The students with their prize-winning project.
DOHA: Qatar University’s Materials Technology Unit (MTU) selected a team of four students from Um Hakim Secondary Independent School for Girls as the winners of its high school science programme in a prize-giving ceremony held recently.
In their winning project, the students used natural vegetable dyes on solar cells which could absorb solar energy and store it to be used as an environmentally-friendly back-up generator, particularly for hospitals.
A total of 300 students from Grade 10 and Grade 11 at seven independent schools across Qatar took part in ‘I Am Discovering Materials’ workshop series within MTU’s Al Bairaq World programme, which aims to encourage high school students’ interest in and appreciation of science. It combines scientific experimental and research skills with scientific knowledge and critical thinking to improve their overall understanding of science.
Dr Hassan Al Derham, Research Vice-president at Qatar University said: “This activity is improving the students’ scientific skills, and helps build their teamwork, confidence and presentation skills.”
Participating schools were Qatar Secondary Independent School for Girls, Al Khor Independent Secondary School for Girls, Um Hakim Independent Secondary School for Girls, Qatar Technical Independent School for Boys, Omar Bin El Khattab Scientific Complex School for Boys, Doha Independent Secondary School for Boys, and Ahmed Bin Hanbal Independent Secondary School for Boys.
MTU academic staff and researchers, along with Northwestern University visiting professor Dr Matthew Hsu, worked closely with the student teams to help them research ideas which would contribute to the improvement of their society.
Many of the students’ projects had an environmental focus with the aim to conserve natural resources and using renewable energy where possible. Ideas included natural dye solar cells for use as back-up generators or as portable energy sources for camping, a water filtration system to reduce the amount of water used in car washes, and glow-in-the-dark concrete to minimise the use of artificial lighting on streets and in airports.
In addition to their research, students were tasked to write and give oral presentations on their project, take scientific photographs, design posters and create a Facebook page to help publicise their research and build a model of their invention.
The projects were exhibited over three days. A shortlist of six teams – three male and three female – were selected to present their final projects in front of a panel which included representatives from QNB, the Anti-Doping Lab, RasGas, Msheireb Properties, Qatar Gas and Tasweeq.