New science lab for Lansdowne school

Pupils at Portia Primary School were excited to test out the equipment in their new science lab.

Pupils and teachers at Portia Primary School in Lansdowne are excited to start working in their new science learning centre, which was launched on Monday September 3.

The science learning centre was funded through a partnership between the Western Cape Education Department, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Garden Cities Archway Foundation.

This month the science labs will be launched at nine different schools in the Western Cape including Bridgeville Primary and Pelican Park Secondary School, bringing the total number of science learning centre’s at schools to 66.

Portia Primary principal Kevin Velensky, said the lab would ensure that pupils received hands-on learning as well as theory-based education.

He said previously science class had been held in a room with tables and a few apparatus but now they had a lab fitted with tables, chairs, basins, a data projector, an interactive smart board, and science equipment.

“There is lots of new equipment which pupils are excited to use. The consumables will be replenished through the partnership for the next two years, which will be of great help to the school as it is costly.

“We want the lab to be utilised by the entire school,” he said.

Grade 6 and 7 science teacher Marilyn Marr, who has been teaching the subject at the school for eight years, said the new science lab would provide pupils with the opportunity to be exposed to apparatus they would use in the field should they decide to follow a career in science.

She said pupils would also be able to engage with other schools about their science lessons through the interactive smart board.

“We have always used our classrooms for science experiments which is not always conducive. Our pupils love science and they cannot wait to work in the lab. This is a subject that needs hands-on contact with the apparatus.

“As a science teacher, having a room like this fitted with all this equipment and storage space is a real blessing,” she said.

The science lab will adequately prepare primary and high school pupils to take science as a subject at a university level as many students who apply for science-based faculties are not properly prepared and have no background knowledge of the subject, according to the director of the UWC’s Science Learning Centre, professor Shaheed Hartley.

He said the smart board would give pupils access to different apps and software available on the web and would allow them to virtually set up an experiment using the equipment on the smart board.

“We have to start with the basics in terms of supporting teachers to have the confidence to teach science with an advanced level of understanding, knowledge and skills. Similarly we have to be creative in providing learners with opportunities that will draw their interest and willingness to learn,” he said.