FSE Day Camp inspires teenagers' interest in science

Karen Lai

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What does a summer break mean to highschoolers? For some 280 students in Forms 4 to 6 who participated in the Faculty of Science and Engineering  Summer Day Camp, 9-12 August, it is a chance to enter CityU’s state-of-the-art laboratories and experience what learning at a university is like. 
 

“I couldn’t imagine that electronic engineering covers so many facets of science, and that it is such a creative field. I am happy that I now can design and assemble a metal detector,” said a participant who has been promoted to Form 4 and chosen Science as her study stream.


“I didn’t know we could use methylene blue to test milk quality and I really enjoyed experimenting with it,” commented another student. Other fun experiments at the Day Camp include ICQ network security, the wonders of optical fiber, hypoxia and ecosystems, testing microorganism growth, and protein content in milk powders.

 

“Secondary school students have queries when they are at the crossroads of choosing their study majors,” said Professor K M Luk, Head of the Department of Electronic Engineering (EE), in his welcoming message. “Through the Summer Day Camp, we hope students find out more about the future of their disciplines.” Professor Luk pointed out that our society not only needs logistics and tourism, but “we need young talent committed to improving our living standards by developing high-end electronic and scientific products."


Scientific investigation, experimentation, and problem-solving 

“Aiming to instill curiosity in students, we adopt the investigative approach in conducting lab experiments. Participants can learn how to observe, record and present their findings systematically,” said Professor Lilian Vrijmoed, Acting Head of the Department of Biology and Chemistry (BCH). “This is not about giving them cutting edge scientific knowledge, but through fun experiments, students can develop and search their own bank of knowledge and discover solutions to problems themselves.” Prof Vrijmoed commented that nowadays people place little emphasis on research and development in biochemistry and eco-science. “Understanding eco-science is important and closely related to daily life. We hope students will develop an intrinsic motivation to study these subjects.”

Entering its third year, the Camp has been well-received by secondary school teachers and students.  This year, the EE joined hands with the BCH to expand the activity from a half-day workshop to a four-day Camp, including: thirteen special topics; lab tours; fun experiments; experience sharing with Student Ambassadors; and talks on “How to Learn Effectively” and “Goal Setting and Action Planning” by EE and BCH professors, and staff from Student Development Services (SDS).

Dr Henry Chung, EE Associate Professor and Camp Coordinator, said that all the experiments were specially designed to impress

upon students the applicability of the subjects. For example, in response to the possible spread of Dengue Fever this summer, the EE devised an experiment in which students could acquire an understanding of electric waves through assembling an electric bug killer. He also stressed that academic staff worked closely with student mentors to organize the Camp this year. "The Camp is a good opportunity for our undergraduates and research students to interact with academic staff and junior Form participants," he said.  He also thanked the FSE, SDS, and all participating staff and students for helping to make the Camp a great success.

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