SCIENCE SAFARI (Virtual) – 8th edition

Science Safari – previous events

Science Safari 2021 poster

Science Safari is one of the STEM popularisation events organised by the Science Centre, Pembroke (MALTA) within the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes (DLAP) Ministry for Education. It targets Year 8 students some weeks before they complete their subject choices for the next three years of their secondary education. This is another way of engaging students in a positive STEM experience.

Science Safari is basically a science-related treasure hunt in which students (in teams of three) are asked to solve a number of science-related tasks. Previous Science Safari were all outdoor events held on a Saturday morning. Parents and teachers accompanying students participate in a guided tour along the nature trail. In the meantime, students go over the whole area in search of their answers. 

Science Safari – past event
Science Safari is usually an outdoor team event

Science Safari 2021 – virtual event

Due to COVID-19, Science Safari 2021 was held virtually. 363 students (121 teams) coming from 28 different schools participated in the event. So winning the competition was surely no easy task! Interested students were registered by their teachers. Students received a number of warm-up activities during the days prior to the event. This ensured a smooth running on the day of the Science Safari as not all students were familiar with the TEAMS platform. Besides, this increased the students’ enthusiasm for the event.

Welcoming participating students

How did it go?

Participating students were divided into five different channels. At 9.30 am each channel was addressed by one member of the Science Centre and some minutes before 10.00 am all students were redirected into separate private rooms (in groups of three). Students worked from their separate homes and thus they had to use collaborative skills to solve their tasks. They had one hour fifteen minutes to submit their answers in writing or as photos. In the meantime, students had to use scientific knowledge to spot, identify and solve examples of science around them in the shortest time possible. Students had to coordinate their work as a team and, finally, only one student per team had to submit the answers. Science Safari was one way of putting a number of skills into practice such as applying scientific knowledge, IT skills, collaborative work and so on. Other family members were also on board in helping their children solving some of the questions.

Solving one of the tasks

Awards

Results were then published on Wednesday 28th April on the Facebook page of the Science Centre (see https://www.facebook.com/Science-Centre-Pembroke-Malta-191057714752778)

Awards to the winners

Each member of the first three winning teams received a Science kit sponsored by Science Centre, while HSBC Malta Foundation sponsored book prizes for the schools of the winners. Logistics were mainly co-ordinated by my colleague Noel Harmsworth (Education Officer, Science noel.harmsworth@ilearn.edu.mt).

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About mmuscat

Mario Muscat has been teaching Science and Biology for almost twenty years until being appointed as Education Officer for Science within the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes Ministry for Education (Malta). His special remit is science education within the first years of secondary education but works closely with other STEM colleagues within the Science Centre, Pembroke (Malta). During the last couple of years he was actively involved in and supported a number of science popularisation events organised by the Science Centre. Has been a member of the Ministries of Education - STEM Representatives Working Group within the European Schoolnet since 2016. Mario Muscat B.Ed (Hons), M.Ed (Science Education), Diploma Youth and Community Studies from the University of Malta.

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