By: Rosmariny Rosli
KOTA KINABALU – In an effort to help enhance students’ understanding and Higher Order Thinking Skills (KBAT) in Science subject, the Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), took a proactive step by holding an Outreach Le Tour of Science at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, involving some 139 Form Two students, recently.
The programme was led by Faculty of Science Senior Lecturer, Dr. Yap Wing Fen, with the involvement of 24 graduates of Bachelor of Science Honours Major In Physics as facilitators.
Aimed at fostering interest and better understanding of Science, it was also to expose students to an interactive and practical concept of learning.
Dr. Yap said questions for Science subject in Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) previously focused on objective questions, thus enabling students to guess the answers correctly.
However, he said when Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 (PT3) was introduced and questions in Science subject were focused more on subjective questions that required students to think before answering, the latter faced problems, especially in answering KBAT questions that put their ability and thinking skills to test.
“Recognizing this problem, we are trying to assist secondary students by instilling in them deep interest and better understanding of Science. An approach that focuses on hands-on activities is prepared and students are given the opportunity to witness and experience for themselves as well as understand the Science concept in their daily lives,” he said.
According to him, among the slots that managed to draw the attention of participants were PokemonGo Science.. This explore race form of activity featured 12 stations (Pokestop Science) where experiments were provided, with the aim of giving participants the chance to see, understand and learn Science concept in their daily lives.
The CSI (Crime Science Investigation) agent activity also attracted the participants. Students were given an assignment to resolve a “murder” case as in CSI slot based on Science, including gathering the fingerprints, type of blood and other evidence. Their scientific creativity were obvious as could be seen through discussions and analysis of search for the suspect/s that were conducted in the murder case simulation.
Other activities that were held to help stimulate and instil creative and innovative thinking included Magic VS Science, World of Science and Eureka!.
UPM student, Athir Aiman Sahar described the organization of this program outside the classroom as being able to open up the minds of students and improve their understanding of the theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom.
"The activities made available throughout the program can help deepen students’ interests to explore and gain knowledge in the field of Science as well as enhancing their curiosity in Science-related field,” he added.
Head of Facilitators, Muhammad Zakwan Azizan, 21, said he was excited and fortunate to have been given the chance to become the facilitator where he was able to impart his knowledge to the students.
“I am able to help students to understand the Science concept correctly, thus in a way helping to stimulate their creative and innovative minds,” he said.
Science Teacher of MRSM Kota Kinabalu, Hafizul Hanis Mohd Shahar, who is also the programme coordinator, said the programme was able to instil better understanding of KBAT among students and this will help to boost their performance in PT3.
Participant, Viona Ezraviaeta Alferd, 14, said the program helped to boost students’ thinking skills and interests for Science subject and motivated them to learn something new, under the guidance of facilitators who conducted the experiments.
"I, particularly, like the slot of the murder case as this enables me to think out of the box, besides making me to be more creative,” she said.
Her friend, Rosemary Anne Fernando, 14, said her interest for Science subject had soared after being involved in the programme.
"Science makes us to be more creative, innovative and outstanding. I like this program and am getting excited to acquire as much knowledge as possible about Science,” she said. - UPM
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