2018 was the fourth year for the Energy Innovation Challenge (EIC) coordinated and executed by the Institute of Engineers and Singapore Science Centre. This year I got to mentor two teams from the Institute of Education (ITE). The title for this year smart technologies and I was given two teams to mentor this year as well. One of the team that requires special attention is the team from Anglo Chinese Independent. The first thing the team told me when they met me was “I want to win”. This is the easiest types to coach for one simple reason. They are self-motivated and those whom are self-motivated just needs to be pointed in the right direction. That puts pressure on the mentor. I was very frank with my students that this is a competition and being a mentor for four years, I have seen impressive ideas from students from all levels (e.g. ITE, Poly, JCs and Universities). I told them to enjoy the process and compete to their best of their abilities. I would like to congratulate them again on winning the merit prize.
The topic for this year was smart technologies and the organizing team wanted to cast a wider net for students to work on rather than being completely focused on energy only innovations. The team I was mentoring came up with an innovative method to harness heat energy on top of solar energy and explaining to them the detailed science behind the heat transfer and energy conversion that happens (internally) took up much of the time we spent together to discuss the project. I was personally impressed that the students caught up on the concepts and made a prototype that worked.
At the end of the challenge, the group shared with me the experience and challenges.
This is my fourth year and I continue to be amazed with the quality of students we have every year at all levels. The standards go up every year. The energy and enthusiasm and the ability to grasp technicalities shows the impressive education standard of the country at all levels.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Kiat who graced the prize giving ceremony also shared with us on his insights on Singapore’s performance in science and maths (e.g. Pisa international benchmarking). In my view, all student who participated are winners as the experience gained from such national level competitions goes far beyond the monetary awards. We should continue to nurture our young to have strong interest and affinity towards science and math.
See u guys next year with a new team!