x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Science was never so much fun at school

A troupe of 'magicians' demonstrate concepts such as air pressure and boomerang aerodynamics to hundreds of enthralled children.

ABU DHABI // As the lights dimmed in the auditorium yesterday a few giggles escaped from pupils who could not contain their excitement. But it was not a film they were preparing to see. It was science. Three hundred students from the Japanese School and the Indian Islahi Islamic School, all from Grades 4 or 5, cheered from their seats in the Abu Dhabi Theatre, near Marina Mall, as Soichi Nishimura, an entertainer, declared himself a "scientist" and started flying a boomerang over the heads of the children.

After learning about the aerodynamics of boomerangs, the pupils clamoured to get Mr Nishimura's attention as he approached the children with a cardboard box with a hole in it. Directing the box at their faces, he created a wind force to give them an idea of what air pressure feels like. A giant air cannon was brought on stage, and Clio Dought, 10, from the Japanese School, said: "This is my favourite part". She and her friend, Rino Tsukise, 13, were impressed when the air cannon fired large doughnut-shaped rings of smoke.

Osamu Miura, the managing director of Sony Gulf, the sponsors of the show, said that an active, hands-on learning approach allowed children to enjoy science. "It is really like magic," said Sharifa Parveen, 10, from the Indian Islahi Islamic School. "I love everything about it. Just everything." Some of the scientific concepts demonstrated yesterday were designed to reflect the science used in the pupils' textbooks.

"I have not read about any of this in my school yet," said Bushra Iqbal, 10. "But now I am looking forward to studying it." The science show ends today. The Sony Science Show troupe has performed for the past four years in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. About 700 pupils attended the show's first day in Abu Dhabi. Each show lasts 90 minutes and is conducted in English and Arabic. In 2009, more than 3,000 students attended the science show in Dubai.

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae