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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Students take on real-world challenges in the National STEM Championship


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The broader scope of the NSC made for more uncertainty going into the competition, according to RI’s Francis Loh, 15. “But this made it all the more exciting, too,” he said.

“STEM provided so many more interesting elements and varieties of challenges, which made the competition much more fun,” agreed Kristen Yee, 15, from SNGS.

Besides studying up on STEM topics, all the teams made an effort to prepare for the different elements of the NSC. According to 15-year-old Glenda Lim of RGS, her team’s prior experience with hands-on experimentation and prototype-making provided them with a better foundation in the scientific process.

Still, there were some nervous moments as teams grappled to deal with the unexpected. RI’s Teo Kai Wen, 14, recounted how his team’s air-powered projectile only flew a few  centimetres during the qualifying round: “It was shocking and disappointing as the projectile flew much further during testing.”

Ong Rui Ting, 15, from SNGS, found the qualifying challenge tough, due to the limited time and materials supplied: “It stretched us a lot in terms of our design and creativity.”

Judge Rosa So Qi Yue, head of the Healthcare and Medtech Division at the Institute for Infocomm Research, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), acknowledged that “it was a steep learning curve” for some teams, especially during the Onsite Challenge – a key component of the NSC that saw teams visit STEM organisations.


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