| Universiti Putra Malaysia 

UPM exposes secondary students to world of science outside classroom

By: Masera Marian Mukhtar

TASEK GELUGOR – Some 27 students from the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), organized a Future: The Making (FTM2016) programme at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Kampung Selamat (SMKKS), Tasek Gelugor, Seberang Perai (U), Pulau Pinang, to expose students to the world of science outside the classroom recently.

Programme Advisor, Dr. Mustafa Awang Kechik said the three-day programme participated by 47 Form Four Science stream students of the school was aimed at instilling interest among them to better understand Science, particularly Physics and Mathematics.
"Students are exposed to the formation of characters, especially the nature of collaboration and the ability to communicate," he said.

Program director, Hazeem Ikhwan  Mazlan, meanwhile, said it was hoped that the programme could open up  the minds of students and improve their understanding on  theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom to be applied outside the classroom.

He said that the school administration, in particular its Senior Physics Teacher, Roshaida Yaacob wanted the students to participate in the programme to improve their mastery of Science and Mathematics.

FTM2016 facilitator, Siti Zafirah Abdul Rashid said she was pleased with students’ turnout and hoped that the faculty could continue with such programme in the future.

"The activities held for the programme could test students’ persistence and encourage them to think critically and out-of-the-box in resolving matters through  scientific thinking," she said.

Among the activities held were the 'BINGO!' Slot in Mathematics. Students were divided into several groups, with each group given a question to be solved within one minute and they must compete with each other in order to get the bingo first.

The activity required dexterity and critical thinking of students to answer mathematical questions correctly in a short time, hence instilling cooperation among group members.

In the Physics slot, The Tapak Kukuh activity was meant to test the spirit of cooperation among group members. They were required to build a site using only a rope, and the facilitators will provide items such as bottles to be placed on the site to test its strength. The group with the strongest site was given a mark by the facilitators.

The activity that attracted the interest of students was the Lava Lamp demonstration, that featured density between oil and water. The materials for Lava Lamp included oil, water, Alka-Seltzer tablet and food coloring.

The oil was placed on the water as its density is lower than water. When the Alka-Seltzer tablet was added on, the tablet will continue to fall into the water and dissolve, emanating gas, making Lava Lamp such an attraction with food coloring and brighter light.

The young scientists contest in the form of Science Explorace held with eight shrub stations between the slot, was the most liked activity among group members as they could see for themselves, explore and understand better the concept of Physics and Mathematics application which  occur in their daily lives.

For example, the Screw In Water activity required students to place the screw nut which is about 6cm long in the water that contained distilled water, ice cubes and salt.

The ice cubes from distilled water that were free from any substances, featured a freezing point of 0 degrees Celsius. When the salt was mixed into a bucket containing the cubes, it will lower the freezing point of ice (below 0ºC). This phenomenon is known as the freezing point depression, and scientific explanations were given by facilitators who took care of the shrub stations.

At the Geometry Puzzle shrub station of Science Explorace, students were required to compile the puzzle according to geometric shapes, and study those basic shapes such as round, square or polygon, pentagons and hexagons. - UPM