Teaching STEM To Future Engineers

BY Azfar Hashim

STEM workshops challenge students to build vehicles of the future

Some 240 junior engineers designed their very own land speeder prototypes in the name of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In the midst of determining how their futuristic vehicles would best glide across challenging magnetic terrains, these 13 and 14-year olds grappled with advanced concepts such as magnetism, sensor technology, electronics and mechanical engineering, and vector forces.

The enrichment program was creatively coordinated by Central Singapore Community Development Council in partnership with Caltex Singapore. This marks the second outing of the Fuel Your School-STEM @ Central Singapore (FYS) programme aimed at spurring lower secondary school students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

According to Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District, STEM-related skills are important in ensuring that our future generation and workforce stay relevant. With competing interest in the area of humanities in recent years, it is thus necessary to encourage the study and pursuit of STEM subjects among the younger generation.

“Central Singapore CDC recognises the importance of equipping our youth with the relevant skills to receive a well-rounded education and succeed on a global stage. We are excited to partner Caltex for the second year to help plant this important seed through the Fuel Your School-STEM @ Central Singapore programme and we hope to see more youths pursuing STEM-related fields of study,” she added.

A first-of-its-kind here, the programme’s novel syllabus was specially tailored, with the land speeder concept introduced to help students explore areas of STEM in a fresh and more relatable manner. Through a series of carefully curated learning journeys and hands-on activities, students bridged textbook classroom knowledge with real-world applications.

And now, here is how members of the public can help sustain these students' interest: Empowered by their newly acquired knowledge, teams of five were challenged to get creative and apply critical thinking in the construction of their vehicle. Graded by creativity of thought, application, and overall vehicular stability, teams placed their respective land speeders to the challenge on a custom-built magnetic terrain, and posted photos and a video presentation of this performance to the CDC’s Facebook page for the public’s vote. The craft with the most “Likes” will win up to $3,000 in cash prizes for their school’s development of STEM- related learning activities.