This Oakland Teen Started A Nonprofit to Introduce Youth to the Wonders of Science
Photo Credit: Instagram / @kitscubed
We could all learn a lesson on time management from one high school senior, Ahmed Muhammad. He finds time to juggle playing basketball, take college courses on top of his high school classes, and design science kits for his nonprofit.
According to Because of Them We Can (BOTWC), Muhammad launched Kits Cubed in March 2020 to provide kids with hands-on science experience. It was this very experience that was used in his college admissions essay and now he will be the first person in his family to attend college following his recent admission into Stanford University.
“It was a dream come true,” he said, according to CNN. “It still doesn’t feel real.”
The Oakland Technical senior says he drew inspiration from his kits while babysitting his niece and nephew. He says it was his nephew’s dislike for science that compelled him to start the nonprofit.
“He literally loved everything, and then when I brought up science, he doubted himself,” shared Muhammad. “He didn’t believe in himself anymore.”
He didn’t let his nephew’s disdain for science make him give up on creating science projects with him and his niece. Instead, Muhammad showed them how exciting science could be with the right instructor.
“We went to the store together and I had them pick out potatoes, and then I went to the hardware store to buy some copper nails, some galvanized nails, and some wire and we made a battery out of it,” revealed Muhammad.
It was this trip to the store that caused the light bulb to go off in Muhammad’s head following the pandemic shutdown in March — he would create science kits to help kids dealing with forced distance learning.
For Muhammad, his love of science came from hands-on experiments, something he knew kids in certain areas wouldn’t have access to with or without the pandemic closing schools.
“I want kids to know that science is all around us; it doesn’t need to be in a super fancy lab, with millions of dollars of equipment,” said the Oakland native. “It can be with a battery that you find in your smoke detector, or in the leaves of the trees outside, or in a potato.”
After consulting with his teachers, Muhammad was able to design kits geared toward elementary school students thanks to their guidance.
From there, Muhammad and his friend, Elias Berrick worked to not only create the kits at home but to spread the word throughout the community and via social media.
Following the launch, the two partnered with Seneca Family of Agencies, a nonprofit founded by Berrick’s father, Kenn Berrick, who also serves as the CEO. Thanks to Ken’s support, Muhmmad now has the resources and office space to grow his nonprofit.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to provide them with support,” Ken said in an interview with CNN. “They’ve done it on their own, and they’ve done an amazing job helping engage people in science.
For $15, you can get your hands on one of three different kits sold by Kits Cubed. Each kit has three experiments in it. The original experiment set comes with a plant maze, pop rocket, and kaleidoscope; the classic science bundle includes a rock candy experiment, a catapult, and instructions on how to make a potato battery; and last but not least, the electricity and magnetism kit comes with the steps to create an electromagnet, a telegraph, and an electric motor.
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To get Kits Cubed for a kid in your life, visit the site here.