April 6, 2017
Classrooms were packed to the hilt recently as families attended the Gubei Campus Science Fair evening to take part in some fun and fascinating science experiments. Primary and Secondary students and their families were treated to an impressive display of interactive demonstrations that showcased the strength of the YCIS science department, with classrooms playing host to different themes, including Chemistry, Biology, and Physics.
This year, the fair was organised by senior students, who created and planned out the various interactive science stations that fellow students, parents, and staff could participate in. Marianne Van Heerden, the Head of Sciences at the YCIS Gubei Campus shared, “We ask the students to come up with ideas of activities which they can run, and we then ask other students to assist us in setting up the activities.” More than 100 students from years 10 – 13 were involved in the organisation of the fair.
Occupying all of the classroom spaces in the Science wing and more, the Gubei Science Fair had each room arranged into themes. Some of the rooms explored the science of sensory perception and how catalysts can affect how people perceive things through sight and smell, with hands-on experiments for attendees to try. Other rooms were dedicated entirely to biology and anatomy. There, for some guests, shock gave way to excitement when attendees learned that they could blow through a straw that was ultimately inflating an actual animal lung! Adjacent to that station, senior students dressed in lab coats discussed the various sections of the brain with children and their parents or helped the attendees engage in an experiment to extract the DNA from pieces of fruit. In the Chemistry labs, students hosted stations which focused on how chemicals interact with each other to produce amazing reactions, from liquids slowly cascading into colour changes, to mixed elements which created gelatinous “slime” (a popular station with the Primary children who were able to create a cup of slime to take home). Other stations demonstrated how complex chemical interactions could produce thermite reactions of monumentally intense heat. Many of the families took particular interest in the ammonium dichromate “volcano” eruption!
Van Heerden noted that the aim of the event was to provide a fun learning experience for the greater YCIS community, saying, “Most of the visiting children were our Hongqiao Campus Primary students, and our Secondary students were fantastic at getting them involved in the hands-on activities. Every now and then you could hear an exclamation of wonder and amazement at the various stations. The enthusiasm with which the younger students tried the activities were remarkable.”
By far, the most inspiring part of the evening was seeing the Secondary students leading the experiments. They took ownership of the interactive components of each station and were noticeably competent in their ability to captivate audiences and convey complex scientific principles in basic terms. It was evident that not only were the participants having fun but that the Secondary students were, too. The secondary programme at YCIS is fielded by educators who have, on average, over 13 years of teaching experience. They are passionate about their subjects and teach to such a degree that students themselves can internalise and understand complex theories, to the point where they select their own projects to organise, manage, and present to others at activities such as the Science Fair. YCIS has consistently produced students who rank Top in World in various disciplines, including the coordinated sciences. To learn more about the outstanding Secondary Programme at YCIS, please click here.