Archive for the ‘Teaching of Science and Mathematics’ Category

Centre for science teaching, learning

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

THE establishment of Malaysia’s first National Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre will address the nation’s STEM issue.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said the centre is part of

the STEM Action plan which is being drafted jointly by the Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation, Education and Higher Education.

The centre will be established to address the lack of interest on STEM education in the country, which is strongly associated with how science and mathematics is taught in schools.

The centre will complement the Education Ministry’s existing training structure for teachers’ continuous professional development (CPD). It will focus on training for STEM teachers, and support STEM teaching and learning.

Recalling his visit last year to the United Kingdom’s STEM Learning Centre and Network, Madius believes that the model of the UK centre is a good reference for developing Malaysia’s very own.

“The centre in the UK was established specifically for teachers’ CPD training. It is well-equipped

with facilities, and supported by an independent governance structure to ensure its sustainability,” he said at the closing of the Workshop on the Establishment of the National STEM Centre held at the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), and co-organised with British Council Malaysia.

The three-day workshop was the first step towards the establishment of Malaysia’s own National STEM Centre.

Experts from the UK STEM Learning Centre shared their experiences and expertise in the workshop.The minister also noted the importance of inquiry-based science education (IBSE) as the way forward in teaching and learning of science and mathematics.

ASM conducted a pilot study for IBSE in 2012 and 2013, testing four primary schools in Hulu Langat which showed IBSE students performed better in UPSR 2014 compared to non-IBSE students.

“To ensure the teachers could deliver effectively, 60 hours mandatory training was required. “Establishing the National STEM Centre is essential for equipping teachers with appropriate and continuous training in IBSE,” he said.

He added that the STEM Action Plan is at its final stage and is scheduled to be presented at the National Science Council meeting in May.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/03/05/centre-for-science-teaching-learning/#SB8LUFsUujRy7gHD.99

Hot under the collar over HOTS Science

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Some students who obtained their Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) results are hot under the collar over the difficult HOTS (higher order thinking skills) questions in Science.

Several 15-year-olds from SMK Saujana Impian felt the questions had prevented them from scoring better grades to some extent.

Roosimin Kaliappan, who obtained 7A’s, 1B and 1C, said her teachers prepared them well by providing sample questions from previous years, but the questions they eventually had in the assessment were still difficult.

“We did not expect the Science paper to be filled mostly with HOTS questions. It was just tough,” she said.

Maryam Kamiliah Rahime, who scored 10A’s and a C for Science, shared Roosimin’s sentiments.

“The HOTS questions were very tough. I didn’t think it would be that difficult,” she said.

Maryam said although she was happy with her results, she was frustrated with the C.

Suriyah Ganesan, who had put in at least six hours a day during his revision, was not happy with his results.

“I got 6A’s, 2B’s and a D for Science. I’m not satisfied with my results as the HOTS questions were really hard. I’m disappointed.”

The students are the third batch to sit for the PT3, which was introduced in 2014.

HOTS questions were introduced when PT3 was first introduced.

A Science teacher said the paper was more difficult this year.

“The Examinations Syndicate prepared a list of rules on the type of answers that can and cannot be accepted. The marking process was also stricter compared to the previous year,” she said.

She said some of the questions in the paper were based on general knowledge, rather than the textbooks, which could affect the students’ final score.

She said all schools had different sets of HOTS questions and she could not divulge the questions in the paper.

But to give an example, she said the questions were along the line of showing pictures of “a tissue box, a needle and a brush” and asking the students to draw up a conclusion on what they could do with the items.

On his Facebook page, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid advised parents not to look merely at academic achievements, but the holistic development and potential of their children.

“PT3 is a holistic assessment of students based on continuous assessments by the school, which is responsible for the administration, marking of the examination scripts and the release of the results,” he said.

by SANDHYA MENON and LEE CHONGHUI.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/12/20/hot-under-the-collar-over-hots-science-thinking-skills-questions-unexpectedly-difficult-lament-pt3-s/

Hot under the collar over HOTS Science

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Some students who obtained their Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) results are hot under the collar over the difficult HOTS (higher order thinking skills) questions in Science.

Several 15-year-olds from SMK Saujana Impian felt the questions had prevented them from scoring better grades to some extent.

Roosimin Kaliappan, who obtained 7A’s, 1B and 1C, said her teachers prepared them well by providing sample questions from previous years, but the questions they eventually had in the assessment were still difficult.

“We did not expect the Science paper to be filled mostly with HOTS questions. It was just tough,” she said.

Maryam Kamiliah Rahime, who scored 10A’s and a C for Science, shared Roosimin’s sentiments.

“The HOTS questions were very tough. I didn’t think it would be that difficult,” she said.

Maryam said although she was happy with her results, she was frustrated with the C.

Suriyah Ganesan, who had put in at least six hours a day during his revision, was not happy with his results.

“I got 6A’s, 2B’s and a D for Science. I’m not satisfied with my results as the HOTS questions were really hard. I’m disappointed.”

The students are the third batch to sit for the PT3, which was introduced in 2014.

HOTS questions were introduced when PT3 was first introduced.

A Science teacher said the paper was more difficult this year.

“The Examinations Syndicate prepared a list of rules on the type of answers that can and cannot be accepted. The marking process was also stricter compared to the previous year,” she said.

She said some of the questions in the paper were based on general knowledge, rather than the textbooks, which could affect the students’ final score.

She said all schools had different sets of HOTS questions and she could not divulge the questions in the paper.

But to give an example, she said the questions were along the line of showing pictures of “a tissue box, a needle and a brush” and asking the students to draw up a conclusion on what they could do with the items.

On his Facebook page, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid advised parents not to look merely at academic achievements, but the holistic development and potential of their children.

“PT3 is a holistic assessment of students based on continuous assessments by the school, which is responsible for the administration, marking of the examination scripts and the release of the results,” he said.

by SANDHYA MENON and LEE CHONGHUI.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/12/20/hot-under-the-collar-over-hots-science-thinking-skills-questions-unexpectedly-difficult-lament-pt3-s/

Singapore tops in Maths and Science in global test

Sunday, December 11th, 2016
Primary 4 pupils and Secondary 2 students in the republic are the world’s best in both subjects, says the global benchmarking study. – ST/ANN

Primary 4 pupils and Secondary 2 students in the republic are the world’s best in both subjects, says the global benchmarking study. – ST/ANN

SINGAPORE students are the world’s best in Mathematics and Science, according to a global benchmarking study.

Primary 4 pupils and Secondary 2 students here topped both subjects in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), a widely recognised achievement test by policy-makers and educators worldwide.

Around 12,600 students in the island nation took part in the latest test which was conducted in October 2014.

Students across all schools – 179 primary schools and 167 secondary schools – as well as streams were included in the sample, said the Straits Times.

Primary 4 pupils achieved the highest mean score of 618 in Mathematics, with Hong Kong coming in second with a score of 615.

The same pupils also attained the highest score of 590 in science, ahead of South Korea which had 589.

Secondary 2 students who took the test were also ranked first with top scores of 621 and 597 for Mathematics and Science respectively, beating South Korea and Japan.

The results also showed improvements by Singapore students on various fronts from reasoning and application abilities to progress made by weaker students.

This is the second time that Singapore students outdid all other countries across all four categories in the study, which takes place every four years. The last time it did so was in 2003.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education said that the findings show that schools’ efforts to impart higher-order thinking skills to students and programmes that cater to their learning needs are bearing fruit.

The ministry said the test results also highlighted the progress made by academically weaker students. The proportion of students with the lowest score of below 400 was much smaller than the international average.

For example, in the Primary 4 Mathematics test, only 1% of Singapore students scored below 400. The international average was 7%.

The latest round of TIMSS by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement tested more than 582,000 students from 64 education systems.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/12/11/singapore-tops-in-maths-and-science-in-global-test/

Analysing Skills Help Draw Students To Science

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

News Pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 (Bernama) — Science educators in the country should use learning methods which emphasise analysing skills to attract students to the subject.

A Professor Emeritus at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman said the skill would instill in the student a sense of curiosity, thus encouraging them to study science.

Mazlan, who was formerly the Director in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna, Austria, said the study of science using analysis skills would open up the minds of the students to think analytically what they were studying and looking at.

“For instance, when a person is using a microphone, we want the students to think about how it functions and not just knowing its function.

“This method would give a new dimension and view of the Science subject which was previously considered boring and difficult to understand,” she told Bernama after attending the Mini Ekspo Planet & Sains program organised InfoLibNews Bernama at Wisma Bernama here today.

She said the field which includes such subjects as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics also had unlimited job opportunities.

“They can choose to get into careers connected to Science or others, as all the elements are needed and used in every job in the world,” she said.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1309679

Malaysian students show good improvement under Pisa

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian students have improved in Mathematics, Reading and Science under the Programme for Inter­national Student Assessment (Pisa) 2015.

According to results released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Malaysia scored 446 in Mathematics, 431 in Reading and 443 in Science in Pisa 2015. This was a marked improvement over Pisa 2012 where Malaysia was below the global average score.

Under Pisa 2012, Malaysia scored 421 in Mathematics, 398 in Reading and 420 in Science. In 2009, Malaysia scored 404 in Mathematics, 414 in Reading and 422 in Science.

Deputy education director-general Datuk Dr Amin Senin said the results achieved in Pisa 2015 survey showed that Malaysia was moving towards hitting the global average score of 490 in Mathematics and 493 in Reading and Science.

“We are on average, 50 marks from the global average in each domain. I am very pleased with the results and wish to congratulate all teachers, principals and students. Their commitment is commendable,” he told reporters following the release of the survey results at the ministry yesterday.

Pisa is administered by the OECD every three years on 15-year-olds in both OECD and non-OECD countries and offers students questions in the main language of instruction in their respective countries. Each round focuses on either Reading, Mathematics or Science.

For Pisa 2015, Dr Amin said 9,660 students from 230 schools were chosen at random to ensure a good representation. Malaysia was compared to 72 other countries.

Based on the survey results, he said more than 60% of the students who participated grasped the basic knowledge and skills of all three domains.

He attributed the improved results in Pisa 2015 to the implementation of the higher order thinking skills (HOTs).

by SANDHYA MENON.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/12/07/malaysian-students-show-good-improvement-under-pisa/

Prince Andrew pays a visit to Petrosains

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Britain's Prince Andrew (second from right) listening to a science exhibitor during a visit to the Malaysian science community at Petrosains in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. - AFP

Britain’s Prince Andrew (second from right) listening to a science exhibitor during a visit to the Malaysian science community at Petrosains in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. – AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: His Royal Highness The Duke of York Prince Andrew was at the Petrosains, KLCC for an engagement with the mainstays of the science and research community of the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund on Monday.

HRH was involved in a brief meeting with key Petronas and Petrosains personnel, where he was briefed on the two Malaysian science heavyweights on their contributions to the Science, Technology, Energy, and Mathematics (STEM) limb.

After a showcase tour put up by Newton-Ungku Omar funding partners, The Duke presented prizes to proud winners of the Dengue Tech Challenge 2016, an initiative between the UK and Malaysia to commercialise technological solutions to the pressing dengue issues.

by FATIMAH ZAINAL.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/06/27/prince-andrew-visit-to-petrosains/

Time allocated for science and maths enough: D-G

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The time allocated for science and mathematics teaching in school is more than enough for teachers to transmit knowledge and information to their students.

Education Director-General Datuk Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said the current Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) curriculum is based on three standards and no longer relies on content-heavy curriculum.

Khair was commenting on concerns voiced by parents and teachers who said the time allocated for Stem subjects in schools is too short and too little.

Some teachers said the two hours allotted should be added because it would take several minutes for them to bring all experiment equipment into the classrooms and set them up before they can start teaching.

“The important thing is, in the teaching sessions, there are contents, learning outcomes and assessment results.

That means, even though teachers do not have textbooks, do not have enough time, if they managed to fulfil all the three standards, then they can teach according to their own methods,” he said.

Comparing the old conventional way of teaching science-related subjects, Khair said the one size fits all apparently does not work across the board because the way students perceive an information or obtain a knowledge, is not the same.

Therefore, he said, it is better to encourage teachers to come up with their own innovative way of teaching Stem subjects according to themes or projects or problem-solving.

He said this means that teachers are not confined to teach according to topics and thus have to constraint themselves to follow allocated time-slots to teach.

“Sometimes, one lesson or project can produce two or three learning outcomes. Unlike the conventional way, when one lesson will produce only one learning outcome. Now, teachers can teach in one period and produce two, three or more learning outcomes.

“In terms of teaching, this is more efficient. It is not the question of whether we have enough time or not at all.

We can set a period of learning for two hours. But if they can finish the lesson in one hour, then they can proceed to another lesson,” he said.

After all, he said, some topics can be covered in a very short time and teachers do not have to wait for the next learning period to teach the next lessons.

Under this system, Khair said teachers do not have to be very sequential but conduct their classes using project-based and inquiry-based methods.

“This way, we can guarantee that there will be multiple learning outcomes in one teaching session,” he said.

Khair added that all teachers have been trained to come up with their own methods of teaching and it is up to them to deliver the information to the students, without being scrutinised by the ministry.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=109780

On STEM and its roots

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Science is important for our overall well-being, as established by our forefathers.

EARLY this year we woke up to the fact that our upper secondary school students were losing interest in science subjects. This fact is alarming because we are faced with a shortage of scientists and engineers in the near future.

Already there are various suggestions by academicians to make learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) more interesting.

Let us consider some of the factors leading to such a decline. While science enables our nation to grow in prosperity without growing in size, the ever-increasing astronomical cost in obtaining a degree is more than enough for prospective students to shy away.

Since the students are studying to fulfil the particular needs of society, it is important to make members of society aware that their crucial support, in all its aspects, is in fact their collective responsibility (fard kifayah).

Another factor is the weak grasp of scientific fundamentals resulting from poorly conceived and executed policies, which include learning science and mathematics in a language other than their mother tongue, as opposed to getting students to grasp concepts correctly.

Therefore, it goes without saying that when thought of as a magic bullet for achieving great things, but is then applied poorly, STEM loses its reason for being taught. Ulti­mately, this leaves us merely the consumer of science rather than its producer.

We are in need of a philosophical framework for science in order to keep us focused on the outcomes that we want. The philosophical question of why we require science and technology is as important as why we pursue them.

Some proponents of STEM assume its subjects to be the engine for economic growth and material prosperity. If that is so, then what about the other subjects such as economics, ethics and management?

Without them there would be mismanagement and misallocation of resources leading to economic stagnancy and material ruin. Therein lies the danger of knowledge compartmentalisation as opposed to seeing it in an integral whole.

But before it is impressed on us that only now do we realise science is important to our overall well-being, let us first be reminded that our forefathers had already planted the seeds of this idea and that our first universities were rooted upon this realisation. Hence, it is important for us to rediscover those roots.

While there is no denying that mastery of science and technology is important for economic prosperity, history has repeatedly shown that the pursuit of material wealth for its own sake is dangerous and destructive.

A lot of damage done to the environment stems from science and technology whose philosophical framework is the result of a secular worldview that treats the constituents of the world as unoriginated matter, and consequently Man is free to do whatever he likes.

Muslims’ response to STEM, which must be pursed in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, should include the realisation that they have a vast scientific tradition to draw upon, and this is where the history of science is important.

On the other hand, the religion of Islam is projected its worldview into their minds, giving rise to that tradition. Islam is based on true knowledge of the reality of things that brings true certainty.

This true knowledge can be obtained by the rational mind, a prerequisite to scientific thinking, and it informs of the salient points in the worldview of Islam, or the creed (aqidah) each Muslim must know in accordance with their own individual measure and capacity of understanding.

by MUHAMMAD HUSNI.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/ikim-views/2016/05/10/on-stem-and-its-roots-science-is-important-for-our-overall-wellbeing-as-established-by-our-forefathe/

A different approach to maths

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

The fun quotient: Taking a different approach to maths.

The fun quotient: Taking a different approach to maths.

The British International School has the formula that makes learning the subject fun.

ASK any student what their least favourite subject is, and chances are mathematics would be mentioned more than once.

However, the situation is different at the British International School (BIS) in Kuala Lumpur.

“Maths is one of my favourite subjects because it’s challenging and is really enjoyable and fulfilling once you solve it,” said BIS student Shan Li Leong, 11.

But this wasn’t always the case for Shan, who like many others, used to detest the subject.

“At my old school, they used difficult Chinese words and I didn’t understand anything,” she said.

BIS has incorporated a different approach which they claim makes learning maths fun!

Alternative: Brock suggests children who can’t solve a problem to take a break and then return to it later.

Alternative: Brock suggests children who can’t solve a problem to take a break and then return to it later.

“Most people in my generation was taught maths in a very factual, procedural way that made learning it very boring.

“It’s not taught to be understood but to be completed, and was designed to churn out adults who are incapable of thinking for themselves but who are very good at following instructions and procedures,” said Thomas Kimber, who teaches Year Six mathematics at BIS.

“But maths is a process and you have to understand the underlying concepts.

“It’s similar to teaching a musical instrument through writing music notes on a piece of paper.”

So Kimber, 31, shifted the focus from attaining the correct answer to understanding the process and journey of getting there.

“I teach my students to spot patterns and use logic to solve problems.

“We also do a lot of independent thinking and sharing in a group and work collaboratively as we feel it is important for the children not only to think mathematically but to communicate mathematically.

“And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been blown away by what my students had to say,” he added

More than counting: A different approach that makes learning maths fun.

More than counting: A different approach that makes learning maths fun.

The children’s workbooks are a testament to that, and are filled with as much writing as there are numbers. But the drawback to this teaching method is that it takes considerably more time than the traditional approach.

by OOI MAY SIM.

Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2016/04/24/a-different-approach-to-maths/