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The Ota Initiative Blog

Water, Wind, and Fire

Head Teacher Pontian demonstrates that there is air inside an empty cup by showing students the air bubbles that come out when the cup is put in a bucket of water. Students will continue exploring the qualities of air and water in our next two programs.

Welcome back everyone! I am happy to be posting blog updates again as we prepare for our upcoming December program. In just a few short weeks we will be in the classroom for our seventh program providing quality arts, science, and English education to the students of Kayanga. The scientific themes of our last few programs focused on the basic qualities of water and air. We helped students answer questions like “Why do humans need water and air?”, “Why is it important to keep them clean?”, and “How do we protect these resources?”. Now that our students have a basic understanding of the importance of water and air, we will begin delving into more complex qualities of these resources over the next two programs (Yes, we are planning ahead for Summer 2017 already!). Students will learn more about water’s characteristics by exploring buoyancy. Why do some objects float in water while others do not? What properties of water allow this to happen? How does this affect us humans in our everyday lives? On a similar note, students will learn more about air’s characteristics by exploring flight. Why do some objects fall quickly and others more slowly? Why do some objects float in the air when others do not? How do things fly? We are in the process of planning many exciting experiments and games for these lessons, and I look forward to sharing them with you all during the course of the program. While we of course cannot explore the total depth of these subjects with third graders, we will aim to give them a basic understanding of how the world works around them and inspire them to investigate it further. We are also including a lesson in this December’s program on fire and fire safety with an emphasis on water's and air’s effects on fire. You may remember that last spring I sent an update about a horrible fire that destroyed more than 150 shops in Kayanga’s market. With the closest firetruck more than 2 hours away and few resources to stop the fire, residents were forced to merely watch as their town center burned. The town has since bought a firetruck and are working to help those affected, but the impact of this fire will be felt in Kayanga for a long time. Otais an education organization and it is not within our scope to assist with disaster relief, but we want to help in any small way we can. We hope that our lesson on fire will help our students better understand what happened in their community by teaching them about the causes of fire and how to prevent it. Are you all as excited as I am now for our two upcoming programs? I sure hope so. For our supporters in the D.C. area, we will once again be hosting a fundraising party in December, so keep an eye out for your invitation. For those not in the D.C. area, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help fund our program. If you are wondering what I want for Christmas, the top item on my list is a $60 donation to sponsor a student in our program. As always though, I thank you for your support no matter what form it comes in, and I look forward to writing you again soon with further updates about our December program!

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