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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on April 01, 2000 at 12:15:49:
THE STRAITS TIMES (Singapore) 29 March 00 Help, my teacher is a scaly reptile: Cold-blooded friends bring warm and fuzzy feelings (Jeremy Au Yong)
The students at Nanyang Primary School had a surprise recently.
Among the teachers and friends who assembled that morning were two slithery visitors -- a python and an iguana, to be exact.
No, the zoo is not sending its animals to get an education. The creatures were present as part of an education programme by Singapore Cable Vision (SCV) called Creative Classroom.
The programme, launched in October, is a $5-million plan to "make learning an adventure for every student", says Miss Vivien Chiong, SCV's senior manager of corporate communications.
Here is how it works. SCV chooses an educational theme every two months and launches competitions, exhibitions or school screenings based on that.
The current theme is Reptilian Encounter. Previous ones were Insects and Heroes Of The Century.
While the main feature of Insects was an exhibition at Bishan Community Centre and Heroes Of The Century revolved around an essay competition, Reptilian Encounter is a roadshow where primary school students get to meet two prominent members of this cold-blooded family.
So, Spike the iguana and Hercules the albino python, both from the Jurong Reptile Park, have been doing the rounds at the primary schools. For their pains, they have been greeted by anxious yet excited students at Nan Chiau Primary school, Nanyang Primary School and St Stephen's Primary School, among others.
The children had a hands-on experience while a keeper from the reptile park and a presenter from an edu-tainment group called the Kangaroo Creek Gang, answered questions.
The students took to the reptiles instantly. No one appeared squeamish when Hercules wrapped his 10-kg frame around them.
Colleen Cheong, 11, of Methodist Girls' School, said: "I like this programme very much and I hope to be a scientist when I grow up."
Such was the draw of Spike and Hercules that even those not scheduled to attend snuck peeks. Primary 6 student Deanna Yeo was not supposed to attend the display at Raffles Girls' Primary, since it was for Primary 3 and 5. That did not deter her.
She confessed: "My classes had ended and I saw the show from the back of the hall. I think it's very interesting to see live reptiles in my school and I hope SCV will include Primary 6 next time."
Miss Chiong said SCV plans to expand the number of sessions to meet demand.
Spike and Hercules had a break during the recent school holidays but are now back in school gain.
Further information about the programme and the reptile theme is on the Singapore Cable Vision website at http://www.scv.com.sg