Rural Express: Hamptonians school GSAT students in science
Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
MALVERN, St Elizabeth:THE HAMPTON School in Malvern, St Elizabeth, has always had a history of giving back and maintaining a strong relationship with the community.
In keeping with this tradition, Hamptonians, accompanied by teachers, recently used their skills and knowledge to assist grade-six students at Bethlehem Primary and Infant School and the Munro Preparatory School to receive hands-on learning experience in science.
Over the course of two days, the students and teachers visited the schools with a mobile science laboratory - donated to Hampton by the Digicel Foundation - to teach and demonstrate scientific experiments as part of the science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum, focusing on several critical areas of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) science curriculum, to grade-six students who will sit the GSAT examinations in March 2015.
Head of the Science Department at Hampton, Sandra Bryan-Lord, said they had the outreach recognising the necessity to improve student access to the hands-on learning of science in primary [and preparatory] schools, and thus improve GSAT passes at the primary level.
She said a total of 99 grade-six students - 72 from the Bethlehem Primary and Infant School and 27 from Munro Preparatory School - benefited from experience.
"Site visits were first conducted at each of the primary-level schools prior to the commencement of the project to introduce the team from Hampton, to locate appropriate classrooms and identify the target [groups] for the project. To assess the impact of the project, questionnaires were distributed to the students to ascertain current attitudes to, and knowledge of, science as a part of the curriculum and as a potential career path for these students," Bryan-Lord said.
She said on the days of the outreach, a team from Hampton introduced topics covering the sense organs - the eye and the ear - hands-on use of microscopes, simple and complex machines and interactive computer simulations, immersing the students in a virtual learning environment.
"Each group of grade-six students was rotated through three rooms featuring a paper-rich (charts and handouts) environment with tools and scientific equipment for learning. Computer-assisted-learning was the feature of one room in particular where students were immersed in scientific principles on individual terminals. Another classroom focused on sight - featuring models, charts, handouts, audio-visual aids, LED and light microscopes with a [mobile science laboratory]. The third classroom focused on models of the ear, [using] charts, handouts, and utilising auditory learning tools through music and song.
"The day ended with the [issuing] of similar questionnaires [to the pre-project questionnaires] to the target group to assess how much of an impact the day's proceedings had on the students," she explained.
Bryan-Lord added that not only did the students benefit educationally, but that they also received Christmas packages courtesy of LASCO.
"To wrap up the day, the Hampton teachers and students issued Christmas packages, courtesy of LASCO, to the principals, staff and grade-six students of the schools. The grade-six students particularly enjoyed an afternoon visit by Heather Murray, principal of Hampton School, LASCO Principal of the Year 2014, who in fine style followed the tradition of Ole Story Time, regaling the students with stories and urging them to persevere in becoming the best at whatever career they chose in life," Bryan-Lord added.
She said an evaluation would be conducted to ascertain the impact of the project and determine its future viability. This evaluation, she said, would include the analysis of pre- and post-project questionnaires provided to the grade-six students, feedback from the educators at the target primary schools, an assessment of the performance of students from the target primary schools in the GSAT in March 2015, and feedback from the participating team from Hampton School.