The Ministry of Education has recently encouraged secondary schools to establish science clubs in order to encourage student’s participation and interest in science. However, in practice there is a lack of participatory methods in the classroom and teachers have limited resources to teach science and conduct extra activities for their students. As a result, students come across science as something academic and tough, with little opportunity to access it in an inspiring and enabling environment.
The 6-week science clubs provides regular opportunities for Vietnamese students, aged 11 – 14 years, to get involved with science and research at their schools. Through the clubs students develop their scientific thinking and understanding of scientific process, and also learn how to communicate findings through artistic engagement such as rap, dance and theatre.
With the goal of building sustainable school science engagement, we provide training to build capacity of teachers and young science enthusiasts. The resources and workbooks for the science clubs are developed through participatory workshops involving teachers, scientists and young science enthusiasts. We develop detailed club material that allows teachers and volunteers to organise the clubs by themselves, and to support the objective of rolling out the science club model across the country.
What we do
We facilitate a series of development workshops that involve participation of science teachers, young science enthusiasts (science engagement ambassadors) and scientists to design material packs for 6-week science projects. The packs cover an introduction to scientific process and then suggest simple experiments which can be carried out in the 6 week period. After the workshop conducted in January 2017, three material packs were developed about hydroponics, skin hygiene and fermentation.
6-week science projects
Students carry out their 6-week science project at schools under instruction of their science teachers and support of OUCRU’s science engagement ambassadors.
In weeks 1-2 students learn about the scientific process, research their chosen topic and develop a hypothesis. They then plan an experiment to test it. In weeks 3-5, students conduct experiments as well as record and analyse data. In week 6 they draw conclusions and present the results. Students also have opportunity to present findings to teachers, scientists and the ambassadors at completion of their project.
We work with local and international trainers to provide training that aims to increase capacity of teachers, students and ambassadors to carry out science clubs activities:
• Teachers and ambassadors: a 1.5-day training workshop to guide how to use the 6-week material packs. They are also trained in how to facilitate learning through questioning and constructive feedback.
• School students: We also provide a half-day training workshop on art based engagement methods to demonstrate how to use arts to disseminate their science project findings to a wider audience of school students.
Science performance by school students
Members of the science clubs are encouraged to use performing art as a tool to communicate their project findings to their friends and teachers. The students can work with the club members, science teachers and local artists to develop their art-based performances then they will show either at their schools or at local science fairs.
- 207 students from 13 secondary schools joined science clubs.
- 13 science clubs were established in 3 sites: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Tra Vinh.
- 3 material packs were developed.
- 2 training workshops were conducted for 16 science teachers and 20 mentors.
- 8 scientists, 28 science teachers and 26 science enthusiasts (university students and young graduates) participated in the project.
- Reports on the science clubs were published in 7 newspapers and on TV.