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Monday, August 1, 2011

Holiday Science Learning Camp (HSLC)

The Holiday Science Learning Camp Is a project that would like to bring the young scientists and students to exhachange knlowdge about science and the benefit of sciences in a developing country. This project would love to emphasize of the role science plays in our daily lives and what can we do to make science interesting.

We are planning to have people from different schools, Colleges, Universities, also from different parts of Zambia and we intend to invite some of our colleagues from the Kenyan Branch to come and share their experiences. The Holiday science Learning Camp is being planned for later this year and the dates will be communicated once all the logistics are in place. Those interested are encouraged to forward their participation to Theo Banda: or

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cosmos Education Zambia Members

Cosmos Education Zambia comprises of 10 Elected Executive members.
These members are the ones who hold positions and runs the affairs of the organization.
The following are the office Bearers:

Name: Position (Title)
1. Ernest Ngoliya Executive Director
2. O'Brien Oneal Daka Prsident
3. Theo Banda Vice President
4. Judy Mhango Treasurer
5. Seko Mtawali Secretary
6. Billy Lombe Director of Education
7. Max muswaba Director of Fundraising
8. Liswaniso Mwanalushi Director of Outreach Programs
9. Clive Hichaba Committee Member
10.Sankalimba Chibale Committee Member

We look forward to the meeting that will elect new office bearers. To all our volunteers wanting to become members, you are all welcome to contest the positions. We will soon communicate the date, time and venue of the meeting. check our blog and facebook page for further information.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Zambia Schools Project, May-June 2011

Cosmos Education ran a 3-week project in Lusaka, Zambia, with a group of volunteers from the USA, UK and Zambia. Our aim, as ever, was to supplement the education school students already receive with fun, hands-on experiments and activities to help make Science more real and comprehensible.

Students investigate a model of the eye with Matt.

The hope is that students will be encouraged to see the relevance of Science and Mathematics in everyday life, recognise their importance in the development of their own communities, and be inspired to learn and understand more in future. We place emphasis on the logical approach and critical thinking that underlie the scientific method, in the hope that the students will learn these as life skills useful for the future, whether they choose to follow a technical career or not.
The team members for this project were:
Theo Banda - Cosmos Education Zambia Coordinator
Carol Lo - Electronics Engineer, Cosmos Education UK Coordinator
Damian Smith - Physicist/Engineer
Emily Kendall - Medical Doctor
Matt Landreman - Physicist
Ruth Pearson - Physicist
O'Brien Daka - Environmental Health Worker and President of Cosmos Education Zambia - joined the team briefly to give a talk about his profession to some of the students.

Damian, Carol and Ruth help students with homework.

The Programme

We worked with two schools during the project: Munali Boys High School and Munali Girls High School.

There were two main ways in which we worked with the students: the first was through hands-on activities and discussions on Science topics within our team members' areas of expertise. This helped to reinforce concepts found in the Zambian school syllabus as well as broadening scientific knowledge beyond the classroom. The second way we worked was to offer personal help to students with their schoolwork in Mathematics and Science subjects, addressing topics and questions which they found challenging.

The activities we ran included some of those which you will find on our Resources page, but also covered vision, the immune system, cell biology, understanding scale, and electric motors, to name but a few. We also ran challenges and competitions for students, such as battery design, bridge-building, the tallest structure out of a single sheet of paper, and mental arithmetic challenges.

The students take part in a disection of a cow eye with Emily, bringing diagrams in text books to life.

Our time in the school was scheduled such that we did not take students out of their scheduled lessons: we worked with those students who attend afternoon school in the morning, and vice versa. So the students who took part in our activities were doing so voluntarily in their own time. It was very heartening to see how keen the students were to improve their education.

Theo and O'Brien watch as a student demonstrates the model of an eye he has made using a light-bulb filled with water as a lens.

Future Plans

Our experience from this project has inspired us to explore ideas for future Cosmos Education programmes. We realised that students who have fallen behind in their Mathematics learning struggle with finding the help and remedial tuition that would allow them to catch up. We also met with students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) who are keen to volunteer with Cosmos Education in future to improve this situation. As the project drew to a close, we began to explore possibilities of running a year-round Maths help programme, starting with the Munali high schools.
We certainly hope to work with schools in Zambia again, and we hope that our passion for Science, Mathematics, and how these important subjects impact daily lives and development, has had a positive effect on those we met.


The Zambia 2011 project was primarily organised by Carol Lo (Cosmos Education UK) and Theo Banda (Cosmos Education Zambia). Cosmos Education would like to thank all those who donated money and time to make this project possible.
We are very grateful to the staff and students at Munali Boys' High School and Munali Girls' High School for their interest and support.

Working with Ruth, students use a hand-held lens to project images onto a variety of surfaces.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Zambia Schools Project, January 2009

From 12 to 30 January 2009, Cosmos Education ran a project in Lusaka, Zambia.

Carol Lo (Electronic Engineer, UK), Matt Landreman (Physics PhD Student, US), and Damian Smith (Engineer, UK) divided their time between two schools there, and concentrated their efforts on activities related to Physics, Maths and Engineering. Theo Banda (VP, Cosmos Education Zambia) coordinated this and brought in Mark Zulu (Mechanical Engineering Student, University of Zambia) to help in school visits and to be a positive role model.

Groups of students designed their own bridges using pasta

The intention behind running the project this way was to maintain a presence for enough time to get to know the teachers and students. Hopefully, with an extended and personal project, the impact will be long-lasting, and everyone will feel comfortable raising questions and asking for help.
Students count using strips of paper

Students count in different bases

The two schools we worked with were Munali Boys and Lusaka High School. After discussions with teachers at both of these schools, we agreed to provide a variety of different types of assistance. These included hands-on science activities with groups of students, providing guidance to students with science homework problems, and helping teachers in lessons.

As always, there is a focus on fun, but also on relevance - We always reinforce with the students the idea that the science and mathematics they learn in school is applicable in the real world - whether directly through work in engineering, or indirectly through the ability to analyse and think critically.

Zambian high schools currently take half of the students in the morning, and half in the afternoon. By running activities for students in the part of the day when they don't have lessons, we were able to expand their educational experience without interfering with their progress through the curriculum. We are in the process of writing descriptions of each of these activities, and are making them available online on the resources page. The titles were:

Pasta Bridges: an engineering challenge
Parallax: finding the distance to the stars
Binary and Logic: human computers and learning to count again
Electromagnetics: how electricity makes motors work
Surveying: using trigonometry to measure tall buildings from the ground
Cryptography: how to write and read secret messages
Satellites and Orbits: the physics and engineering of modern telecommunications
Sound: measuring its speed and understanding the doppler effect
Kinematics of ballistic cars: demonstrating the explanatory and predictive powers of science
Gases: chemistry, physics, and the mostly invisible
Shadows: measuring the planet Earth using trigonometry

Students extinguish matches in jars

Proving that Carbon Dioxide extinguishes flames

We also ran drop-in homework help sessions for those wanting a hand with maths and physics problems they've not been able to understand. These proved very popular as the students normally do at least some of their homework at school, so could come and ask if they got stuck. Although most of the discussions were related to current homework, quite a few students had questions on previous parts of the curriculum with which they were not comfortable.

Students look at a crushed can

Students examine the effects of atmospheric pressure on a soft-drinks can
The mathematics lessons we helped with were on Mensuration (areas and volumes), Variation (proportional and inversely proportional relationships), and Earth Geometry. This was at the request of the mathematics teachers who wanted to see some different ideas of how to present what can be rather dry subjects.

The feedback from both schools was very positive, and we will try to run more programmes in a similar vein.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

International Volunteers Day

The International volunteers Day Is an International event that organization promoting volunteerism come together to celebrate their contribution towards humanity. Cosmos Education Zambia is always involved in the commemoration. Cosmos Education Zambia is a member of the steering committee chaired by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. Annually the event is commemorated on the 5th of December with a number of activities being conducted in many areas of Zambia.
Last year Cosmos Education didn't take up any role in the preparation of the event but attended the commemoration hosted at the Lusaka Museum guested by the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare Honorable Friday Malwa MP and also present was the United Nation Resident Representative Dr.McLeod Nyirongo. The theme of the commemoration was "Accountability For Our Environment"

A number of Organizations showcased their activities in mitigating Global Warming and the effects of Climate Change on Zambia.