Xjenza@Handaq: Entrepreneurship in Science
Have you ever lit up a bulb while you exercise, seen a dancing plant or a chemical clock? At Xjenza@Handaq you will see this …and much much more!
The secondary schools within St. Ignatius College were entrusted with the organisation of the ‘Enterpreneurship in Science’ project; a national initiative funded by the Entrepreneurship through Education Scheme 2013. The scheme, which is mainly intended to instil the growth and development of an entrepreneurial spirit through the education system, is a collaborative endeavour between the Maltese Ministry of Finance, the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses and the Ministry for Education and Employment. While promoting entrepreneurial skills, the ’Xjenza@Handaq. Entrepreneurship in Science’ project also aimed to stress science popularisation amongst Form 2 students (12-13 years old).
The two secondary schools within St. Ignatius College College embarked on a common project under the ‘Entrepreneurship through Education’ scheme in order to enhance their students’ entrepreneurial and management skills. Through this project, the team of students and teachers decided to focus on science popularisation in order to entice more Form 2 students from different schools to consider subjects related to Science and Technology through their subject choice. Groups of students, coordinated by their teachers, worked to develop this project and ultimately approximately one thousand Form 2 students from Gozo College, Maria Regina College, St. Nicholas College and St. Theresa College visited the two schools in order to participate in the activities titled ‘Xjenza@Handaq’. The visits were eventually spread from 10th till 17th March 2014.
During each visit, the students had the opportunity to follow a Science-Drama performance. Along the one hour show, the guests could observe a myriad of science-related explanations, science demos and experiments. Ultimately, the production wanted to send the message that ‘doing’ science is not just fun but is also a truly purposeful endeavour. As this drama presentation unfolded, students were engaged in the planning, implementation, marketing and evaluation phases. Through these different stages, students gained new insights into how these productions are set up and had the opportunity to develop various managerial skills. These students evaluated the resources already available at school and identified how the funds allocated for the drama production could be distributed. Different groups of students were also involved in designing/construction of various props, scenic items and costumes.
Guest students had the opportunity to visit the science laboratories at St Ignatius College Boys’ Secondary School where they participated in a great number of hands-on experiments and observed various demonstrations. Behind the scenes, a group of fifteen students coordinated by four teachers designed twenty hands-on activities/demonstrations in order to introduce visiting students to a great number of scientific concepts. Students were invited to beat the digital timer, light a bulb using their pedal power, watch how a chemical clock works, observe the Rubens’ tube and much more.
Finally, the participants were asked to visit the poster and model exhibition set up for this occasion at St. Ignatius College Girls’ Secondary School. Forty-three students from the five partner colleges participated in this poster exhibition.
In connection with this initiative, three entrepreneurs; Ms Sandra Zammit, founder and CEO of Smoochie Drinks, Mr Melvin Zammit. finalist in Google Science Fair, and Mr Charles Zahra, agricultural technician from Zahra farms, were invited to make a number of presentations in order to share their entrepreneurial experience with Form 2 students.
In the course of the project our students developed a number of experiments that were performed live during each science-drama presentation. Videos of these demonstrations can be viewed on the dedicated website.