Primary school scientists show off their work at the Science Centre

Mr Ng Yeow Meng Jackson (left) is mentor to Tiffany Lee Jing Yi from Bukit Panjang Primary School. -- ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR
Mr Ng Yeow Meng Jackson (left) is mentor to Tiffany Lee Jing Yi from Bukit Panjang Primary School. -- ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR
Oh Wen Xuan Florence, (left), of Bukit Panjang Primary School, with a caterpillar. Her mentor is Mr Ng Yeow Meng Jackson. -- ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR
Oh Wen Xuan Florence, (left), of Bukit Panjang Primary School, with a caterpillar. Her mentor is Mr Ng Yeow Meng Jackson. -- ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR

Clad in lab coats, 35 Primary Four and Five students presented their science projects to visitors at the Science Centre Singapore on Saturday.

It was the culmination of this year's Abbott Young Scientist Awards, in which students are mentored by Science Centre staff as they pursue experiments of their own.

These ranged from a model of a volcano eruption and collections of plant seeds to a leafy caterpillar habitat, complete with live inhabitants.

"I find caterpillars very cute. But my friends are quite disgusted by them," said 10-year-old Florence Oh.

The Primary Four student at Bukit Panjang Primary School had caught the caterpillars in the Science Centre's eco-garden and from plants around her home.

Her experiment aimed to find out if they preferred to eat in light or in darkness, and if they preferred some types of leaves.

Her mentor, education officer Jackson Ng, hopes to bring such experiments into school classrooms too. "It's more hands-on and interesting for the students," he said.

The Abbott Young Scientist programme, run by international healthcare firm Abbott and the Science Centre, is now in its second year.

Apart from working on their projects, participants also explore other aspects of science through hands-on activities such as making ice-cream.

For his project, Jurong West Primary School student Mohamad Afif Mohamad Satari, 11, used vinegar and baking soda to simulate a volcanic eruption.

It was a learning experience for the Primary 5 pupil's mother, too. "Before, I didn't know that when I bake cakes, there's this chemical reaction behind it," said 46-year-old housewife Madam Sarimah Ali.