We can all do with some excitement to lift our spirits and invigorate our minds – especially, our children, who deserve a break from all the pandemic stress and anxiety. STEM education specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation has announced the launch of an action-packed, virtual science event that is free to attend and running from 21 August through to 4 September which will connect South African children, teachers and parents to the global science community.

Joined by U.S-based Ronnie Thomas from Fun Weird Science, SA’s Steve Sherman from Living Maths and Australian Dr Graham Walker, the Sakhikamva Science Festival programme aims to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and maths through fun ways of learning. On 21 August, the festival welcomes children of all ages, and their families, with an opening event by veteran NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott who will be livestreamed from Florida U.S.A. Attendance for this once-in-a-lifetime close encounter with a space traveller can be booked by visiting the Sakhikamva Foundation website.

Thanks to a sponsorship from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), participating in the Sakhikamva Foundation Science Festival is free for all, and there are various strategies in place to help schools, parents and teachers with data issues to still access the virtual festival programme. TCS, a global IT services provider, is a long-standing supporter of STEM education and the Sakhikamva Foundation. They were instrumental in the launch of Sakhikamva Foundation’s STREAM Laboratories in both Cape Town and Lanseria International Airport. “TCS has been in South Africa for 23 years,” says Country Head, Adil Noshir Tantra, “It is our firm belief that the community is the very purpose of our existence.” TCS staff, family and leaders will be participating in the Science Festival by offering mentorship and advice on real-world STEM careers.

There’s no doubt that education in SA needs a boost of positivity, and the Sakhikamva Foundation 2020 Science Festival highlights the joy of discovery, of following your curiosity and unlocking the mysteries of our world through Science and Maths. Grade 7 to 12 learners are invited to attend the entertaining Mathemagical Shows with Steve Sherman, the Chief Imagination Officer of Living Maths. Grade 5 to 8 learners will be unforgettably wowed by America’s Science Guy, Ronnie Thomas of Fun Weird Science, a showcase of the Georgia Science and Robotics Academy. Fun STEM events such as the MathArt Workshop and the Tower Challenge are ideal for parents to get involved with their kids; or for teachers to use as inspiring lessons.

Collaborating on global STEM projects

The Sakhikamva Foundation Science Festival opens up unique opportunities for SA kids to participate in exciting global STEM projects:

  • On 24 August, 500 South African learners from Grades 7 to 12 will be able to join a team in San Francisco for the launch of a high altitude balloon over San Francisco Bay. Learners will be part of a global team tracking the balloon and connecting on a WhatsApp platform as it finds its way across the globe.
  • On 28 August, 500 Grade 7 to 10 learners will connect to the ExoLab experiment which connects children from around the world with scientists working on International Space Station (ISS). During this festival workshop, learners with meet with international scientists who have conducted plant experiments on the ISS.Brilliant workshops to inspire SA’s young innovatorsFrom building apps to designing drones; from aviation to robotics, the Sakhikamva Foundation Science Festival offers 20 inspiring shows and STEM workshops for learners of different age groups. It’s an ideal opportunity for parents and teachers to sign up their children or their classes for an extraordinary STEM experience. Workshops will be fun and interactive with lots of prizes to be won. Families can also join the Science Show-Off livestream with Dr Graham Walker of the Australian National University who, live from his home lab (aka his spare room!), performs experiments you can try at home – from vacuum-cleaner marshmallow cannons to gravity defying water – and lots you definitely should not. There will be liquid nitrogen, explosions and much more!

    The Sakhikamva Foundation was established by forensic scientist and airline pilot, Fatima Jakoet to promote awareness of the aerospace industry through STEM learning projects. Through a variety of programmes at schools and the world’s first STREAM Laboratory facility, Sakhikamva Foundation connects children to STEM subjects through fun, hands-on, immersive learning. “We’re delighted to launch the Science Festival and open up opportunities for SA kids,” says Jakoet. “We have such exciting partners on board and an incredibly stimulating programme over the two weeks. It’s time for parents and teachers to help lift spirits and get their children signed up for the 2020 Science Festival.”