New Lab Supports Innovative Science Education

When students return to Dangla Meskerem Primary School in September, a beautiful, new building for science instruction and learning will greet them on campus. The new lab replaces a dilapidated building lacking electricity and proper storage for lab and teaching materials and will serve students in grades 3 – 8 (nearly 900 in total).

The inspiration behind the new science lab is a pioneering educator, Ato Tewabe Yigzaw. Ato Tewabe is a primary school teacher at Dangla Meskerem who recently won a gold medal from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia for his innovation in STEM education. He uses locally available and recycled materials to create teaching materials and experiments in the areas of physics, biology and chemistry. This includes a battery-powered microscope using plastic bottles and a marble lens and a jet propulsion experiment that requires a small amount of ethanol, a plastic bottle, and a launching pad made from cardboard and wire. See Ato Tewabe demonstrate his rocket launcher here:

The new facility features a lab room with large tables and ample storage space for the more than 350 teaching aids and experiments created by Ato Tewabe. It includes a larger classroom with space for 60 students at a time. Beyond classroom instruction, the building will also serve as a regional training center for other teachers in the area who wish to create their own DIY science lab.

This exciting project would not have been possible without the active and generous participation of the Dangla Meskerem school community – staff, parents and students. In addition to countless volunteer hours, the school community contributed materials and staffing valued at over $5,000 that included:

  • 175 sections for iron roofing materials
  • 5,396 pounds of cement
  • Two truckloads of large stones for the floor foundation
  • Eucalyptus wood for the roofing frame
  • Costs associated with project engineering

We also want to acknowledge the generous support from Open Hearts, Big Dreams who provided grant funding to get the project off the ground.

“Now the vision has been realized from when Project Ethiopia first visited our lab in 2018. When students return in the fall, the children will learn with a new lab and classroom. Thank you so much!” – Ato Tewabe Yigzaw

View the following slide show to see the construction from start to finish:

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