For the past few decades, science and technology have played an important role in thrusting the world forward and building a better lifestyle for mankind. In this era, it is also no doubt that green technology is the key to solve the entire crisis that we and also the earth are facing now. Thus, having more talented scientists and engineers are crucial to save our sickened mother earth.
However, in Malaysia, number of future scientists and engineers might not fulfill the demand of the society. According to a report from News Strait Times ( June 13, 2016), Akademi Sains Malaysia’s Science and Technology Human Capital Report and Science Outlook 2015 estimated that the country would need at least 270,000 science students sitting the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination annually, but they numbered only about 90,000 now. It means that the number of students enrolled in STEM courses are dwindling year by year.
This scenario is distressing and might due to the wrong approach used by schools in teaching science. Over emphasis in As makes students study science subjects by just memorizing facts and this makes science so monotonous for many of our youngsters.
So, bearing the aim to implant the interest of science among the younger generation, IEEE USM SB had conducted an event named “IEEE Donation for Free Workshop”. This event was conducted in two stages. The first stage was to raise fund in USM Engineering Campus while the second was to conduct free workshop in orphanage.
From 13/3/2017 to 26/3/2017, donation boxes were being placed in office of every school in USM Engineering Campus. Also, lecture bash was being carried out to boost the amount of fund. Total fund raised during this period was RM100.40. Besides, IEEE USM SB had applied a grant of amount RM592.00 from IEEE Circuit And System (CAS) Malaysia Chapter to support this event. However, the amount of income was still not reach the budget needed. So, to make the event happens, committee members had tried their best to source the cheapest supplier for all the materials required.
Free workshop was being held on 15/4/2017 from 8.00am until 1.00pm at Rumah Permata Kasih, an orphanage at Prai, Penang. 13 members from IEEE USM SB had served as facilitators while 20 orphans age between 8 to 9 years old as participants got benefits from the workshop. The workshop was being conducted in 2 parts. The first part is Basic Electronic Workshop and the second part is Basic Science Workshop.
During the Basic Electronic Workshop, participants were first being briefed about the evolution of electronic, for example the size of modern electronic gadgets is becoming smaller compared to the traditional one. Then, participants were provided basic electronic components like breadboard, LEDs, battery, resistors and so on. With these components, participants were being taught about the basic concept of current flow by using water flow analogy. At the same time, they were also guided by facilitators on how to assemble a simple circuit which lights an LED up. Other than just building a simple circuit, participants were also being taught about the effect of increasing load or resistance to the circuit and assemble them one by one.
During the Basic Science Workshop, up to 7 interesting experiments had been carried out. They are Colour Changing Milk, Anti-Gravity Water, Reverse Arrow Illusion, Hologram Projector, Density Tower, Kaleidoscope and Fire on Hand (just demonstration). Participants were segregated into 5 groups. Before every experiment started, participants were briefed about the basic science concept involve in the experiment. For example, when doing the anti-gravity water experiment, the concept of pressure was first explained to participants. After the experiment was carried out by the participants, they were required to explain why the water retained in the cup. With this way, participants learnt how to apply what they have learnt in real life.
Due to the fascinating effect of all the experiments, participants engaged a lot in both workshops. Whenever they saw demonstration done by facilitators, they were amazed by the effect and couldn’t wait to do it on their own. Thus, both workshops were conducted in a fun manner with full engagement given by facilitators and participants.
After all the experiments were carried out, participants and facilitators had lunch together. The workshop ended at 1pm with a thankful speech given by the people in charge of Rumah Permata Kasih, Puan Aina.