With funding from The Ogden Trust, 1001 Inventions has brought the "Ibn Al-Haytham School Programme" to more than 1,000 primary school pupils, introducing them to themes of light, optics and vision while promoting diversity and intercultural appreciation.
Through the programme, teachers offered sessions to their pupils themed on the legacy of Ibn al-Haytham. The often untold story of the remarkable pioneer was combined with engaging activities, films and resources.
The programme enabled pupils to creatively learn about the properties of light. They were enthralled by activities including a hole in hand, spinning light disc and a colour contrast illusion. Other workshops included making 3D glasses, creating periscopes and kaleidoscopes, and even making their own camera obscura.
While sessions highlighted discoveries from the past, they also linked themes of science, history and culture to present the relevance to daily lives and relay a positive message of diversity, aimed at uniting and inspiring children.
Pupils were enthralled by activities and illusions including a hole in hand, spinning light disc and a colour contrast illusion. Other activities included making 3D glasses, creating periscopes and kaleidoscopes and even making their own camera obscura.
“The film engaged students from the onset and excited them … Children were fascinated with travelling back to the 11th century. They learned about the key principles of light, vision, and optics creatively and were highly enthused and engaged by the activities.”
Nelson Mandela Primary School
“[Children] responded in a very positive and enthusiastic way. They knew little of the achievements of early Islamic society and enjoyed finding out about the amazing discoveries. They enjoyed the hands-on activities which helped to give their learning context.”
Burnwood Community Primary School
“The project has been implemented in a flexible way to adapt to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Hanan Dowidar who led the programme. “We have supported teachers throughout the programme fostering communication and networking and providing resources to support all the in-school sessions.
“Feedback has been very positive, and teachers are keen to replicate the programme in the future. They plan to continue using the 1001 Inventions resources to complement and support their lessons,” added Hanan. “In evaluation of the programme we have been told that pupils were able to confidently talk about the discoveries they had explored, recalling names of famous scientists, and explaining their findings using correct scientific vocabulary.
“We trust the programme will help improve physics attainment for all engaged pupils. We hope it will also support young learners from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic groups through content that has a greater affinity to their own cultural and scientific heritage,” she concludes.
1001 Inventions is a not-for-profit science and cultural heritage organisation that creates international educational campaigns and initiatives aiming to spark young people’s interest in science. 1001 Inventions believes in the power of culture and storytelling to encourage innovation and promote diversity and inclusion. As such, 1001 Inventions produces themed transmedia productions uncovering fascinating contributions of lesser-known pioneers from Arab, Asian and other Eastern cultures.