Primary Social Studies Fieldwork in Children’s Localities and Beyond, pp. 8 of 10


Guiding Questions


Suggested Teaching Activities

Stage 1




60 mins

Revise main learning points in the MOE’s Primary 3 Social Studies text, “Mr HDB”

Discuss with class about the different types of public housing in Singapore using photographs

Review map reading, sketching and interviewing skills needed for the fieldwork and brief pupils on the fieldwork goals and safety rules

Stage 2

Fieldwork Introduction

  • Where is Tiong Bahru located?
  • What was Tiong Bahru in the past?

Tiong Bahru Plaza/

10 mins

Instruct class to locate the Tiong Bahru housing estate on the Singapore map in their activity booklets

Provide class with a brief history of Tiong Bahru

Station 1

  • What types of housing can be found at the station site?
  • Why is such housing built?
  • What are the facilities in the housing estate?
  • Why are the facilities provided?

Block 4B, Boon Tiong Road/

20 mins

Ask class to explore, observe, sketch and annotate the new HDB flats and the surroundings on their sketches

Explain the word "facility"

Ask pupils to list other HDB facilities available in the housing estate

Ask the class the reasons for the HDB flat design and the facilities in the housing estate

Station 2

  • What type of housing can presently be found at the site?
  • Why is such housing built?
  • What was housing like during the colonial period?
  • What were the impacts of fire on people?
  • How did the victims’ lives changed after they moved into the HDB housing?

Between Blocks 5 and 6 of Taman Bukit Ho Swee/

30 mins

Ask class to observe the flats at Station 2 and compare them with those at Station 1

Discuss with class why different types of flats are built

Ask class:

  • To compare the old housing in photographs provided by teacher with their observations of the present HDB housing
  • To act out the living conditions before and after the Bukit Ho Swee fire using freeze frame
  • To reflect on the main learning points at Stations 1 and 2

Station 3

  • Which aspect/s of Tiong Bahru’s public housing remain/s the same?
  • Why is SIT housing under conservation?


Block 23 and those along Lim Liak Road/

30 mins

Ask class:

  • To observe and sketch the features of SIT housing
  • To compare SIT housing and HDB housing and do a role play of the two types of housing and their distinct features

Discuss with class why HDB does not build housing like the SIT housing anymore and why the SIT housing is under conservation today

Ask class to reflect on the main learning points at Station 3

Station 4

  • What are the residents’ views about living in Tiong Bahru?

Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre near Seng Poh Road Area/

20 mins

Ask class:

  • To think of questions to ask the residents (selected by convenience sampling)
  • To interview the residents about living in Tiong Bahru
  • To draw conclusions regarding the general views of living in Tiong Bahru
  • To reflect on the main learning points at Station 4 

Fieldwork Conclusion


Grass patch between Blocks 23 and 24, Lim Liak Road/

10 mins

Ask class:

  • To draw annotated pictures of housing in Tiong Bahru in a timeline that show change and continuity
  • To reflect on the main takeaways from the fieldwork





55 mins

Recap the main learning points for the fieldwork

Instruct class to write a short proposal to Mr and Mrs Zhong regarding Tiong Bahru housing

Stage 4

Reflective Thinking/Extending Inquiry



5 mins

Ask class to suggest one other feature that makes Tiong Bahru special (different from other housing estates).

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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