Students spend the summer bringing their lessons to life

10 January 2020

Summer might have been a chance to get away from school, enjoy the freedom, and the Pamir mountain air. Instead, 66 students in Khorog, Tajikistan, voluntarily spent their summers at the Aga Khan Lycée (high school).

They were participating in Maker’s Lab and Lego Robotics—summer programmes where they engineered their own innovative versions of real-life things.

“Anyone can create,” said the teachers in the first class. “you just need to have an imaginative spirit, some passion, and a willingness to have fun and learn.”

Grade 7 student, Alizod Elnazarov, was attending the programme for the second time, and this year he made an electric paper piano with his cohort of young engineers.

“Learning about materials that transmit energy enabled us to make a paper piano, meaning that giant equipment can be resized and be still effective, useful, mobile and practical.” Alizod’s group also produced a structural representation of a bridge using toothpicks.

The project put into practice the structural principles they had explored in class, so that the design was light, yet strong. 

The students worked with light energy, paper circuits, stop motion and animation. They were also able to experiment with a 3D printing machine.

“This programme is a unique opportunity for students to test, experiment, build, explore and create with the professional guidance and technical knowledge of the teachers,” said programme coordinator Ruslan Rahimbekov.
This year 11 teachers from Khorog and Osh, in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, also attended the programmes to develop their ability to run Maker’s Lab and Lego Robotics independently in the future.

Compared to the summer of 2018, the number of attendees has increased significantly. According to the administrators, this is because the students love it. It gives them a chance to channel their creativity, and learn by applying bookish knowledge in practical, hand-on projects.

Caption: Sarah Hakani testing the paper piano
Photo credit: Sahar Ibrahim/Maker’s Lab summer program