Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GEP science topic on electricity

You probably would have noticed that I post quite a bit on English and Maths, but nothing on Science and Chinese. The reason is simple: Kenneth and I divide the teaching subjects between us, so that we can maintain our sanity. Since Kenneth is a science graduate and took Higher Chinese in school, it was a natural division of labour - I teach English and Maths, he teaches Chinese and Science.

On paper, I passed Chinese at 'AO' level but in reality, I'm effectively monolingual. The irony is that my communications company offers Chinese translation as a service. Which means I have to engage only translators that I have complete trust in because for all I know, they could be translating, "Company XX sucks! It passes off rotten fish eyes as crab jelly!" and I wouldn't have a clue.

I also have no head for or interest in science, except perhaps in human biology. So you see, it's not that I'm biased against these two subjects - it's just that since they're not under my purview, I have no idea what my kids are learning for Chinese and Science. I don't even know what the syllabus is. (When I'm hands-off, I'm really hands-off!)

But my sense of fairness dictates that I should at least attempt to post something in this area, so I thought I'd give a glimpse into Lesley-Anne's GEP Science. GEP Science stresses a lot on practicum, which I think is great because it makes concepts come alive and is more fun than merely learning stuff from the book.

For p5, besides the regular pen-and-paper exams, their final mark for science takes into account daily work, two projects and one practical exam. As you can tell, it's pretty well-rounded. But I will state up front that I don't know how Science is taught and tested in the mainstream, so I have no idea if it's drastically different from GEP.

I won't post an exam paper here. I'm refraining from posting GEP exam papers of any kind because I know there are unscrupulous tutors out there who try to get their hands on these papers so they can charge their tutees for teaching at "GEP standard". Despicable.

But what I will share is one of the many hands-on, investigative lessons they do in class for GEP Science. This is one of the worksheets I took from Lesley-Anne's file this year. This was under the topic of Electricity and they did this exercise in groups of four. Each group was given the materials as stated in each question and asked to investigate. After they had completed the questions, the teacher went through the investigation with them and explained what the correct answers were and why. The groups who got it wrong the first time could then re-try the investigation, but this time with an understanding of how it's supposed to be done.

All answers provided below are the correct ones.

Hands-On With Batteries & Bulbs

1. "Moving electrons produce a magnetic field. The faster the electrons move, the stronger the magnetic field produced." Given 2 batteries, 1 30cm long aluminium foil strip and 1 compass, investigate to find out whether this statement is true or false. What happens when the electrons move in the opposite direction?

Observation: When one battery is used, the compass needle deflects a little. When 2 batteries are used, the compass needle deflects more. When the terminals of the batteries are reversed, the compass needle deflects in the opposite direction.

Explanation: The above statement is true. When an electric current flows through a wire, a magnetic field is formed around the wire. The compass needle is actually a magnet itself.

2. Set up the circuit as shown in the circuit diagram below. By using only 1 wire, investigate how you can make the lighted bulb go out without disturbing the set up.

(The wire drawn above the bulb is the part that was added.)

Explanation: Electrons take the path in a circuit where there is least resistance. When the wire is connected as shown above, a short circuit of minimum resistance is formed and the electrons now flow through the new path. No electrons flow through the light bulb now and so it goes off.

3. Given only 1 battery, 2 bulbs and 4 wires, how can you connect a circuit to light up both bulbs such that when one bulb fuses, the other bulb remains lighted up? Draw a circuit diagram to show your answer.

Again, I'm no scientist so the diagrams mean nothing to me and I've no idea if what is taught is normal for p5 standard or difficult. Hopefully what I've shared is more meaningful to some of you!


Anonymous said...

Get Kenneth to guest-blog lah.. :)

Hey, why don't someone start a tuition school purporting to teach a 'GEP-type' syllabus? Sure make money one!

Make sure you keep all of L-A's GEP materials. It may come in handy some day... :-)


monlim said...

I think already got such tuition centres... I suspect that's why at one point, teachers stopped allowing the kids to bring home their test papers - parents got to see the papers only at the meet-the-parents session and return immediately. Really sucked :(

Anonymous said...

Sciece is my elder gal favourite subject. You are so lucky to have your hb to share the 'duty'. I'm teaching her all by myself. I'm better in my Math & Chinese, but guess what.... these are her weaker subjects (worst is her Chinese...*shake head*)! She definitely takes after her dad.

The gal who top my elder gal's class this year, is attending "The Learning Lab" tuition center from Novena Sq. I heard it's a premier tuition center, cost is like $70 an hour per subject. The children will need to take an entry test to enrol into the center. Apparently they teaches those high level thinking questions.

monlim said...

Actually, I used to teach everything, including supervising piano work. But once Lesley-Anne got into GEP (101 projects) and Andre entered p1, it just got too much, so I forced Kenneth to "volunteer". Hey, parenting should be a shared responsibility, right?

Aiyoh, I think something is seriously wrong when smart students go for tuition and tuition centres start taking only smart students...

Lilian said...

Firstly, I find it hard to believe that Kenneth took Higher Chinese! I always thought he was the Chinese Camp type :)

Secondly, envy lah that you have Kenneth to help with the supervision. Neither Eddie and I know enough Mandarin to even help a Kindergartner. He's loads better in Science, though that's not saying very much. He doesn't do anything at all wrt the kids' education; work occupies his mind all the time, even weekends he's checking office emails or working on his computer.

So basically, Eddie's out of the picture when it comes to education. And I can't help in Chinese, Science plus now I realise my Math isn't exactly up to par either. English, no idea how to help! I don't know what we'd do if Brian were in Singapore in the GEP; probably sign up at a tuition centre!

monlim said...

Aiyah, why you so panicky? If Brian went to school here, I don't think he'll need any help! As it is, we don't do much with Lesley-Anne except set some assessments near exam time. Not like we actually do major revision with her.

Kenneth also must push one lah, have to keep reminding him, otherwise he'll just watch tv or surf the net. Men!

eunice said...

Monica, you are lucky Kenneth helps with Chinese and Science (both subjects at which I'm really bad at).Teck Heng comes from Chinese speaking family but his CHinese is even worse than mine and he can't read it!

Luckily, the work here is manageable and not really stressful for parents (notice I didn't say the kids).

I remember my brother came down once and it was Sean's assessment period and he asked me "you are not revising with him?" I actually had stop and wonder why I had to to that and realise that many Sin parents do revise with their kids. SOme even apply for leave to stucy with their children.

I am pretty hands-off for certain things. I just make sure he does his homework (I don't make sure it's perfect for the teacher cos I do want him to learn from mistakes and know it's OK to make them) and his Chinese tuition homework. Sometimes he does the Sin English workbooks (that's the kiasu mum in me) cos they don't really stress much on grammer and punctuation here, more on creativity.

monlim said...

Parents taking leave to study with kids, I know! For p1 orientation, the principal was addressing the parents and told us, "Don't need to take leave for your child's 2nd day of school onwards. Save your leave for exam period." She was dead serious!!

Anonymous said...

I think GEP tutors are indeed unscrupulous to play on the ks mindset of parents. as parents, if we remember giftedness is a blessing from God, then we cannot use money to buy blessing, or can we?? :)


Anonymous said...

Sorry to leave so much comments. A joke I need to share with you on such a tutor....

Read this:

If one can make an error post using his real name and then next using another name(supposedly a lady) immediately after to post and advertise for this guy, can you imagine how "gifted" he is as a teacher to coach the "gifted wannabes"? hahaha


monlim said...

QX: comments always welcome! Haha, that's really funny!! Does he actually think he's fooling anybody??? That's so dumb it's unbelievable :P

Anonymous said...

Hi qx

That tutor was mentioned here in this forum:


Anonymous said...

This same lady, meiling, posted another thread here,

saying that she sent her son for a year training for GEP.


Anonymous said...

Monica,thanks for your hospitality, it's like coming to yr hse often and leaving the 3M yellow stickers on yr door. haha. Between you and Lilian, you have enough readership to set up your own forum.. :)

MD, this so-called tutor is unbelievable like what Monica said. Sorry but with his kind of "intelligence" has no appeal to me. I would be very concerned if my child is in his hands. You know good teachers need no advertisement.

He breached the fundamentals about education and confirmed in my mind that "teaching" in Singapore is ONLY, not just MAINLY, about exam-smart. It's just like saying..."hey I am driving a car.."(sounds like improvement) but when you look carefully, you see legs underneath the car like flintstone days.. So have we really progressed in our education approach? :D

Anyway during my JC days..I had to sit for an entry test to get into a course I wanted. No one knew much about the test not to mention about preparing for the test (thank goodness this was school specific I supposed so no tuition was offered..) and we just went ahead to sit for it "fearlessly". And it turned out to be an IQ test!!! Are there tutors out there for IQ test? :P


monlim said...

This guy really has broken all the rules in education. No integrity and all about self-promotion. These are the types of teachers that give teaching a bad rep. I'm so disgusted.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the moderators noticed it pretty quickly and banned the fake account :). Good job!


Anonymous said...

OMG its so hard! im so terrified man... i gonna get this standard of paper next year! die die....

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