Yaounde, Cameroon, Central Africa

Although located downtown, 20 minutes away from school by car, many of the students at Tassah Academy in Yaounde, Cameroon, had never been to the Municipal Lake before. “This is my first time here,” said one student, and it was apparent he wasn’t alone when all of the other students were silenced by the first glance as the bus drove around the corner. The lake marked the end of the first field trip for the middle school students, who had spent the day in the bus, driving around town making observations for their final lab experiment of the one week summer workshop.

Tassah Academy students on a fieldtrip to the Municipal Lake, outside Yaounde, the capital city of Cameroon AFRICAStudents spent the entire week in ISSP’s summer program, co-taught by intern Laura and their science teachers. Their classes were centered around lessons from Project WET, a comprehensive curriculum for students grades K-12 discussing topics as varied as water pollution, water cycles, and water sanitation. At Tassah Academy the students had learned about the water cycle before, but did not realize how complex it could be until they played “The Amazing Journey” game, showing them that not every water molecule takes the same path. One student was amused as she passed from the “Ocean” station to the “Cloud” station 7 times in a row, rather than going through the system in a circular fashion like the drawings they had made the day before. “I liked this class because it taught us to see what we have learned before in a new way,” reported one student. Additionally students learned about how water can spread diseases, such as cholera, and used their sleuth skills to figure out the mysterious case of the cholera epidemic in London in the 1800s.

Students spent the entire week in ISSP’s summer program, co-taught by intern Laura and their science teachers. Their classes were centered around lessons from Project WET, a comprehensive curriculum for students grades K-12 discussing topics as varied as water pollution, water cycles, and water sanitation. At Tassah Academy the students had learned about the water cycle before, but did not realize how complex it could be until they played “The Amazing Journey” game, showing them that not every water molecule takes the same path. One student was amused as she passed from the “Ocean” station to the “Cloud” station 7 times in a row, rather than going through the system in a circular fashion like the drawings they had made the day before. “I liked this class because it taught us to see what we have learned before in a new way,” reported one student. Additionally students learned about how water can spread diseases, such as cholera, and used their sleuth skills to figure out the mysterious case of the cholera epidemic in London in the 1800s.

Funwie Nkwenti helps students investigate the source of a cholera epidemic in London in the 1800s. To end the week students were excited to travel off school grounds for a day to look at different sources of water. At each location they took samples of the water (using gloves and protective gear) and observed differences in color and smell, as well as observing what things were in the environment, natural or manmade. They then noted in the lab book the direction of flow of water as well as the speed, and any other indicators. All students were amazed to discover that all water sources flowed East, until they looked at the map and realized that was logically the fastest route to the ocean. “I did not know the water was so polluted,” stated one student who looked perplexed by the amount of garbage that was found in and around the streams and lakes, in addition to the people cleaning cars, clothes, and themselves directly in the water source. After discussing the week, students decided it was up to them to discover a solution to water pollution in their community, one way or another.