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Why are students finding the P6 Science syllabus difficult?
November 15, 2018
The primary 6 syllabus introduces a few new topics. Among the new topics, students struggle with giving good answers for environment, web of life, and adaptation. Many students and parents complain about the open ended type of questions that these topics like to ask in section B. How can our children be struggling with things related to nature, a topic which used to inspire students to take an interest in the Sciences?
There are around 8.7million species in the world. It is not possible for any student to memorize and answer all questions related to environment, web of life or adaptation. PSLE also likes to ask questions in a Singaporean context, which means that the animals and plants in Singapore are definitely involved in the test questions.
Unfortunately, due to modernization, our children today have less exposure to nature, save for the one or two school excursions to the Singapore Zoo or Bird Park. Our children today are now entertained by live streaming, Youtube stars, pop idols, multiplayer video games and even social media. Activities related to nature are simply too slow paced to catch their attention, compared to other loud and expressive forms of entertainment.
When I was in Primary School, there was a small enclosed forested space near my grandmother’s flat. I used to venture into that forested space, and I saw all sorts of flora and fauna there, from mushrooms and ferns to beetles and even giant centipedes. Internet was slow back then, and a dial up connection can be cut off during a rainy day. Most of our activities were offline and out in the world, where we could interact with nature.
Exposure to nature on a more frequent basis does assists in helping students take an interest in Science, or become more accustomed to applying their Science knowledge in their daily life. Facts and concepts in the textbook will not look foreign to them, and they will find it easier to absorb. Students will also be able to come up with better answers for open ended questions, or at least have the courage and some knowledge to attempt them.
For parents, guide your child into taking some time offline, and taking in the natural splendors of Singapore. Going to places such as Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Zoo, Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve, or the Night Safari can allow your child to reconnect with the world and the creatures that inhabit it. Guide them into borrowing amateur Science books on animals and plants from an early age. Even keeping small pets such as hamsters or ornamental fish, or volunteering at a pet shelter can encourage them to learn more about nature. If your child actively participates in such activities, you will find that it does not take too much pushing from your end for them to be a more confident and efficient learner in P6 Science.