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Firefly for Syrians’ Applied Science Learning Programme

Firefly Syria’s students have had many years of interrupted, or simply no education, due to the war. As a result it is commonplace for Syrian refugee children to be at a learning level three or four years behind their age group, and many are even illiterate. Yet, they have high potential and want the opportunity to learn.

Firefly International is providing funding and resources to Firefly Syria, to help these children recover those lost years of learning with an education that is relevant to this generation, equipping them to rebuild their society in future years. The following are science courses designed by Syrian refugee teachers Firefly International supports at Firefly Syria. These teachers originally come from engineering backgrounds and offer a highly innovative approach to learning.

This programme is specifically targeting a vital educational gap in young Syrians. Working in small groups on specific tasks that encourage creative thinking and problem solving through three dimensional activity based learning, helps children gain confidence to engage with scientific theories. They learn to follow printed instructions, and are gently introduced into activities that improve literacy and numeracy skills.

Learning to follow visual instructions and problem solving

In the above picture for instance, one of Firefly Syria’s pupils uses our Level 1 Meccano Pack. The instructions are visual, and he is engaged in problem solving. This pupil will progress through this level acquiring an understanding of steerage mechanisms, the importance of accuracy and find himself using maths in a practical way. On top of this he will be introduced to the basics of reading and writing.

Applied Science Activities


These tailor made resources have been designed and produced by teachers in our Antakya centre.

Pictured above are our portable mechanics learning packs: Level 1 Basic Meccano: Level 2 Pulleys, Level 3 Gears, Level 4 Electronics and Meccano “Mecanonics”, and Level 5 Robotics Kits and Sensors “Mecanotics”.

These packs are used by the children. With each pack they are introduced to the scientific theories associated with them (mechanics, pulleys, understanding forces, balance, cogs, wheels, electronics and eventually robotics). They then make their own models using the packs in order to develop their creativity and put these ideas into practice. Often pupils are given open ended challenges and put together to work in teams, developing collaborative learning skills.


Learning steerage mechanisms level one pack

Pulleys level two pack

The above pictures show examples of models pupils have made. The picture on the left shows a pupil following instructions to create a model. The second picture is a design by a group of our pupils. They were asked to design something that could move a small box from the ground to above table height, and return it to precisely the same position. Out of that they designed a pulley system.

Our Learning Resources


These quality kits are highly portable and compact, enabling them to be distributed at all the locations where we are currently teaching: in Antakya, Turkey and eight centres inside Syria.

“The children love this way of learning. They make mistakes, and learn to think for themselves. They learn tools for life and learn to not be afraid to make mistakes. This will give them good employment opportunities as they will be able to correct mistakes in machines.” Firefly Science Teacher, Antakya

Children using our resources and learning in Northern Syria

Children using our resources and learning in Northern Syria  

Learning to use tools, Level 1 Meccano activity in Northern Syria

As one of our science teachers said, “the best way to teach is through play”. Through practical hands-on learning our children are engaging in a love of learning. As a result, the literacy and numeracy levels of the children we have worked with have improved dramatically.

Collaborative learning , making models, improving concentration and teamwork skills in Northern Syria

Firefly Syria is developing open ended minds, curiosity and problem solving, through our accelerated activities programme.

We could not have done any of this without the generous donations of our supporters.

For further information about our work with Syrian refugees please email Firefly’s project coordinator


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