DURBAN SCHOOLS TO BREAK GUINNESS WORLD SCIENCE RECORD
The 24th of October is a special day for South Africa, and more so for Durban. The city will peak on the world map as MAHLE Behr South Africa together with NGO, The Center for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME), attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest practical science lesson ever done. It’s an effort that has been on the cards for some time now.
MAHLE Behr SA has collaborated with CASME on a number of projects over the last three years, many of which endeavours to develop education in the critical areas of Maths and Science at schools in the rural and under-resourced areas.
MAHLE Behr SA Communications Manager, Jolene van Heerden believes that attempting a World Record will enhance the company’s support of furthering science education at the high school level.“This will be a first for South Africa,” van Heerden says. “Through attempting and achieving the World Record, MAHLE Behr and CASME will inspire, educate and spark the interest of Science leaders for tomorrow.”
Currently, the largest practical science experiment record is held by the Royal Chemistry Society and the current record is for 1383 students. MAHLE Behr and CASME’s target is 1600.
It’s a mammoth undertaking. 1600 learners, 60 teachers, 50 stewards and 50 volunteers will all come together at the UKZN Sports Centre where students will complete two different experiments. In an innovative attempt to save costs, the two experiments have been constructed using by-product materials kindly donated by MAHLE Behr’s production processes. And each participating school will receive a set of equipment after the attempt. To meet the very stringent Guinness World Record criteria and standards the lesson must take place in a given timescale, together in a pre-determined place.
“We have to meet a number of pre-requisites in order to get the official stamp of approval from Guinness,” explains van Heerden. “The pack will have to include a cover letter explaining the context of the record attempt. Then we have to get two independent specialist witness statements confirming that the rules have been adhered to and must explicitly state the exact and final figure of the total participants taking into account any participants whom the stewards deducted from the total. Statements must describe the counting process and overall attempt in details. So it’s all very technical.”
Steward statements must verify the exact number of people successfully completing the activity that is the subject of the record attempt. And video evidence of the entire record attempt, from start to finish has to be produced to enable MAHLE Behr and CASME to confirm the measurement achieved, that the guidelines have been adhered to and verify the details provided by the independent witnesses. In addition, all entrances and exits must be monitored on video and the counting process must be clearly visible in the video too.
“Photographic evidence of the attempt taking place, capturing the details provided by the independent witnesses is also a condition,” van Heerden adds.
“The photographic evidence must include an aerial photo of the crowd or a photo showing the entire group.”
MAHLE Behr and CASME feel that these strict rules are imperative because it gives credibility and weight to what is a ground-breaking effort. They say the Largest Practical Science Lesson is the perfect vehicle to generate enthusiasm with 1600 high school learners, and makes Science “fun” and exciting.
The actual record attempt will take place for one hour. During the adjudication process learners will enjoy a fun science show, and get the opportunity to visit career stalls to find out more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and study opportunities.
“By bringing together young children, teachers, university staff and volunteers from the community around a fun, hands-on science learning event not only do we hope to put South African science education on the global map but we also aim to generate excitement for science amongst participants. The learners who will be helping us break this World Record are at a critical stage in their schooling and will soon be making subject choices that will in many ways determine their future opportunities.” said Henre Benson, Operations Manager for CASME.
“The South African Department of Labour has identified skills shortage as being particularly high in terms of technicians, artisans and skilled labourers. This will help to raise awareness of the importance of education and, training in the under-resourced areas of maths and science of learners at secondary level.” said Van Heerden.
The sponsors in the World Record Attempt are: the University of KwaZulu–Natal College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Ethekwini Municipality, Speccom, Wave Paper, Hulamin, and the Zenex Foundation.
The event will take place at the UKZN Sports Centre on the Westville campus on
24 October 2015.
For further enquiries contact: Julie Laurenz on 0827832351 or Terence Pillay on 0824113006.
PILLAY LAURENZ MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS
Award Winning Media Solutions
This is more than just a World Record. This is about building community.