Archive for the ‘Teaching of Science and Mathematics’ Category

How maths can solve problems

Friday, April 28th, 2017
(File pix) Khadijah Aqilah Sallehuddin (third from left) enjoying her leisure time with colleagues
By Zulita Mustafa - April 26, 2017 @ 3:26pm

THE application of mathematics in the sciences, technology and engineering has become effective and powerful as the central concept of mathematical modelling.

This new discipline called Industrial Mathematics is also referred to as Applied Mathematics or Mathematical Modelling.

According to UTM Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (UTM-CIAM) director Professor Dr Zainal Abdul Aziz, it is called Maths in Industry in the United Kingdom, while in Japan, it is known as Maths for Industry. Here, it is agreed upon as Industrial Mathematics.

“All these are equivalent to one another, they only differ in name. Industrial mathematics is applicable for the industrial-related application for all kinds of problems relating to car suspension system or groundwater modelling, for example.”

Employment opportunities include data analyst, QC engineer, researchers, maths modeller, and data modeller. Employment areas include the public sector, financial industry,

automotive, manufacturing and industrial companies.

Malaysian Mathematics in Industry Study Group (MMISG) is a network of applied mathematicians,

operational researchers, statisticians and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) researchers across the country centred at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

This group has more than fifteen active collaborations with industry such as automotive, oil & gas, palm oil plantation, environmental management, as well as engineering and the sciences.

MMISG has been in operation for more than three years.

Zainal said the main focus of MMISG is to ensure that there is a good supply of individuals with mathematical skill sets as they are key to the development of industrial mathematics and also as innovation enabler for industry.

“There is a lack of understanding of this fact in both industry and academia, and it is extremely important for society that this gap is closed.

“An additional contribution to the gap between academia and industry is the lack of the importance of industrial mathematics in industry, which mainly occurred in the 1990s,” said Zainal.

A Career in Mathematics:

For Khadijah Aqilah Sallehuddin, 25, her decision to study Mathematics was the best choice she had ever made.

Currently working as a Data Analyst at Kozo Keikaku Engineering, an engineering consultant company, in Tokyo, Japan, Khadijah obtained her degree in BSc in Mathematics from UTM.

“When we talk about maths, it is not only about subtraction and division, but more to solving real world problems.

“What is unique about industrial maths that gets me so attached is the subject itself which is so peculiar but makes me understand things that can’t be defined by words.

“It is not only in the field of engineering and science, but it is also inside every picture, wave, or even music notes.

“Without even realising it, maths is part of our daily life, from the reasoning it can provide for the best time to wake up, to the amount of rice intake to make us full.

“And that makes me realise this is my path and I want to learn how I can apply maths in the real world,” explained Khadijah.

After getting her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia results, her father had asked her to apply for a degree in medicine.

She got accepted for a BSc in Mathematics (UTM) and a medical foundation at International Islamic University Malaysia.

by Zulita Mustafa.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/education/2017/04/234030/how-maths-can-solve-problems

Science for sustainability

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

People participating in the March for Science in Washington on Saturday. Scientists the world over have come out in full force to voice concerns over what is now developing into global politics which they claim does not augur well for the future. AP Photo

APRIL 22 marked an important day for science. We, at the Academy of Sciences Malay-sia, had our annual general meeting (AGN) that day. For scientists in Malaysia, especially fellows of the academy, the AGM is always an important occasion for the year. This is the time when we, which now number more than 300, elect the office bearers for the academy from the position of vice-president down to the ordinary council members.

Since the academy was first established about 21 years ago, the position of president has always been decided by the government. At this year’s AGM, there was a suggestion that it is time for the position of president to also be decided by votes from the fellows, as is normally practised by other science academies around the world. The AGM also provides the opportunity for fellows to share some of their concerns on issues related to science in the country. This time around, one issue discussed was on the declining popularity of our local science journals. This, unless adequately addressed, does not bode well for the future of science in the country.

We, as a nation, are not alone facing the many challenges of science. Low interest among students, low funding, low priority accorded and low appreciation in the usefulness of science are some of the main concerns. Lately, science has emerged as an agenda which has attracted world attention. Many countries face similar concerns including even the developed West. Even the United States, which many recognise as among the world leaders in the pursuit of science, is seen taking a back seat.

A recent budget of the US signalled possible drastic cuts in the support given to some of their science entities. It has been cited that agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, are expected to see serious cuts in their allocation.

Some research funding programmes have also been cut. Most affected will be those engaged in climate change research.

Apparently, the new US administration is sceptical about global warming and climate change. They say the claim by world scientists about the rise in global temperature is all a hoax. Or fake news, using the jargon that has become popular in the current administration. They say the climate change hypothesis is used by environmental groups to create public sympathy for their cause. Since the US is among the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emission, such policy retraction will be a serious setback in the global fight against climate change. That is not going to be welcome news for many low-lying islands around the world. With the expected rise in sea levels as a consequence of climate change, the population there will have to look for other land mass to live. Inadvertently, it will create another refugee problem for the world. In addition, those countries exposed to the regular landing of climate disasters, including hurricanes and typhoons, will experience not only the increasing frequency of such calamities, but also more extreme climate disasters.

The future of our earth is therefore under serious threat. It is no wonder that on this year’s Earth Day, we had scientists the world over have come out in full force to voice concerns over what is now developing into global politics which they claim does not augur well for the future. It has been reported that from the Washington Monument to Germany’s Brandenburg Gate and even to Greenland, scientists, students and research advocates rallied on Earth Day, conveying a global message about scientific freedom without political interference, the need for adequate spending to drive future breakthroughs and just the proven socio-economic value of science. For the first time, they came in numbers which many describe as quite astronomical.

by DR AHMAD IBRAHIM.

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/04/233917/science-sustainability

Linking STEM and the Quran

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

IN the Islamic education world today, there is much focus on the relation between Islam and science involving scientific interpretations of the Quran and the Sunnah.

This has given rise to initiatives to translate this into the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields with the aim of strengthening Quranic-based scientific knowledge among school students.

One such effort was carried out by a group of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), called the UPM STEM team, led by coordinator Dr Suriati Paiman and programme advisor Dr Nurul Huda Osman — both from the Faculty of Science.

The team developed a module based on the integration of STEM into an Ulul Albab programme by linking science with STEM fields and verses of the Quran as well as stories in the days of the Anbiya (prophets). The UPM STEM UA module was tried out during a Putra Science Exploration (PSE): Seeding Science Culture programme at Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Ulul Albab (UA) in Gemencheh, Negri Sembilan.

A total of 165 Form Four Tahfiz students took part in the programme which was facilitated by 37 members of the Faculty of Science Undergraduates’ Club (FASSA).

Suriati said UA students were in need of STEM activities that could associate them with the content of the Quran that they learn every day.

“For instance, materials such as iron, magnets, light, fire, and water and its properties are described clearly and in such detail in the Quran. Signs of the creation of human beings are also specified in the Quran and this was demonstrated by one of our researchers, Dr Mohd Noor Hisham Mohd Nadzir, in one of the programme activities,” she said.

MRSM Gemencheh principal Mohd Ghazi Samsudin commended the fact that students were given the chance to witness for themselves the beauty of STEM fields in their daily life.

Among the activities that caught their interests were a parachute designing challenge and water rockets which were made from waste materials.

“Students were also inspired to pursue tertiary education in higher learning institutions after interacting with the undergraduates who served as their facilitators during the mentor-mentee programme,” he said.

In the evening, forensic science activities were conducted.

“Interestingly in these slots, all students took part through a variety of scenarios in crime scene simulations. Before initiating an investigation, students were given preliminary information about the material evidence and techniques of forensic anthropology collected at the crime scene to help identify a person and determine if a crime has been committed,” said Suriati.

“The module assisted students to use scientific methods to gather, evaluate and test the evidence to determine whether their hypotheses about the crime is right. This helped them to identify the criminals,” she added.

MRSM student Iman Haziq Hairi said the PSE programme was able to open his eyes as well those of his friends’, in that learning science could be fun and interesting.

by DR SURIATI PAIMAN,

Read more @ http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/04/227460/linking-stem-and-quran

Pilot project to teach science effectively

Saturday, April 8th, 2017
Abang Johari (right) launching the STEM programme at SK Rakyat Haji Bolhassan in Kuching.

Abang Johari (right) launching the STEM programme at SK Rakyat Haji Bolhassan in Kuching.

KUCHING: Sarawak is introducing the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools to encourage interest in these subjects and prepare students for the digital era.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said STEM labs had been set up in six schools in a pilot project by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) this year.

“This will allow students to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

These are the four areas that should be given emphasis in terms of producing the right human capital to face the new era, in which technology is very important,” he said after launching the STEM lab and new hall at SK Rakyat Haji Bolhassan here yesterday.

Besides SK Rakyat, the other schools selected for the pilot project are SK Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Daud, SK Abang Abdul Rahman (Saratok), SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman, SMK St Joseph Kuching and SMK BM Saratok.

Abang Johari said the STEM programme was a state initiative on top of the national education policy in order to meet Sarawak’s education needs.

“We cannot rely wholly on the Federal Government. As far as Sarawak is concerned, we follow the national education policy and add on it.

“Where we see weaknesses, we will provide the solution. That means our children will be well-rounded,” he said.

He added that the state government had allocated RM750,000 for the six STEM labs this year, while another RM1mil for short courses in technical and vocational education.

Unimas vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi said the STEM programme would be expanded to more schools in the state next year, with a long-term target of having STEM labs in at least two schools in every state constituency.

“We do not have enough people in STEM at the tertiary level, so we want to create awareness from an early age,” he said.

Prof Kadim said 30 teachers from the initial six schools had undergone training at Unimas on how to use the labs to teach STEM subjects.

by SHARON LING
Read more @ http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2017/04/07/pilot-project-to-teach-science-effectively-state-targets-to-set-up-two-stem-labs-in-every-constituen/#OhqVlt61iGMjS4IM.99

Assimilation Of Science Fiction In Literature Helps Students Master Science

Friday, March 31st, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) –�The assimilation of science fiction genre in literature will not only attract students to read but will also serve as the new platform for students to master science and technology.

Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the assimilation of science fiction in literature was in line with the latest development in education.

“Science fiction gives a clear picture of the current education development of the country, which is aimed at ensuring the future generations are knowledgeable, smart and able to master various fields to achieve excellence in their lives.

“Today’s world is different from that about 30 years ago, past thinking may not be relevant to the world today…the world today needs higher thinking skills which combined creative innovations with digital technology,” he said.

He was speaking at the prize presentation and launching of the winning book of the 4th UTM-Kumpulan Utusan Science and Technology Fiction Novel Competition here today.

Mahdzir also praised Kumpulan Utusan and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) for organising the contest to promote local science fiction.

BERNAMA.

Read more @ http://education.bernama.com/index.php?sid=news_content&id=1342407

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