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By Bradley Downer
STEMGuyana has been continuously expanding across Guyana. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, STEMGuyana closed all the clubs.
After a two-year hiatus, the STEM Club at Mahaicony Secondary in Region 5, will resume.
At the club, they teach scratch coding technology and robotics. While students participating in these clubs, get to develop various life skills such as; public speaking, problem-solving, and critical thinking, amongst other skills.
In November, 2019 STEMGuyana launched a STEM Club, at the Mahaicony Secondary School, in Region 5, with the My Robot Time (MRT) robot kit handed over to Ms. Juanita John and Ms. Ambika Singh in the school’s science laboratory.
This club is managed by Coach Denica Grant and Ms. Rohinie Raman [a teacher at the school] and had over 18 students before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant said, “My friend introduced me to STEMGuyana. I did their training and became a coach. My friend [who chose to remain anonymous], is also a coach and he solicited a kit from STEMGuyana and received an Exxon Mobil Sponsored kit.”
She further stated, “As an alumni of this school, I wanted to give back to my alma mater and this was the best way I could have done so. This club will benefit so many students. I also know what it’s like to have the need to learn something new that will add some amount of experience in the job search later in life.”
Denica noted that it can get tiring at times, but youth development is one of her passions as such she continuously volunteered.
“It was hard managing both the STEM club and work because many times when I’m on a day off, instead of resting, I would use that time to visit the club,” said Denica.
The club was closed during the pandemic, however as restrictions are being lifted, Denica and her friend alongside Ms. Rohinie, will revive the club and continue to educate the students at the Mahaicony Secondary.
Ms. Raman, also shared her view of the club at the school. She said, “I believe that the students of Mahaicony Secondary will benefit tremendously from this club. As it will foster innovation, teamwork and creativity: not every child is good with books, some of them are creative and innovative. Creativity can now be paired with STEM (in terms of robotics) and lead to new ideas and innovations. It will also encourage experimentation, knowledge application, and the use of technology, this will help them to become better at research and critical thinking.”
She further added, “Technology can facilitate the exploration of STEM subjects and provide support for students to connect different disciplinary ideas, for example, when using simulations. Technology will encourage students to apply scientific and mathematical ideas in a new way (e.g., building robots or creating content/coding). While assisting them to develop problem-solving. STEM is about using maths, technology and science to solve real-world challenges and problems. When the project-based way of teaching and learning is used, it allows students to understand and appreciate the relevancy of their work to their own lives and the world around them. Through the use of practical training tools and hardware (eg: robot kits), students will be able to apply the theory they have learned, to meet and solve problems in the real world.”
“The students are fascinated with robotics. Many days after the sessions were completed, they still continued building. They built robots to solve many community-based problems,” Denica added.
A cohort of students also graduated from the program, however as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, STEMGuyana is restarting the club.
Denica noted, “With this new cohort, we’ll work with 12 students. After they complete the program, we’ll have 12 more and work like that. They will also be able to participate in STEMGuyana’s activities.”
She further added, “So far, we’ve spoken to the Headmistress, once we have the 12 students, we’ll form the club and have a talk with them and plan out the work, however, we will begin teaching STEM concepts in the new school term.”