I am a registered scientist for CSIRO's "Scientists and Mathematicians in School" (also known as STEM specialists) program since April 2017. The purpose of this volunteer program is as follows:
- arrange a class visit to your workplace or another science site
- give a presentation to a class of students
- help run a school science fair
- mentor students who are working on science projects
- answer students’ questions by email
- help a teacher run science activities with students
- provide support and information to teachers.
As part of this program, I closely work with local school to provide them guidance on matters related to science curriculum, working with school students on science projects, and arrange science demonstrations and activities to enhance the interest of school students in STEM subjects.
Below I summarise my activities arranged so far, and hopefully a lot more to come in the coming days!
A 2 hour session with the grade 8 and 9 students to introduce the working of electro-chemical cells. The session included hands-on experiment for the students to connect a very simple electro-chemical cell circuits by performing the following tasks:
- Insert a copper coin and a zinc galvanised nail inside a potato to act as two electrodes. Use multi-meter to measure voltage across potato through the two electrodes.
- Connect an LED with the electrodes and observe if the electro-chemical cell provides enough energy to turn the LED on.
- Connect several cells together and find out how many such cells are required to turn an LED on.
The students had great fun in learning about the working of electro-chemical cells and being able to prepare a circuit based on a very simple cell.
Attended an excellent event hosted by CSIRO at the Clayton Campus for all the STEM researchers and school teachers involved in their program. Some really nice ideas were exchanged to arrange activities for school kids to enhance their interest in the STEM areas. It would be an exciting 2018 year!
I arranged a short workshop on Scratch programming language for grade 8-10 school students. The workshop was spanned over two one hour sessions. In the first session, I demonstrated on how to build and use a Scratch program. More specifically I demonstrated the implementation of following tasks:
- Adding/removing a sprite
- Moving a sprite in different directions
- Attaching a sound with sprite
- Controlling multiple sprites simultaneously
- Controlling sprites from external events such as pressing a key or clicking a mouse
- Changing the costume of a sprite
At the end of this session, I assigned a project to each student to practice Scratch during the week.
In the second session, the students were asked to submit their progress on the project and discuss advanced features of the program.