Dr Sadru Damji, a TKN volunteer based in Toronto, Canada, recently led an interactive and exciting online chemistry class in May 2021 for a group of grade 11 students at the Aga Khan School in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.

As part of the Aga Khan Education Service’s strategic initiative to enhance the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) offering at the Aga Khan School, Osh (AKSO) in Kyrgyzstan, the team is working with several international subject experts, including TKN volunteers such as Dr Damji. 

The online chemistry lesson, delivered in English, was facilitated by AKSO teachers and involved live discussions between Dr Damji, students and teachers. The lesson served as a joint research project between students, teachers and Dr Damji, in which students were asked to experimentally investigate amphoteric inorganic and organic compounds and present their findings to each other. During the practical work, students proposed a method to investigate amphoteric compounds and deduced the chemical equations for the reactions conducted. Students illustrated, through research, real-life application, and the cross-curricular link of amphoteric compounds and their importance in buffer actions in the human body.

One of the students, Turdiev Radmir noted, “I realise that chemistry is our whole life, but the knowledge gained today strengthened my understanding of its deeper [meaning].” Another student, Ten Daniel, said, “When conducting experiments, I felt like I [was] a real scientist exploring new, unknown ideas. The online class was very good, especially the experiment and the guidance and support provided from teachers and Dr Damji.”

student posters

A selection of posters in both English and Russian created by the students.
A selection of posters in both English and Russian created by the students.
Photo: AKES

During the experiment, students demonstrated skills in working with equipment and reagents while following safety rules and proper instructions for conducting experiments. Dr Damji said he was “very pleased” with the students’ enthusiasm for learning. He was particularly impressed with the students’ participation in the final reflection component of the investigation, including their ability and willingness to ask meaningful questions. 

“They worked well in small groups, grasped new scientific concepts and were open to new ideas,” he said.

The lesson motivated students to continue further their study of chemistry solutions and mechanisms, such as buffer systems. Student Dilorom Abdurakhmanova explained, “This lesson was unusual [because it was online], but at the same time very exciting. I plan to continue [to] study the role of buffer systems in the human body.”

The online class was successful thanks to Dr Damji’s previous experience of working with students in different countries, both in-person and online. His experience with the International Baccalaureate (IB) allowed him to define the framework for this online class and plan and deliver the class using research-based problem-solving. The school’s science teachers plan to continue similar investigations in the next academic year in order to provide students with the opportunity to learn more, broaden their horizons, and dive deeper into the world of science and technology.

Dr Damji and his wife Nishat have also provided valuable voluntary service on several other TKN assignments. Learn more about their work and contributions here.