Namibia B2Gold Partnership
The Little Shop team visited Namibia in January, 2016, hosted by B2Gold Namibia. We presented a series of workshops with teachers, programs with students, and we worked with the staff of the B2Gold Education Center to set up a lab and hands-on materials for future student visits.
The Little Shop of Physics approach of using easily available materials to have students work hands-on, to have students explore and experiment in an open-ended, inquisitive fashion, worked very well in the Namibian context, and we immediately started talking about next steps. How could we take the approach that had been so popular with teachers, with students, and share it with more people? We decided, with Sherri Lytle, of B2Gold Namibia, who is funding this project, to bring in people from the educational establishment in Namibia, to have them get a taste of what we do, to work with us on developing and refining the curriculum that is shared with teachers across the country.
In June, 2017, the Little Shop of Physics team hosted 4 visitors from Namibia, as part of this ongoing partnership with Namibian educators. Eva Asheela, from the Ministry of Education, is developing curriculum materials for schools across the country; we assisted her with focusing content and developing activities that use low-cost, locally available materials. Erika Maass, from the University of Namibia, is an administrator in charge of teacher preparation and teacher licensing. We worked with her to develop lab and other exercises that would be appropriate for their teacher preparation classes—activities that would help teachers learn content while also seeing effective pedagogical practices. Ignasius Awaseb, from B2Gold Namibia, a mining outfit that is funding this project. spent his time developing educational materials and hands-on displays for the B2Gold Education Center.
The visit was jointly hosted by Sherri Lytle. Sherri is a CSU alum and is the one who started this partnership. She participated in all activities and set up an active series of social events for the visitors—she kept them quit busy!
We shared a lot, but members of the Little Shop team learned a great deal as well. Our visitors had some great ideas for activities for demonstrating concepts that we’d never seen before.
After our visitors return home and start integrating the lessons of the workshop, we’ll have some follow up meetings and discuss what’s next. We don’t yet know the exact form this will take, but we do know that this workshop was another step in an evolving partnership!