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Teaching science, tech via cycling

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The first step to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) to about 60 youngsters in Kayamandi through bicycles and cycling was recently taken at the Songo Centre through local and international cooperation.

The Stem curriculum for learners through bicycles and cycling is being developed by the Innovationsmanufaktur (Innovations Factory) in Munich, Germany, aided by the University of Braunschweig and the German Cycling Club in Bavaria.

A pioneering workshop was held in January 2020 at the Engineering Department of Stellenbosch University. Through cooperation with the university, Innovationsmanufaktur, Stellenbosch Fietsry and the Songo Centre the first steps are now being taken to implement the foundation-phase programme.

The Songo Centre in Kayamandi has been in operation for almost 15 years and combines assistance with homework, wholesome meals and cycling on a purpose built BMX track.

To introduce the Stem curriculum learners from Grade 1 and upwards are introduced to the origins of the bicycle, its nature and workings, its uses and applications and also how to maintain and fix bicycles.

Learners also discover where the components of bicycles, eg wheels, chains, gears, brakes and so on are used in other areas of life in general. In this way the principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are introduced in a fun way, while also aiding in learning about riding in general, bicycle repair and maintenance and safety.

The teaching is done mainly by local volunteers and several international students of Stellenbosch University. The role of Stellenbosch Fietsry is to assist Innovationsmanufaktur with local adaptations and applications of Stem.

The vision is to extend the pioneer project in Kayamandi to other schools.

For more information, visit www.stellenboschfietsry.co.za.

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