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Microscopy at Misera BCS

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Background

 

Misera is in the Jarra West District of the Lower River Region, near Soma, a town on an important crossroads where the main east-west road on the south bank of the Gambia River crosses the Trans-Gambia Highway. You can find out more about the village on the Missera Village FaceBook page.
Misera Basic Cycle School combines the functions of Lower Basic and Upper Basic, with students in Grades from 1 to 9 and ages ranging from about 7 to 19.

Pageant's Science and Microscopy Workshops

Gambian school children learn their science from the blackboard - most of them never see or use any practical equipment due to lack of funds for such resources. As well as lacking practical science facilities, almost none of the schools had access to microscopes. So for several years Pageant has been running workshops for Gambian teachers and trainee teachers to show them how to give practical science lessons, including the use of microscopes. The 2015 workshops marked the start of a five year project in collaboration with Gambia College. If it can be shown that the workshops lead to significant improvements in school science teaching, then the concept could be adopted and funded by the Gambian state school system.

Menu 2 has links to more about our workshops

Microscopy Training for Misera Teachers

In November 2015, a team from Pageant visited Misera BCS. They were given a tour of the library and resource room (see details on the Misera main web page). Pageant brought with them some microscopes and a lot of hand lenses for the school to use. Our Gambian agents, Yankuba and Abdoulie, then ran a training session with some of the teachers, showing them how to use the equipment. Yankuba and Abdoulie have now become so proficient at this training that Pippa can confidently leave them to just get on with it.

The photos below show Yankuba and Abdoulie instructing the teachers in the correct use of hand lenses.

Yankuba and Abdoulie training Misera teachers
Yankuba & Abdoulie with Misera teachers

Misera teachers with hand lenses
how to use hand lenses

Practical Microscopy Teaching at Misera

Following Pageant's visit, Mr Bah and Mr Baldeh held some practical microscopy teaching sessions in early December with Grade 7 and Grade 8 students. Mr Baldeh was a student teacher at one of Pageant's Microscopy Workshops at Gambia College before he qualified, so it was particularly good to see him doing so well with the students.

These next two photos show students who have been taught the correct way to use small hand lenses. Microscopy is the science of looking at things too small to be seen with the unaided eye. So correct use of a hand lens (simple microscope) and interpretation of what is observed is an essential first step before using (compound) microscopes.

student using a hand lens
student using a hand lens

student using a hand lens
student using a hand lens

In the first photo, Mr Bah and Mr Baldeh introduce the class to the three different microscopes they are going to be using. In the second photo Mr Baldeh holds one of the microscopes and tells them what all the parts of it are called. This is very important for Gambian schools as it is where Pageant's practical training meets theory that has only been taught on the blackboard until now.

Mr Bah and Mr Baldeh introduce the microscopes
Mr Bah and Mr Baldeh introduce the microscopes

Mr Baldeh demonstrates a microscope
Mr Baldeh demonstrates a microscope

In the first photo below, Mr Baldeh shows a group of students how to use the microscope, before they have a go themselves in the second photo.

students getting 'hands on' microscopy instruction
students getting 'hands on' microscopy instruction

student trying it for himself
student trying it for himself

In the next photo, Mr Bah is showing a group of students how to use a microscope. In the second one, a student is using a microscope, almost buried by the other students crowding around! We have no idea what they are looking at, but the whole table of students are interested and engaged.

Mr Bah shows a student how to use a microscope
Mr Bah helps a student use a microscope

student using a microscope, while others gather round
student using a microscope - others gather round

The above photos were all taken by Jacy Bowman, the Peace Corps Volunteer at Misera Basic Cycle School. They are reproduced with her permission, and are her copyright. Jacy has posted lots more photos of teachers and students using lenses and microscopes on her blog, so please have a look.

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