which will help the robot see straight ahead by
detecting colours as well as placing sensors to detect the robot’s lateral proximity to objects.
Upon completion of the construction phase, students were introduced to the basic principles of
programming. The participants were thereafter expected to use this knowledge to create a
program that would allow the robot to traverse a specific path by choosing which colours to
follow. The program should also allow the robot to make sounds as it passed nearby objects.
All students were able to successfully complete the tasks expected of them by the end of the
second day and in light of this, Dr. Martin announced that he will be giving a prize to the group
with the best robot; the parameters being the robot’s ability to traverse a prescribed route, the
robot’s ability to collect a few batteries taped together at the end of the road and its ability to
return home with the load while making sounds as it approximated buildings. As a result, the
morning session of the third day was used to refine the physical and software designs, thereby
allowing their robot to be more efficient and swift in completing the challenge.
All groups managed to design the software and one group was even able to complete the entire
challenge while the others faced difficulty with coming up with a physical design to
accommodate fetching.

Overall, students were successful, engaged and felt motivated by the experience to the point
where they lost track of snack and lunch time. The variety in cultures, experiences and ways of
thinking resulted in a wealth of creative ideas and opinions being brought to the design board,
and in many proposed solutions for the problems they faced during each stage of the process.

Physics station – Masud Lewis
The dedication and ability of Dr. Stanley Wong to fully immerse himself in what he did
demonstrated his joy for his work which was felt by the participants. His competence and ability
to remove any potential barriers of learning created an atmosphere that was highly interactive.
He connected with everyone he taught.
(1) Pueblo Science Manual, 2018 p. 20

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