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UNAWE Student Ambassador Yumna Reaches Out in Pakistan
22 March 2017

Yumna is a student ambassador for UNAWE in Pakistan who has been inspiring many kids with the wonders of the Universe. As part of a World Space Week she organised personally, Yumna travelled to local schools in her area to give lectures and demonstrations to children. She has sent us incredible photo’s and stories about her endeavours of which we’ve made a selection to share with you. 

Jinnah High School, AIMC Colony

Yumna visited Jinnah High School in the AIMC Colony, where over 50 students of ages 11-14 were introduced to the Solar System and remote sensing. They started with a brief introduction to Universe Awareness and WSW. From the Sun to Pluto, Yumna told them about the planets’ sizes, atmosphere, distances, origin of their names, chances of life on other planets, and how probes are being sent to different planets to study them.

Then they discussed Elon Musk's Mission Mars. “It was an amazing experience, students were so active and receptive. When I told them about the Apollo Mission, about Neil and Buzz, one of the students said the first living thing sent to Space was a dog or a monkey.” This was quite impressive for them to know that fact, considering that all students belonged to families that work as ward boy, sweeper or clerks.

Yumna continues: “We did Solar Observation too, with the help of Solar Glasses provided by Lahore Astronomical Society, through courtesy of the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project.”

   

 

Girls on the Moon

The next day, Yumna taught a group of thirty girls in the fifth grade on the subject of Our Planets and Rocket Model Making. Using a model of the Solar System that Yumna made herself, the students learned of the history of rockets, planets and asteroids. Then using plastic bottles, chart paper and tape, they made their own rocket models.

During a short discussion, the class asked interesting questions, like:

“Do the asteroids hit Earth?”
“Who can travel to Space?”
“Is it the Air Force that goes to Space?”

Yumna wished the discussion could have lasted longer, because of all the interesting questions: “One of them asked whether I traveled to space, because they thought I could tell them about the Solar System by visiting Space and seeing the planets and asteroids. I told them that no one from our country has ever traveled to Space.” When they discussed the Moon Mission, something remarkable happened: “When I told them that the Moon has been visited by 12 Americans, all males and no females, they all said that they will go to the Moon!”

After class, the campus head selected the best rocket models and displayed them in the student's activity corner to showcase their efforts.

  

 

Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Allama Iqbal Medical College

The day after, Yumna did some artwork among students/doctors/patients at the Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Allama Iqbal Medical College. “Patients of almost all ages visited my department: kids, adults, elders. Over here, students and medical doctors don't know much about space and astronomy, so I thought it would be good to create some Universe Awareness among them.”

“My fellows M. Ilyas and Tanzeela Tariq helped me a lot, even though we were busy with our midterm exams.” Yumna hopes they can spend more time during the next event.

  


Home schooling with Pluto

The final session was organised from Yumna’s home, and highlighted the topics of Our Solar System, Day & Night, and the Seasons. Ten kids, ranging from 7 to 14 years old, learned about plasma prominence and sunspots. Then Yumna told them about planets, the hottest and the coldest planet, size of  the planets, the Apollo mission and space programs about Mars, the difference between rotation and spinning, and how day and night occurs. Using solar glasses, provided by Lahore Astronomical Society, the students were also able to experience the wonders of the Universe directly.

“The most amazing part of this session was the moment when I asked them about Pluto:
one of them said it has left its orbit, while others said Pluto has now come back to its orbit. One kid also said that Pluto is not a planet anymore, because it has been destroyed by bomb blasts.”

All of them were very curious to know about aliens and spaceships, asking questions like: ‘is there life outside our planet?’ and ‘can we live in space?’. In the end, Yumna received a wonderful compliment from her students: “I was so happy when they said they want more astronomy classes!”

  


On being a UNAWE student ambassador

Being a UNAWE Student Ambassador is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of scientists and to help make a difference in disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, by joining the UNAWE Student Ambassador programme, you will be participating in a world-renowned programme and will gain valuable insight into planning astronomy outreach and education activities.

If you are interested in becoming a student ambassador and organise amazing events like Yumna, please visit our page about the Universe Awareness Student Ambassador Programme.

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