Bt 14 rep: (From left) M. Mohanraj, G. Pavitra, V. Sathiyaseelan, R. Kavittra (all Year 5 pupils) conducting an experiment on magnetic fields on the earth.
The recent Science Fair for Young Children organised by the Tamil Foundation attracted the participation of 50 teams from 44 Tamil primary schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
Unlike the usual science fairs where pupils merely see science exhibits done by experts, pupils were given the chance to actually participate in the experiments and have a hands-on experience on how science works.
The science fair, held at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, displayed the experiments that the pupils had worked on for two months.
Science fair project director Ettikan Kandasamy Karuppiah said he had planned the event since Novem-ber last year.
The pupils were given a guideline on the 25 different types of experiments they could work on; the rest was left to their creativity.
“Those two months when they conducted their experiments were crucial that was when they learned most through trial and error,” he said Ettikan.
He said it was all right if the experiments the pupils worked on failed.
“Once you fail, you become more aware of your mistakes and you'll then keep trying and perfecting your work. We want to create this awareness that mistakes are all right as long as you learn from them.”
Tamil Foundation president K. Uthayasoorian said the science fair was also aimed at cultivating values such as thinking, leadership and teamwork.
What surprised Ettikan and Utha-yasoorian was that the rural students performed much better than the urban students.
“It could be because parents of urban students emphasise too much on exams such as UPSR,” Uthayasoorian said.
The pupils aged 11 to 12 years displayed their experiments and explained the workings of their projects to visitors who visited their booths.
All of them admitted they had encountered problems conducting the experiments but they all agreed that they learnt a lot and were eager to conduct more experiments such as these.
A teacher from the SJK (T) Serdang named Sarathambal, 38, whose students did an experiment on the velocity of liquid said it was a good experience for the pupils.
“They feel great when their experiments succeed and they begin to enjoy and love the experiments they do,” she said.
Teacher RA. Pathamanathan from SJKT Jenjarum also agrees that the Science Fair was good for the students.
“As long as they have this exposure, they will then be able to realise that they can truly be doctors, scientists or chemists.”