Youth and Sports Portfolio for Australia and New Zealand
Each year, Camp Darwaz inspires the children of Australia and New Zealand. This year, the theme was Exploration. I was brought onto the content team, along with two others, and tasked with creating 4 activities for the four-day camp. We decided on splitting the camp into two sub-themes: exploration of the past and exploration of the future. I created two activities (for different age groups) around the idea of archaeology and two activities around the idea of space exploration.
I created an activity that allowed younger participants to piece together a story, using “artifacts” found in a dig site. Using illustrations from Northern India (curated by the Aga Khan Museum) I created small murals on wood slats, cut them into pieces, and hid them in patties of homemade sandstone. The participants would dig through the sandstone in order to find the pieces and try to understand what stories the murals are telling, just as archaeologists do with historical art.
For the older participants, I created a more “adventurous activity”: an escape room where the clues were hidden in historical artifacts. These artifacts included ancient Greek astronomy charts, Fatimid medical books, wooden sculptures, and old maps. The participants dug through an archaeological site to find the clues and try to piece them together.
Space Exploration Activities
The overarching story for this activity was that participants were assisting in building an Ismaili Center on Mars. The younger participants were tasked with getting the supplies into orbit, while the older participants had to safely get the supplies to the surface. After a basic lesson on aerodynamics and air pressure, participants created their own rockets, built around a plastic water bottle. The water bottles were then launched using a bike pump. The older participants used various craft supplies to build landing modules for eggs. It was the classic activity of preventing an egg from breaking, but we were fortunate enough to acquire a scissor lift to drop the eggs.
To add a layer of authenticity, I got my brother to play an astronaut in transmission videos from the space station. Because the participants don’t know my brother, they were excited by the prospect of working with an astronaut. I wrote the script for the videos and edited them as well.
For this activity, I also created a logo for our space program: Darwaz Astronomical Base (DAB). Of course, the participants at the time like the “dab” dance move, so this design worked on two levels.