Junior School students showcase their passion projects | Aga Khan Academies

Junior School students showcase their passion projects

10 May 2021

The Junior School at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa held a week-long exhibition for the students to showcase their passion projects which they have been working on since online learning began. The projects, aimed at developing independence and a sense of responsibility, encourage students to take an hour each week, ‘Genius Hour,’ to explore something they are interested in and would like to share with others. The exhibition featured beautiful art pieces, hand-made jewellery, recipe books, posters spreading awareness on environmental issues, and inventions made out of recyclable materials, to name a few. 

Faizaan Kassam, Year 3, focused his passion project on learning more about the planets in our solar system. "When researching, I found many interesting facts like Jupiter is the biggest planet and Mercury is the smallest, and that the hottest planet is Venus and the coldest is Neptune," Faizaan said. "My favorite part of the project was making a poster to show the different planets. To make the poster I used cardboard, manila, glue, scissors, paint, pastels, tape, and a paintbrush."

Year 4 student Alishba Virji made colorful hand-made bracelets for her passion project. “I used different color combinations like green and pink, or pink and purple for my bracelets,” Alishba said. “One challenge I faced was stringing the beads because if I dropped the bracelet by mistake the beads would fall out and I would have to start over. I was able to overcome this challenge with practice.” 

Harith Muses in Year 3, who is passionate about snorkelling, designed an informative poster with hand-drawn marine animals and well-written messages on why individuals should bring an end to water pollution. "I want people to learn not to throw nets and plastic into the sea because it is harmful to fish, sharks and other sea creatures that can eat them or get stuck in them,” said Harith. 

For some students, their passion project gave them the opportunity to pick up a new skill. Kanika Tahiliani in Year 4, pursued cooking and created a recipe book which she presented to her peers at the exhibition. “During online learning I was able to try different recipes at home and use my gas cooker and oven to cook and bake,” Kanika said. “At the exhibition, I displayed chocolate lava cupcakes that I made using one of the recipes in my book.” 

At the Academy, students are taught to think critically and creatively when working on projects. One student, Mikhail Samnani, used recyclable materials such as a coconut shell and a baobab fruit shell to make three environmentally friendly lamps, as a way to promote sustainability. “One day I visited a hotel and saw all kinds of lights and centerpieces made out of recycled materials. I thought they were very cool and I was inspired to make my own,” Mikhail said. “I plan on making many more eco-friendly lamps in the future.”

“As well as developing their creativity, the passion projects have enhanced the communication, time-management, organizational and research skills of each student. These skills and attributes are essential in the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and we have watched the students transfer these skills to our face-to-face schooling,” said Junior School Principal, Annia Dear. “We will continue to have our ‘Genius Hour’ time on Fridays for the students to further their projects, and we will have another exhibition before the end of the year.”