Sparking curiosity in science 

31 Jul 2023

Around 700 secondary students and members of the public recently visited the HKBU campus for the annual Science Festival, where they immersed themselves in hands-on activities, learnt about sustainable development and smart living, and explored the fun in science.

The Science Festival, which is a flagship event hosted by the Faculty of Science since 2006, has been promoting science in education and sparking the public’s interest and curiosity in science and technology. This year’s Festival featured a series of activities, including science workshops, laboratory tours, scientific demonstrations and talks, which were centred around the theme of “Go Smart Go Sustainable!”.

“This theme was chosen as sustainable development is an increasingly important issue for our planet, and we also would like to respond to the development of the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint 2.0,” says Professor Liu Jiming, Associate Vice-President (Research Development) and Dean of the Faculty of Science. “Through various activities at the Festival, participants can learn about sustainable practices and how they can make a positive impact on the environment.”

Inspiring young pioneers in science

Encouraging teenagers to explore science was another central goal of the Festival, with some of the activities specifically tailored for secondary school students. Through participating in hands-on activities which emphasised the fun in science, as well as interacting with scientists at the University, students can build an interest in scientific topics and gain a better understanding about working in the fields of science and technology.

In the “Wonder of Worms” demonstrations, participants learnt about the red worms used in vermicomposting to help recycle food scraps into a valuable soil amendment. Some got a lesson in modern agriculture in the workshop “Plants, Fish and Sustainable Development”, where they learnt about aquaponic systems and how modern agriculture promotes food safety and sustainable development. Others also got a chance to create their own chatbot and understand the applications of machine learning in “Building a Smart Chatbot Assistant”.

Exploring the fun in science

Throughout the day, guided tours through various scientific facilities on campus were arranged. At the 360-degree cinema in HKBU’s Visualisation Research Centre, visitors fully immersed themselves in a three-dimensional environment and engaged interactively with the visualised content. Meanwhile, participants of the tour to the Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic System learnt about the University’s in-house solar-powered electricity generating unit.

One of the highlights at the Festival was the “Green Campus Hunt”, a new competition to promote a smart environment and green culture. A total of 100 secondary students formed teams to complete various tasks, including joining a workshop, quiz challenges and a scavenger hunt. The competition provided students with a fun and engaging way to learn about science and sustainability, while also letting them know more about the University campus and its sustainable practices.

“The Festival provides a one-of-a-kind experience for participants to learn about sustainable practices and how they can be implemented in daily life,” Professor Liu says. “Besides engaging the community and promoting scientific literacy and curiosity, the event also helps demystify complex scientific concepts and make them more accessible to the general public.”