Kopi Chat Da Bao: Cultivate Children’s Interest in Life Sciences through Play
Education isn’t the most conventional area for most entrepreneurs to focus on, but it is precisely what Dr Yasaman Nemat, a PHD in Biomedical Engineering, chose. In line with International Women’s Day, we hosted Dr Yasaman Nemat, CEO of 42Lab, for our March edition of Kopi Chat Da Bao. 42Lab is a Singapore and Hong Kong based Biotech education startup that provides high-quality and affordable science education for children through engaging experiment kits.
Traditional teaching approaches used to subscribe to a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy. Now, more educators come to realise that every student has a different learning style, and research has shown that hands-on learning is uniquely positioned to support or elevate any type of learner. From our insightful session with Dr Yasaman, we summed up five reasons why there is a need to shift towards kinesthetic learning:
- It boosts creativity — The world increasingly demands individuals that are able to produce creative solutions to existing problems. Therefore, creativity is an essential soft skill that kids require to excel in tomorrow’s workforce. By engaging in the learning process with their hands, children are training their creativity by attaining knowledge through exploration instead of simply memorising answers.
- It cultivates critical thinking — While learning through experimenting might not turn every child into a scientist, the process of thinking, hypothesising, and testing can hone their critical thinking skills, an essential asset in the world of tomorrow where automation takes over most repetitive jobs. How well one thinks becomes an irreplaceable skill, and it is precisely what 42Lab wants to instill into students as they engage in such hands-on learning.
- It helps students to apply the knowledge they learned to their daily life — To learn about life sciences through texts makes it an abstract concept to students, and they are unable to utilise their knowledge. 42Lab provides experiment kits that both follows the school curriculum and are closely linked to everyday life. Through these experiments, students are able to attach the concepts that they learned in school to the problem that they have at hand in order to best understand how to apply these knowledge.
- It introduces children to the latest technologies — Dr Yasaman sharply pointed out that the science taught to children today are more or less similar to those that she learned while she was schooling. As an ever-evolving field, it is important that children keep up with the latest technologies. For example, a 42Lab experiment kit designed to teach about the detrimental environment effects of plastic also introduces students to its alternatives, such as the edible water bubbles that were recently invented. As such, students are exposed to the workings of new technologies while learning from their traditional syllabus.
- It is cross-disciplinary — Kids don’t just learn about the underlying sciences when they participate in these experiments. They also learn language as they communicate their observations, and math as they come up with their own formula or measurements. Hence, hands-on approach maximises learning efficiency.