23 May 2023 | Story Kekeletso Takang | Photo Kekeletso Takang
Expo sparking a love for science education

Science becomes particularly intriguing when it is approached through hands-on experimentation. The beauty of it is that you do not need access to an expensive laboratory to engage in scientific exploration. With simple, affordable, everyday materials, one can demonstrate a multitude of captivating phenomena that not only spark interest but also explain powerful scientific concepts. This teaching approach is especially valuable when working with younger learners who require a tangible entry point into the world of science.

Recognising the significance of hands-on science education, the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State recently hosted a Science Demonstration Presentation Expo. The expo, held on 16 May 2023, saw second-year Intermediate Phase Natural Sciences student teachers take the stage to present and explain a range of captivating science demonstrations.

Held in the state-of-the-art Sci-Ed Science Education Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, the immersive space brimmed with captivating interactive demonstrations. Each group had a unique demonstration that effectively conveyed scientific principles. These ranged from groups organising a catapult-slinging competition demonstrating the conversion of elastic potential energy into kinetic energy, to a lemon battery illustrating the process of electrolysis. Onlookers were also fascinated by a student who dropped an egg into a bag of water without breaking it. Several students explained sound formation, transmission, volume and pitch alteration using things such as a tin-and-string telephone, a box and elastic guitar, and bottles of water. Visitors could also experience the mysteries of shadows in a darkroom. 

Dr Angela Stott, Lecturer in the UFS Faculty of Education, says the expo is just one of several collaborative endeavours between the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology Education, and the Science-for-the-Future unit. “Through these partnerships, we aim to provide students with a richer, immersive, and meaningful learning experience. By fostering a hands-on approach to science education and creating opportunities for interactive learning, we strive to ignite curiosity, deepen understanding, and inspire the next generation of science teachers so that they can inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.”

For more information on the programmes and other offerings and initiatives in the Faculty of Education, visit https://www.ufs.ac.za/edu.

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