Fun at the heart of efforts to raise awareness of important sustainability issues
The Sustainable Built Environment Research and Education Lab (SBE), a research group within the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), recently hosted a workshop to raise awareness of sustainability among young learners.
Sustainability for Children invited 45 students from the third grade at Qatar Academy Sidra (QAS) to participate in a range of fun activities designed to heighten their awareness and understanding of key sustainability issues and their impact on Qatar and the rest of the world. The workshop was the latest in a series of events organized by the SBE addressing key sustainability challenges and their impact on the built environment, including energy and water supplies, resource recycling, and climate change.
Over the course of the day, SBE members introduced a variety of topics related to the theme of the event. These included the fourth state of matter known as plasma, which was demonstrated during an experiment involving a plasma ball lamp. Students also learned about critical water challenges facing Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, including the environmental impact of desalination. A demonstration of how a desalination plant works was accompanied by a few smart techniques on how to conserve water in buildings. This session included two short movies that also helped to explain topics to the third graders.
In addition, SBE members organized a number of child-friendly experiments to demonstrate the properties of materials. These included water density experiments involving eggs and saltwater, as well as layered liquids. Students also learnt how a magnetic field works through a magnet-iron experiment, and witnessed an interesting chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and yeast.
A visit to the 3D printing laboratory provided students with first-hand experience of how 3D printing works and what can be manufactured. Visits to other laboratories demonstrated how scientists and engineers work together and provided opportunities to use microscopes to gain a different understanding of issues discussed during the workshops.
To demonstrate renewable energy integration with buildings, SBE team members introduced their solar house game. This provided students with the opportunity to build a solar house while learning about renewable and clean energy, how solar panels work, and how we can save the environment using renewable systems.
Speaking after the workshop, Dr. Sami Al-Ghamdi, Assistant Professor, SBE, CSE, said: “We are committed to taking graduate-level research and thinking beyond academic environments and into the community. Doing so not only provides vital training opportunities for our group, but also enhances understanding of sustainability issues. Children will undoubtedly play an important role in shaping Qatar’s sustainable future. There’s no time like the present to introduce them to the challenges that lie ahead while making them increasingly aware of the complex environmental challenges we currently face.”
The Sustainable Built Environment Research and Education Lab (SBE) is a research group founded and led by Dr. Sami G. Al-Ghamdi and his students. SBE represents the next generation of interdisciplinary education and research in environmental science, engineering, and sustainability. Members of SBE conduct multidisciplinary research on the complexities of the built environment and trains the next generations of scientists capable of developing an innovative solution to mitigate climate change; optimize energy, water, and material consumption; and improve quality of life.
For more information, please visit cse.hbku.edu.qa