Online fundraiser to provide biology and chemistry lab kits to every school in Artsakh

The Tufenkian Foundation announced today the launch of its new online fundraiser, which will provide portable biology and chemistry laboratory kits to every school in Artsakh. The kits include microscopes, slides with specimen samples, blank slides, Petri dishes, a mortar and pestle, chemical cups, and other materials.

The campaign comes after the success of the Foundation’s biology laboratory kit distribution to all 29 schools across Artsakh’s Martuni region last year. Donations to the online fundraiser can be made here. 

Throughout the world, educators recognize the importance of laboratory investigation as an essential method for students to learn about science. A laboratory experience that is integrated with the instructional unit can significantly enhance students’ learning experience.

Moving beyond the mostly passive experience of learning through classroom instruction or from a textbook, laboratory work helps to create a real-world association with the information being conveyed. By actively engaging the students in the learning experience, laboratory work also helps to better reach students who learn more effectively by working hands-on or collaboratively.

Unfortunately, schools in Artsakh are under-resourced, with most having no laboratory equipment at all for students to learn about the sciences first-hand through experimentation. 

To begin to address this issue, last fall, the Tufenkian Foundation donated biology laboratory kits to all 29 schools in the Martuni region. These kits were specially designed to be integrated with the 7th-grade biology curriculum, supporting specific assignments throughout the school year. The kits are also comprised of equipment to be used outside the classroom where students could collect their own samples.

Feedback from the Martuni Regional School Administration as well as from direct feedback from the teachers and the students themselves has been overwhelmingly positive. Based on this feedback, the Tufenkian Foundation has decided to further expand the school science laboratory initiative, both geographically and by subject.

“The students enjoy participating in the hands-on lessons since they can see and do everything themselves,” explained Herher village’s Alice Siserian Elementary School 7th grade science teacher, Lusine Arakelyan. According to her, the students have been much more engaged in the classroom since her school received a portable biology laboratory kit last September. “Lessons are much more interesting and enjoyable this way,” she added.

The Tufenkian Foundation’s new campaign will provide biology and chemistry labs to every school in Artsakh. There are two aspects to the school laboratory initiative. The first is to build upon last year’s success and expand the program to distribute biology laboratory kits to the remaining 77 schools in Artsakh. Of these, there are 23 large schools that have multiple 7th-grade classes, bringing the total number of biology laboratory kits required to 120.

The second aspect is to expand the program to include chemistry laboratory kits, which can be used for 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade classes. Like the biology laboratory kits, these kits have also been designed to support the class curriculum. A total of 153 chemistry laboratory kits would be required to reach all of Artsakh’s 106 schools.

The laboratory kits will be ordered in the late spring and will be delivered to the schools at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

The cost of outfitting the rest of the schools in Artsakh (i.e. those in Stepanakert as well as those in the Martakert, Askeran, and Shushi regions) with biology laboratory equipment for 7th-grade classwork is approximately $17,700. The cost of outfitting all of Artsakh’s schools with chemistry laboratory equipment to support their 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade curricula is approximately $18,800. The total cost for both initiatives is approximately $36,500.

This program will reach thousands of students throughout Artsakh. Among the most important benefits of this program will be the opportunity for students to augment what they learn in the classroom with real-world, first-hand experience, perhaps facilitating a greater interest in the sciences. It also provides students who learn more effectively by doing or by working with others a chance to explore science in a way in which they can more easily process the subject matter.

“Beyond the educational benefits, this program will reach into every community in Artsakh, sending the message that they are not alone and have not been forgotten and that Armenians outside of Artsakh continue to stand with them during these difficult times,” said Tufenkian Foundation public relations director Rupen Janbazian.

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