Ownership of Innovation and Social Citizenship in Science Experiential Learning
Principal Supervisors

Professor Thomas K.K. Au
(Department of Mathematics)


1 year and 8 months

Approved Budget

HK $600,000

  • Abstract
  • Brief write-up


This project encourages science students of all disciplines to collaboratively design and formulate their scientific tasks; with a goal of contributing to a certain target of the society. Each team of students will go through the following phases of the project:

  • Planning and Preparation Phase: Each team will largely independently design and prepare a scientific event or scientific activities on their own choice for their chosen target recipients. The development process includes multiple learning opportunities within and beyond science. The possible event or activities can be as simple as teaching high school students to do an experiment; creating a virtual mini-lesson on a topic, putting up a small science exhibition; or as complicated as staging a science play, a cosmic ray concert!

  • Implementation Phase: Teams will carry out their designed event or activities to the target recipients. In this phase, students may go out and serve the community, or run an event on or beyond campus, or launch their virtual project. Some teams will be carrying out their work in an overseas trip.

  • Overseas Mentoring Trip: This is a special type of Implementation, also as an incentive. A few teams, with relevant outreach objective and well planned work, will be given the chance of implementing their designs in an overseas trip, to act as mentors for a group of very brilliant science high school students. The trip includes visits to a number of cutting edge scientific research facilities such as SLAC, CERN, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.

  • Reflection Phase: Each team will need to participate in this reflection phase of sharing their key learning and impressive experience in the project.

Brief write-up

Project objectives

By encouraging student teams to design and operate sub-projects, using their subject knowledge, for a specific service target, this project aims at building student ownership for their learning due to the student-driven and student-centered process. It also hopes to cultivate their innovative ideas, motivate students to contribute with an enterprising spirit. The sub-projects run by students may also bring forth knowledge transfer and public understanding of sciences.

Activities, process and outcomes

At this project level, the activities and process include
  • Promotion of the project to teachers and students of Science Faculty
  • Receive, review, and approve sub-project proposals
  • Assist the sub-project development and other administrative support
  • Assess the reports of the sub-projects
    The outcomes are four completed and one ongoing sub-projects, student planning ability, organization skills, team work, communication and presentation. Each of which has its own activities and process
  • In a student team, come up with an idea of using their knowledge to serve others
  • Write a proposal and implementation plan, prepare a budget including needs of material and human resources
  • After the proposal is approved, prepare for the work and actually implementation
  • Write a report, including reflection and sharing

Deliverables and evaluation

The sub-projects are the deliverables and each has its own outcome. Not only were sub-projects operated, there are proposals and reflection. Moreover, guidance teachers also gained experiences in leading students to work independently. Typically, the sub-projects are outreaching activities, including classes and discussion groups, small exhibition, laboratory demonstration, field trip, and even overseas experiential trip. Serving targets range from primary or secondary school students, to undergraduates and general public. Some sub-projects have their own evaluation. The sub-project reports are evaluated by the project co-supervisors, based on their reflection.

Dissemination, diffusion, impact and sharing of good practices

The sub-projects and the student sharing will be hosted on a website. Depending on the availability of student teams, there may be a communication session among them. The impact may not be as expected because students are still not familiar with such idea of owning their learning. Moreover, the sub-projects run by them are also not comparable to those run by experienced people. A number of student teams learned by mistakes, while some actually found reasonable improvisation and rectification.