SAEON joined a range of organisations to celebrate National Science Week (NSW) 2015, which had UNESCO’s International Year of Light as its theme.

The event took place from 1 to 8 August 2015 at venues throughout the country. SAEON’s programme ran from 3 to 7 August at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZG). The NZG event was attended by 856 learners in grades 9-12 from nine different schools across the country, all enrolled in science subjects.

Sunlight and living things

SAEON’s presentation focused on how sunlight interacts with living things. Given the learners’ obvious understanding of the significance of the basic needs of living organisms, the resulting discussion was interactive and meaningful.

Sibongile Mokoena, SAEON’s Science Education Outreach Coordinator, challenged the learners by raising a number of intriguing questions about the interaction between sunlight and living things. She started off by asking the learners to reflect on their encounter with chickens at their homesteads and raised questions such as, “Why does a cock crow? Can it be that it is responding to light or daybreak?” The learners were fascinated to learn that a cock crows to announce daylight and declare its territory – a snippet of science many have overlooked.

Learners listen attentively as Sibongile Mokoena, SAEON's Science Education Outreach Coordinator, explains the interaction between sunlight and living things