ASTI Feynman Challenge is a project designed during the COVID-19 Lockdown in 2020. We conducted this competition on-line for all communities which includes families, refugees, orphanages, etc. We believe that the learning process should never stop no matter what the circumstances. As Eric Hoffer “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exist”. Since the project was introduced as a pilot in 2020, there has been an overwhelmingly high level of engagement, with participants coming from different countries each year, including Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, India, and Singapore.

ASTI Feynman Challenge is an online challenge where the students should work as a team, minimum 2 person per team. The team is to invent something with a scientific principle that they have learn in school. The invention can use day to day objects they would find at home. For example, they can design a catapult with clips and rubber bands. The team must then video tape their explanation of the scientific concept with the invention they had developed. So in summary, the invention is basically a teaching tool. The student can also invent their own teaching method for AFC. Each video can be no more than 5 minutes long which is uploaded into a YouTube channel to be created by them. The video can be recorded using their mobile phones. We are not very concern with the quality of the videos as long as the voices are clear and the quality of the images are discernible. The content and their creativity carry the most marks.

 

The learning principle or pedagogy is based on the Feynman Technique. The Feynman Technique was developed by the Nobel prize winning Physicist Richard Feynman.  It can be summarised in 4 steps:

  1. Choose a concept you want to learn about
  2. Pretend you are teaching it to very young learners with no prior knowledge of the concept.
  3. Identify gaps in your explanation; go back to the source material, to better understand it
  4. Review and simplify.

 

In AFC, there is an added step between steps 1 and 2 which is; STEP 1.5. Invent the teaching tool or a teaching method to teach the concept.

There are 2 types of knowledge; knowing something and knowing the names of something. The Feynman technique focusses on learning to know something. It also says that the best way to learn a concept is to simplify and teach it.

 

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know that he thinks” 

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