Workshop and outreach programmes held for physics teachers in Uganda

1 July 2014

Uganda volunteer coordinators Stephen Wright, Mark Johnson, and new coordinator Gerard Hallows, led a workshop and outreach courses for Ugandan physics teachers in May 2014.

Uganda volunteer coordinators Stephen Wright, Mark Johnson, and new coordinator Gerard Hallows, led a workshop and outreach courses for Ugandan Physics teachers

A residential course was held in the IOP Centre, located at the Bukinda Seminary in Uganda, from 5–9 May, for 27 teachers from 23 different schools. The coordinators also led three one-day courses at outreach schools in Kanunga, Kisoro and Rukungiri, where a total of 60 teachers attended.

The theme of this year’s workshops was to provide the teachers with experiments they could take back and make in their own classrooms. Each volunteer coordinator contributed a variety of information and experiments, including Simple Forces, Forces and Motion, Simple Electricity, Electronics, Optics, and Thermometry.

The theme of this year’s workshops was to provide the teachers with experiments they could take back and make in their own classrooms

Many of the experiments were done using a combination of household objects. Positive and negative triboelectric charges were demonstrated using aluminium cooking foil, paperclips and plastic rulers. Chopped-up segments of old DVDs were used to construct a reliable grating spectrometer, and Brownian motion was shown through putting Coffee-Mate in water.

The teachers also made astronomical telescopes, using optical components donated from Comar Instruments in Cambridge, which gave clear magnified images. Most of the teachers had previously never touched a lens or looked through a magnifying glass. During the residential at the Bukinda Seminary, all of the experiments were assembled as permanent demonstrations within the IOP centre there.  

Each teacher received a 45°/90°/45° glass prism suitable for dispersing and observing fluorescent lights, a selection of mirrors, lenses, polarisers and colour filters for general optics demonstrations

Each teacher received a 45°/90°/45° glass prism suitable for dispersing and observing fluorescent lights, a selection of mirrors, lenses, polarisers and colour filters for general optics demonstrations. Teachers who attended the residential also received a donated bag of equipment, and teachers at the outreach schools received donated textbooks.

The workshops were a success, training 36 more teachers this year than in 2013, and garnering highly positive feedback and enthusiasm from all who participated.