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An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching Practical Skills at IMU Laboratory

15 Aug 2016

Good practical sessions provide students with the opportunity to materialise the theoretical knowledge obtained in their classes, in addition to fostering the development of practical skills. Practical sessions provide the students with first-hand experience to explore methods used by chemists and biologists in their respective disciplines. These experiences stir the students’ interest to venture into the world of science.   FiS 2 25 and 26 July 2016 – The September 2015 intake of IMU’s Foundation in Science (FIS) students organised Chemistry and Biology practical sessions for 28 high school participants from Dignity for Children Foundation (DFC). This project is a task fulfilment of Cross Boundary Studies (CBS), one of the modules offered in the final semester of Foundation in Science, IMU. Organising a practical session has its own challenges and opportunities which differs from those obtained from a standard classroom. Through this project, FIS students learnt the basic procedures of writing lab manuals, creating worksheets to reinforce DFC participants’ understanding and carrying out trial runs of the experiments they have written. Furthermore, what better way is there to hone leadership skills if not through guiding others? FiS students facilitated and guided the participants during the practical sessions, offering guidance. By organising practical sessions the FIS students obtained valuable opportunities to reinforce their existing skills, such as collaborative work, project management skills and problem-solving competences. It is also provided a scaffold for the FIS students to learn how to work safely in a lab and to apply critical thinking when new situations emerge.

Fis Dennis FiS student from Indonesia, Dennis, said, “I learnt to be responsible and to be able to work with my team. I enjoyed being able to teach the DFC students and their expressions gave me the satisfaction for the hard work that I had been going through for this project.”   

Likewise, towards the end of the 3-hour practical session, the participants from DFC also gained the knowledge to analyse data, to interpret data, to record and report procedures and tabulate the results correctly and professionally.

Umar 16 years old Muhammad Umar expressed, “It was a privilege for me to witness the different chemical reactions while conducting the chemistry experiment and to observe the animal and plant cell through a microscope.”  
Muhammad Ishak, a 15 year old student from DFC said that he enjoyed every experiment that he conducted. He was enthralled at how the plant cell looked like. He added that although the knowledge seems basic, it actually helped him and motivated him to learn science. Ishak  
Ashleigh  An excited 17 year- old Ashleigh commented, “It was an awesome experience to be given a chance to participate in this practical session. Normally in Biology, we only see these cells in textbooks, but now, I got to know it and see it under the microscope!”  

IMU CARES Cross Boundary Studies is a ‘home grown’ module which teaches the Foundation in Science students’ creative problem solving skills. In collaboration with IMU Cares, students are given a project or task to carry out, integrating the 6 steps of creative problem solving skills. From this project, students learnt event organising, implementation of project, team working, communication skills, and honing of their leadership skills. These soft skills are necessary to prepare the Foundation in Science students for their tertiary studies in IMU.


Related article: High School Students Learnt Practical Skills at IMU Laboratory

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