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Qatari students in grades 5 and 6 get hands-on science and engineering learning

Published Nov 01, 2016

More than 150 students from around Qatar took part in the Young Engineers and Scientists enrichment program 9-23 Oct. in the Texas A&M Engineering Building in Education City.

Young Engineers and Scientists is part of the Dhia: Engineering Leaders initiative, a partnership between Maersk Oil Qatar and Texas A&M University at Qatar that aims to help build the technical and scientific human capacity that Qatar will need to reach the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 by encouraging students to choose career paths in science and engineering. Dhia outreach initiatives engage hundreds of students per year through sophisticated educational enrichment programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Moza Al-Naimi Head of Qatarization at Maersk Oil Qatar said the company’s support of STEM educational initiatives play an integral role in inspiring Qatar’s youth to pursue technical disciplines which in turn will support the pipeline of a highly skilled workforce in Qatar.

“We’re proud to continue our strong partnership with Texas A&M Qatar in the Dhia programme and support STEM education and contribute to the future prosperity of Qatar,” she said. “Programmes such as Young Engineers and Scientists are critical in targeting students at a young and impressionable age and leaving a positive impact on their perceptions of STEM subjects through fun and engaging hands-on activities.”

The Young Engineers and Scientists program engages students in grades 5 and 6 in experiments and practices in math and science fundamentals. Through the series of one-day workshops, the program teaches science concepts through experimentation and problem-based learning that challenge students to apply science and math to real-world problems. Program activities are designed to excite students about learning as they experience how science is applied through engineering.

For this month’s workshops, students were tasked with finding ways to allow animals to cross a street safely using a five-step engineering design cycle to help them solve the problem. The students had to first define the problem, plan solutions, make a model of their solutions, test the models they developed, and finally reflect and redesign their process based on their testing.

Many student participants returning for a second year said they were excited to return and that they enjoyed this year’s activities as much as — if not more than — their previous experiences.

This is the first time many Qatar Foundation Pre-university–education schools such as Qatar Academy, QA Sidra and Awsaj have participated in the program. Other schools included Aatika Primary School, Hayat Universal Bilingual School, AlMarkhiya Primary School as well as Dukhan English School.

Dr. César O. Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Research has shown that getting students interested in science and math at a young age is key to ensuring their academic success in their university studies. Programs such as Young Engineers and Scientists through our partnership with Maersk Oil Qatar is helping to ensure that Qatar has the graduates it needs to secure its continuing prosperity.”