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STEM in Action, which supports selected schools with lectures   in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, has had to adapt its programme due to the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown. Having previously assisted those in grades 10, 11 and 12, it will be focusing only on physical science teaching for matric pupils. It is now recording its Boost summary series and the Boost experiment series at the Nelson Mandela University’s Missionvale laboratories. This is to support matric physical science pupils to prepare for their trial exams after lectures with pupils and educator empowerment sessions were halted due to the pandemic.

The summary and experiment series are expected to be distributed or collected in mid-August,  according to STEM in Action operations manager Tarin Roberts. “The lockdown affected us badly. We couldn’t transport pupils to our laboratories as we used to,” Roberts said. “Before the lockdown, we offered various support projects for the different schools. “We targeted schools that are close to us, some of those schools are Kwezi Lomso Comprehensive school, Pearson and Khumbulani High School. “We have schools from Motherwell and as far as Kirkwood. We have three laboratories that schools’ could book.” 
She said with a subject like physical science it needed to be practised. This meant schools that did not have laboratories were missing out. “The pupils before the lockdown would come with their educators, they’d have access to our equipment to conduct their experiments, log their data on our laptops which made it easier to grasp the data.” 
She said they checked via social media to see if teachers and pupils were coping during the lockdown through their Community of Science social media groups. They discovered matric pupils needed support to summarise the syllabus to be ready for their trial exams. “We are super excited about our massive project that we’re co-ordinating remotely with a team of nine people, with collaboration with the Ad hoc production translators and graphic designers. “Pupils don’t have data or they don’t have reception so we took the classroom to them; we’re recording the Boost summary series. “The series will show pupils how to tackle exam questions, we also have the Boost experiment series which will be a book of past exam questions and answers. “This will help pupils practice at home,” Roberts said. 
 According to Roberts they were in their second week of a three-week recording session for both series which are intended to be distributed or collected mid-August. She said the project was named a boost because they believed matrics could pass this year and they only needed a boost. The project is funded by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd.  STEM in Action member Clibert Mukasvanga, who has masters in organic chemistry, said it felt like a privilege to be in a position to be able to provide a service at a time where conventional learning was not happening.