Magical Look of DNA 15th November

Make your own Luminous light 16th November

Chemistry Quest 15th and 16th November

Overview of the Science Fair

Penang International Science Fair (PISF) is an event organized as part of the Penang Science Cluster’s (PSC) mission of “Inspiring Innovation”. PSC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to spark interest in science and technology.

PISF is an event that focuses on developing young minds and exposes them to science and engineering through a unique and stimulating innovative experience. The goal of PISF is to showcase the activities that Pillar Leaders of the PSC have been conducting whole year round with school students in Penang, and offer opportunities for others to participate in the hands-on science activities. PISF also showcases the high-tech products and expertise available in the industries in Penang and the science behind them. An estimated 50,000 people were expected to visit PISF on 15th and 16th November 2014.

Leave a Nest Malaysia was also invited to attend Penang International Science Fair. A team of 3 members from Tokyo office, including myself, Miss Nami Akinaga and Leave a Nest Malaysia president Miss Kihoko Tokue, landed in Penang on 14th of November 2014. Leave a Nest Singapore president Mr Andrew Gung also joined us there.

Our mission at this event was to introduce ourselves and let people of Penang know about our mission of advancing science and technology for global happiness. We wanted to let children of Penang experience hands on science in a very fun and interactive way of learning.

My first science workshops in Penang, Malaysia

I am a fresh intern at Leave a Nest Japan. I am a business and technology student in Australia. As a part of my degree I started my 6 month internship at Leave a Nest in October 2014. I choose this company because of their passion for science. I feel very fortunate to have been given an internship here.

Over the period of 2 days we ran a total of 4 workshops. Our workshops were of 3 different kinds. The first workshop was called Magical look of DNA. The purpose of this workshop was to introduce students to DNA which is the blueprint of all living things. Students also got a chance to extract and observe DNA from broccoli. The DNA extraction experiment was designed for the local students of Penang. It only involved use of household ingredients. This was done so students could perform the same experiment again at home with different fruits or vegetables. The 2nd workshop was called ‘make your own luminous light.’ This workshop introduced students to a unique kind of light made by only mixing chemicals without the involvement of heat or electricity. For both these workshops we also prepared worksheets for all children that included step by step experiment procedure and many more fun activities for them to do.

The remaining 2 workshops were based on a chemical bonding game called ‘chemistry quest’. This game allows children to experience a normal card game but at the same time learn about chemical structures and bonding. All parents and school teachers really liked the chemistry quest game and appreciated the mission of Leave a Nest Malaysia.

Step by step customized preparation from scratch

This was the first time I took on the role of a teaching assistant in a science workshop. All of us were excited yet a little worried. We had spent weeks preparing for these workshops. Some of the pre experiments had to be repeated multiple times in order to make sure they were functional however we were still concerned that the change of brands or environment might play a negative role. The workshop space provided to us was an open space in a Penang sports arena. There was a high chance that the noise in the arena will distract the children from the workshop therefore the workshop lectures were prepared with lots of pictures for the children to visualize the whole experiment process. We also prepared workshop booklet for each student.

Briefing volunteers to ensure smooth workshops for the event

Soon after we arrived, the first thing we did was to perform another set of pre experiments with the amazing group of local volunteers that were going to help us during both days of the workshop. This also helped our volunteers not only in understanding procedures of our experiments but also about how to interact with young students. Stimulating interaction with students is very important factor for Leave a Nest workshops. The volunteers were 2nd year students of USM Universiti Sains Malaysia, they were all very passionate about science and were excited to work with us for the next two days. Each group of 4 to 5 children is accompanied by a teaching assistant for keeping students engaged and communicating with them at their level like a friend.

Participating kids reminded us of how Science can bring smile to our faces

To our relief the students really liked all our workshops and almost all workshops we ran were full. Our confidence grew stronger after each workshop. It was amazing to see the kids getting involved in the experiments. The teaching assistants kept them engaged and made sure they remained excited till the end of the workshop. The excitement of the kids made me realize the importance of conducting such workshops because I could see and feel that this may very well be the reason for some of these kids to pursue a career in science. The feeling I got from attending this event was very rewarding. Such workshops conducted at larger scales can affect the interests of many children throughout a country and this is exactly the ambition of Leave a Nest Malaysia.

Attending PISF with Leave a Nest was a great experience for me. It allowed me to experience the great feeling of sharing knowledge with the younger generation. I learned the key requirements for conducting successful workshops, these included; hard work, time management, extensive preparation and quality checks.

(Written by: Syed Waleed Shah)


Internship student Shah explaining experimental procedure.