■ At NTIC science fair, students showcase awe-inspiring inventions that show that learning has gone from classroom tutorials to practical application of what is being taught
By Sam Otti
Talented students from various schools in Lagos and Ogun states recently demonstrated that learning without practical makes a deficient scholar. They converged on the Combo Hall, Lagos Television Station, Ikeja, to showcase their inventions and practical demonstration of scientific discoveries.
The occasion was an annual Science Fair, tagged “Scientific Discoveries that Broaden our Horizons”, which was organised jointly by the Nigerian Turkish International College (NTIC), Lagos and Ogun branches. It was a memorable day for 13-year-old Chudi Ezeigbo, a Year 9 (JS3) student of Avi Cenna International School, who presented an electric bicycle, the first of its kind among students in Nigeria.
The fair, held at the Combo Hall, Lagos Television Station, Ikeja, seemed like a science carnival, as students took up various stands to display scientific inventions, creative and paper works.
Ezeigbo, who allowed this reporter to test-run the electric bicycle, said he took up the project in response to the increasing global campaign to reduce carbon emission to save the climate. He said the success of the project had inspired him on the possibility of producing an electric motorcycle and cars in Nigeria within a short period of time.
“I thought of a project that will benefit the society. This electric bicycle is not harmful to the environment because it doesn’t use gas. It doesn’t produce carbon monoxide like cars or motorcycles that use fuel. The world is moving to a new age. It is possible to produce an electric motorcycle and an electric car in Nigeria.” He said the project took him three months to complete, noting that his colleagues at school also supported him. “My colleagues and I did it but our teacher helped us to import some of the parts from abroad,” he said. “We also fabricated other parts using available local materials.”
The electric bicycle moves swiftly, when one presses on a button that serves as the throttle. One can go many miles without pedalling, on a speed comparable to that of a motorcycle.
Ezeigbo’s schoolteacher who supervised the project, Mr. Adesanya Adetowope, told Education Review that learning has gone beyond the normal classroom tutorials to the practical application of what had been taught. Like Ezeigbo, Adetowope also admitted that the inspiration to work on an electric bicycle came from the global pressure to reduce green house gases.
Although the bicycle was modified locally, most of the parts came from abroad. And when this reporter asked the teacher why local content in the project was quite minimal, he noted that lithium battery, for instance, one of the components used in building the electric bicycle is not produced in our country.
Another student from Avi Cenna, Sheriff Adegbetu, in Year 9, equally displayed a low cost ‘cold water air conditioner’ that allows water to be pumped from a jug into the coil, which keeps circulating to create cooling effect in a room.
“There is fan behind which is powered by a lithium battery,” he said as he explains further how it works. “The battery can be charged and that makes the air conditioner rechargeable. It can be used without electricity. The fan blows normally and the cold air from the coil circulates in the room. It is environmental friendly. It was a project I did in the school science club and it took my team one week to complete.”
Various presentations by the NTIC students were quite splendid. A team of IT- savvy students from junior secondary school created robots that perform specific tasks. The leader of the robot team, Joju Jimoh, a 13-year-old student, who is at present in JS2, said they decided to create and programme the robots, which could be deployed to perform tasks faster and more efficiently than human labour. Other members of the team were Adbdulraham Salami, aged 10 (JS1), Fadhl Abubakar, aged 11 (JS1), Sani Surian, aged 11 (JS1) and Folabomi Olaleka, 11 (JS1).
The Principal, Nigerian Turkish International College, Ercan Yilmaz, said the annual Science Fair provided an avenue to exhibit the students’ modest inventions and also provides a forum for the students to present practical demonstrations of some scientific discoveries. He added that an international multicultural exhibition was also displayed as a side attraction for the participants and the guests.
“We invited a lot of schools from Ogun and Lagos states to show them the importance of science,” he said. “Science is important for our future. It is a small step for us but it is a big step for the world and for the future. This is not just a display of experiments; we allow the students to show their works. Maybe in 20 years from now, some of the projects displayed here could be used by the initiators to improve our lives.”
Yilmaz explained that the students of the school have lots of projects from various departments from the chemical, biological, computer, medicals and so on. According to him, science exhibitions help to keep the attention of students on the study of sciences. “Our experience from past events showed that students develop more interest in science subjects after participating in an event like this”, he revealed.
On ways of reversing the progressive decline in students’ interest in science education, he advised: “At NTIC, we try to let the parents and our students to understand that learning does not end in the classroom only. The real education is in real life. We want to combine both the practical and the theory. Schools and educators should show their students the practical aspect of learning so that they would initiate projects relevant to the society.”