Pakistan Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) celebrated World Space Week to commemorate human efforts in the domain of space exploration and its impact on humanity in Karachi starting on the 4th October 2011. The week-long event included a space fair, exhibitions, games, awareness lectures, space movies and demonstrations, a declamation contest, a quiz competition, a model-making competition and other activities for over a 100 students from 40 of the city’s top schools.
Students from SMB Fatimah Jinnah School actively participated in various WSW events and won the 3rd prize in the 50 years of human space flight model-making contest held on the 8th and 9th of October 2011. Muneeba Yousuf and Anumta Rathore were the Fatimah Jinnah students on the award-winning team coached by their teachers Ms Tasneem Fatima and Ms Shama Ishaq.
Another team consisting of Mahum Ateeq Khan, and International Art Olympiad winner Muqaddas Batool also competed in this model-making contest, submitting a project on “Space and the World” for which they received guidance from their teachers Ms Sana Rani and Ms Saba.
Students from the school also participated in the Declamation and Quiz Competitions. Asma Arshad and Rabia Mehmood Alam represented the school in the Declamation Contest. Aleena Iqbal and Faiza Arif formed the team that contested the Quiz Competition on behalf of the school. They were coached by their teachers Ms Sana Rani and Ms Saba (Declamation) and Ms Tasneem Fatima and Ms Shama Ishaq (Quiz) respectively.
The students and their teachers must be commended for competing well and winning a contest at an event where their competitors were students from some of the city’s top private schools such as Habib Girls School and Mama Parsi School.
The award-winning students of SMB Fatimah Jinnah School created a model space shuttle as well as a model astronaut. All participating students were immensely excited about the projects they had worked so hard on and presented it to the judges and the large audience eagerly and confidently. This was the first time the students from this government school had participated in a city-wide educational competition, which makes their success doubly special.
The government school teachers worked tirelessly to help the students prepare for this competition, leading the way in everything from the research, to model-making to giving the students a crash course on how space shuttles work. It was heartening to see the government teachers take ownership of the project, often staying back after school of their own volition to help the students prepare for their competition.
We believe that this small award will be a turning point for the school. The girls of SMB are now motivated to excel in co-curricular activities and are taking a more active interest in science. Competing in city-wide and national activities and competitions has made both the students and the teachers inquisitive about such events and we are seeing a change in their attitude. They are now challenging themselves to take the initiative to learn and improve upon their knowledge and skills and push themselves beyond the boundaries which were restricting them from competing with the best schools. The fact that our school was the only government school present at the competition was an added motivator for the students and teachers for the future.
After seeing the interest of these girls in science and internet-based research, we are looking to set up a resource room for the teachers, where they can refer to the latest books and encyclopedias for research, as well as a well-equipped prep room as part of the science lab for the students.