Taking Science Outside The Classroom

Written by A/Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Singapore

Many students when asked about their perception of science often associate it with “Formulae”, “Equations”, “Exams”, “Experiments”, “Chemistry / Biology / Physics”. Undoubtedly, many of you would have probably thought the same if you were asked the question. I lament the fact that the excitement that comes with science being fun is clearly missing in these responses.

We are, by nature, curious. From a young age, we begin to wonder and question how the world around us works. We discover some of these workings by accident or observation, and others, we are taught in school. We learn about new discoveries being made on the news and often we have the opportunity to carry out laboratory experiments in schools to find why something works the way it does. Yet, at the end of the day, the focus for many students lie on how many marks they receive on their end of year science examinations.

Science is more than just textbooks and exams. Our learning of science does not start and end in school; it is a process that can last a lifetime and is all around us, applicable to the most basic of tasks, like brushing one’s teeth in the morning. Learning science does not need to be dreary, as many students perceive it; science can be fun, rewarding, and entertaining if done right.

SSFWith that in mind, I invite you to come and discover how much fun science can be at this year’s Singapore Science Festival 2013, jointly organised by the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) and the Science Centre Singapore. Held over a period of two weeks, from July 19 to August 4, this year’s science festival promises a range of hands-on events that will show you how science works in a fun, entertaining way away from the typical classroom set-up. Here are some of the exciting highlights we have lined up this year:

The “Dancing Scientist” (19 July – 21 July)
22-year old Jeffrey Vinokur, famously known as the “Dancing Scientist” across the world, will be conducting a series of fun, hands-on science experiments for kids, students, and families at the three day science carnival, X-periment!

Megabugs (20 April – 18 August)
An attraction for visitors of all ages, Megabugs is a 4-month (April – August) long exhibition displaying an army of gigantic-sized insects. Just think what would happen if these insects were alive!

Singapore Mini Maker Faire (27 July – 28 July)
If you have always wanted to put on your ‘mad scientist’ goggles and invent something extraordinary, a good place to start looking for inspiration is at this showcase of do-it-yourself projects from local and international inventors.

STAR Lectures (29 July – 31 July)
Partnering with the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the STAR lectures will unveil the chemistry of the world around us by looking at the three basic elements found our planet and without which life is unsustainable – Air, Water, and Earth.

Living In The Ocean Sleepover Programme – Dolphin Tales Under The Stars (2 August – 3 August)
Learn more about dolphins, the way they live, behave, and communicate in this overnight event at the Dolphin Lagoon in Sentosa. You will also have the opportunity to encounter the pink dolphins up close.

I hope by attending the Singapore Science Festival this year, you will see how fun and enjoyable Science can be and you will continue your pursuit in discovering how the world works around us.

 

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