AKA, Mombasa’s Second “Year 8 Inventions Day” Brings the Silk Route to Modern Times | Aga Khan Academies

AKA, Mombasa’s Second “Year 8 Inventions Day” Brings the Silk Route to Modern Times

24 November 2014

Year 8 celebrated a special Unit Appreciation on Friday 21 November, 2014 by holding an “Inventions Day” to appreciate the development of technology over the years. The group focused particularly on the Silk Route, and how the exchange of culture leads to innovation and collaboration.

The day began with a keynote address from Sehr Tejpar, who helped initiate the Unit Appreciation for the first time earlier this year. The Year 8 students then spent the day engaged in various research exercises and demonstrations in which they learned more about the cultivation of ideas and innovation along the Silk Route. The day culminated in group presentations that displayed the knowledge the students had gathered over the course of the day.

The presentations involved selecting a specific invention and tracing its history, and then pitching an idea to potential investors of an improved version of their invention. There were several impressive stations, including one manned by Emma Mbuthia, Tamara Casanova, Anisha Kasule, and Alya Al Beiti on surgical instruments. The group displayed models of several different instruments and explained how they evolved from those used by the Romans and Greeks to those made of iron, and how the trading of instruments and knowledge took place along the Silk Route. They also showcased a highly innovative device featuring a blood receptacle that would be able to simultaneously test for a wide variety of ailments from a single blood sample.

There was a group that took advantage of its audience’s vanity and put together an engaging presentation on mirrors, featuring an informative video of how modern mirrors are made, as well as tracing the history of this invention from the polished bronze plates used by the Chinese to the modern day silver-backed mirror. Sytara Alibay, Malaika Cheyne and Ayesha Lalani also covered the superstition surrounding mirrors, as well as their use in different cultures, such as the small mirrors used to adorn Indian clothing. Their innovation, like many devices adapted for the modern day, was a mirror that carried out multiple functions, including smart apps, security features, and even a virtual personal stylist to suggest combinations from an existing wardrobe!

The Inventions Day also brought out the entrepreneurial skills of the Year 8s, as demonstrated by the presentation on windmills given by Susan Mnene, Michelle Ashitsa, Faiz Gillani and Mohammed Jafferjee. The group, like all the others, traced the history and development of the invention, and included a case study of William Kakambwa, a Kenyan school dropout who introduced the agricultural use of windmills to the local community. However, when it came to pitching their invention, the group began bidding at the ambitious price of £1,000 for a smaller, more efficient model of the windmill made with local material and labour. After a bout of fierce bargaining, the group conceded to sell their invention for £775, but not before securing an agreement from their investor for 10% of the profit made from their invention for an entire year!

The Inventions Day was also attended by the Year 4s, who were able to see a sample of the kind of presentations they will be giving when they start their business and entrepreneurship module next term. All in all, a very informative and collaborative day from the Year 8s, and we hope to see even more entrepreneurship and innovation on the next Inventions Day!