LUMAJANG, EAST JAVA – It was simple but the presentation succeeded in giving a detailed explanation of the Cartesian diving balance and Archimedes Law. This was the result of the performance of two students with special needs, Salsabila Chitra and Wildari from SDN Bondoyudo 2 in Lumajang. These two fifth grade students performed a simple demonstration in a science class using a Cartesian diving balance which comprised a one liter plastic bottle in which there was a test tube and water. Both looked charming as they carried out their demonstration of this lesson at the Lumajang Education Office’s district showcase event on 17 February 2015.
Salsabila spoke very eloquently as she described the process of objects submerging, floating, and being buoyed up using a Cartesian diving balance. Meanwhile Wildari was putting her colleague’s explanation into practice. “When the bottle is pressed hard, the test tube will sink to the bottom of the water. When pressed moderately, the test tube will be in the middle of the bottle or it will float. Meanwhile, if the bottle is not being pressed, it results in the test tube floating. Sinking and floating occur due to changes in pressure in the bottle, because there is air in the test tube. This phenomenon demonstrates the Law of Archimedes,” explained Salsabila, while Wildari was giving the demonstration. The entire audience gave a round of applause after watching the presentation by these two special needs students.
Then, Salsabila and Wildari called on USAID PRIORITAS Chief of Party, Stuart Weston, who attended the showcase event. He was asked to come up onto the stage and demonstrate one of the theories of Archimedes Law. Stuart pressed firmly on the bottle making the test tube inside it sink.
“What is this phenomenon called, sir?” asked Salsabila.
“Oh, it’s called sinking, right,” replied Stuart and this was greeted with congratulations from both girls; “Very clever! Exactly right!”
Stuart was curious and asked them, “Why does it sink?” Salsabila smoothly explained that it happened because of the high pressure in the bottle. Her answer was correct and the audience gave her a round of applause. To close, Salsabila and Wildari handed the Cartesian diving balance bottle to Stuart as a gift.
As explained by Gatot Parasid Widodo, school principal of SDN Bondoyudo 2 Lumajang, it is not easy to teach special needs students, especially when their memory is not as good as students in general. “Topics need to be taught slowly, repeatedly, and practically,” he explained. Instilling confidence in special needs students also needs patience. However, Gatot and his teachers are tireless. They are trying to develop the confidence of the special needs students by inviting them to appear in public. Gatot’s hard work has brought results. SDN Bondoyudo 2 has been designated as one of the schools in Lumajang that receives special needs students and he has managed to build their confidence and increase their interest in improving their learning. (Dkd)