Make the Abu Dhabi Science Festival a family affair, says Adec director

As he led officials on a tour of the festival grounds on Monday, Abu Dhabi Education Council director general Dr Ali Al Nuaimi encouraged visitors to make the science festival a family affair.

Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, leads officials on a tour of the Abu Dhabi Science Festival grounds at Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi. Vidhyaa for The National
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ABU DHABI // Parents can play a role in promoting science education by accompanying their children to the Abu Dhabi Science Festival.

As he led officials on a tour of the festival grounds on Monday, Abu Dhabi Education Council director general Dr Ali Al Nuaimi encouraged visitors to make the science festival a family affair.

“I urge parents to come and participate with their kids,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “We offer this festival to help kids pursue careers in science and technology but we also need families and parents to help us achieve this because they have a big influence on their kids’ future. Attending the festival with their parents will help both parents and kids love science and technology.”

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and organised by Adec, the sixth edition of the winter attraction coincides with UAE Innovation Week, which hosts science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) activities across the country from November 20 to 26.

“Stem education is a priority in our education system,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “This year’s festival shows an increase in the contribution of local entities, as 40 per cent of the content is local content. We also have the Edinburgh International Science Festival as our strategic partner to make sure that what we are offering here in the UAE is up to global standards.”

The number of festival activities is up to 67, an increase of 20 per cent compared to last year, and includes more drop-in workshops that don’t require preregistration.

The science festival is also being staged at the Al Ain Zoo.

“The capacity of this year’s festival has grown,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “Last year, the festival welcomed 10,000 students and this year it will be 15,000 from both government and private schools.”

He also anticipated the public attendance to reach record numbers.

“Last year, over 110,000 people visited this festival, so this gives you an idea of how important it is and this year, we are expecting more people to come,” said Dr Al Nuaimi.

Dr Al Nuaimi’s first stop was the indoor theatre where neon lights cast a futurist glow inside the darkened room as a voice boomed over the speakers, “Who are you and what are you doing on my planet?”

The delegation then travelled through the nine zones where volunteers demonstrated some of the hands-on activities and challenges available to visitors.

At the Smartphone Microscope station, the officials observed as a science facilitator used a USB microscope to zoom in on the fibres of a piece of tweed fabric. Participants at this workshop also have the opportunity to build their own mobile phone microscopes using a cardboard box, a glass lens and pencil. Visitors will be encouraged to take home most of the gadgets they build.

In the Microplanes workshop, children be introduced to the science behind aviation as they build their own small airplane to launch.

“The content evolves around the interest of kids to inspire them to study science and technology,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “This festival also helps students to connect what they see in the classroom with realistic experiments, so they can live the experience. It helps them realise the importance of science and why we need science in our lives. It allows them to be more creative. We need local scientific talent in our community. We want our kids to know the importance of science and technology and excel in these fields. This will help us build a knowledge based economy and compete globally.”