“The Empalme neighborhood has always looked to create new and attractive spaces for neighbors and we have been thinking about the science workshop initiative for some time. At the end of 2020, members of the neighborhood went to the Malbrán Institute and spoke with Dr. Fernández, who told us he came from Villa 31 in Buenos Aires and about the importance of taking Science to the grassroots. That’s when we realized we couldn’t let it pass and that we had to give the kids a science workshop, it was the little llama that we lost”, says Ristov, who in addition to being a chemical technician neighbor, has been a teacher for more than 20 years and works as a teacher in technique No. 7 and No. 5.
Restov made a hole in his long working day, and on Saturday mornings he began conducting a neighborhood science workshop for boys over 10 years old. The first class was in April of this year and two groups of six boys each were formed, taking turns at each meeting.
Rashes, magnets and colors
“I came to the workshop because I love everything related to biology, I love everything related to science and one day I plan to devote myself to it. I thank teacher Valeria who encourages us every day to come and do new experiments because the workshop is constantly improving”, says Morena Ortolani , one of the teens who participates every Saturday From space, it confirms Valeria’s statement that “boys engage in this kind of activity a lot.” “One of the experiences I loved the most was when we mixed baking soda with vinegar and it caused a rash,” Morena enthusiastically recalls.
For the teacher, the idea of the workshop is that science is tangible for boys and girls, and that they can transfer this knowledge to the field of everyday life. Ristof dislikes that science presented as distant and inaccessible, of coats indicating distance from one another, “that the coat acts as protection rather than separation,” he says.
Bringing science closer to what happens on a daily basis is one of the goals guiding the work of this teacher, who recognizes that children and teens are vulnerable to this type of learning because they love to do and play and are not afraid of it. Questions. He says, “Playing, we work with perceptions, we observe the concrete, and science is not an abstract thing but it happens in everyday life.”
At Empalme Graneros Science Workshop, various activities are carried out and their knowledge of physics and biology is covered. In one meeting they made a thermometer and on another opportunity they thought and designed an alcohol thermometer. The teacher emphasizes that boys and girls do small experiments, but that does not mean that they discover less important things. “The other day we talked about water, we combined different knowledge about it because the boys are of different ages, and then we ended up electrolysis of the water,” he says.
They also conducted experiments with magnets and iron filings that allowed them to observe how charges of the same sign and those of a different sign repelled. Chromatology was added to this suggestion and Morena tells what she remembers from the experience: “What we have to think about is that the fibrous fibers are made of alcohol and water. What we did was put two drops on each side and when they came into contact with water they softened it and formed the different colors that these fibers were made with. “.
The teacher believed that science could be done anywhere, so on some occasions they decided to get their hands dirty outside the lab and went to the San Jose Mission Station, where there is a workshop in the garden, to analyze the pH of the ground. “We took samples from the soil, saw the different tools used in the garden and analyzed why they were made of a certain material and not another. Through the samples they took, they analyzed the acidity and alkalinity of the land. There were chickens in the field that were useful for providing the soil with the nutrients it needs, so I suggested taking a sample From that soil of the hen house and they did not hesitate to enter, because the boys love to play and play,” says Ristof.
The teacher highlights her students’ resilience when it comes to learning and says that in the round trip the workshop space provides, everyone learns. “Sometimes I forget some material to work on and they quickly come up with ideas and solve the problem. Sometimes we adults have some structure and solidity that we don’t.”
In the educational experience of the Northwest, the neighborhood plays a major role because it provides the space and supplies so that the workshop can be carried out. This is why the teacher highlights the effort the neighborhood organization has made when it comes to creating educational spaces and attractive alternatives for residents. “The most important thing is the will to get the boys to do what they love to do.”The teacher says and points to it Families make great sacrifices to provide their children with the best education and it is important that they do not have to go out looking for them elsewhere, because the neighborhood can provide all of that and so much more.
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