Pearl Chan (S4S) and Gavin Wong (S2M)
Pearl Chan (S4S)
Through the STEM-related activities held during the week of 6th – 10th January 2020, many students like me were able to learn how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) applied to every part of our daily lives. These four seemingly different subjects are actually closely related. During the week, I read the STEM career posters, attended the MTR talk and last but not least participated in the STEM challenge, which is one of the many House competitions organised by the school.
The MTR talk was my favourite program. Many interesting facts were shared during the talk. For example, I had always thought that the construction of a building was from bottom to top, but learnt that when there were slopes, building the middle layer first and subsequently building both upwards and downwards at the same time offered more efficiency. The speakers also pointed out that the curved shape of the pillars seen in some MTR stations was not just for aesthetic purposes but also served to support a heavy arching roof, a design concept inspired by tree trunks in nature. We realised that in designing a building, aesthetics is not the only consideration but many engineering and scientific concepts are put in place to ensure its stability and most importantly, to promote sustainability and green living for the future.
These takeaways were put to use when I participated in the Tallest Building Challenge, in which students from the four houses competed to build the tallest structure out of wooden sticks. My team decided to use triangles, an inspiration from the Paris Eiffel Tower, for a visually appealing design which can maximise stability at the same time as we build up. When we slowly increased the height, we realised that the building was leaning towards one side, so our team decided to use one long toothpick (one of the material provided) and connect it in a slanted form from the middle of the structure to the table in order to give support to the tower like the curved support column in the West Kowloon MTR station. The team also adjusted the centre of gravity of the building to prevent it from toppling.
The STEM week has triggered my interest in architecture as I find it fascinating to learn about how buildings are supported. The design of the building is taken into consideration when planning for the support needed eg curved or straight poles. This is crucial to ensure the safety of the people in the buildings. Through the STEM challenge, my team faced various problems which required us to troubleshoot on the spot. From there, I appreciated that problem solving and the ability to create and improvise when things did not go as planned was a key life skill. This skill is essential in any job. All in all, the STEM week activities gave me good exposure to the application of STEM knowledge in real life and beyond just knowledge of STEM, they provided me the opportunity to have hands-on experience of some STEM skills.
Gavin Wong (S2M)
From fun-filled activities to a large variety of engaging exhibits, organizing and participating in STEM Week is definitely one of my most memorable experiences.
I chose to volunteer in organising the STEM Week thisi year because I have always been fascinated by this field of study, and I was excited to share my interest in STEM with all my fellow schoolmates. Participating in last year’s STEM Week was also a lot of fun, so I wanted to be more involved this year.
With the main theme of this year’s STEM Week being Engineering, organising activities surrounding this theme has really broadened my understanding of this field. Before being involved in the STEM Week activities, it never occurred to me that there were so many different professions within Engineering. Researching and designing posters about Engineering has allowed me to explore the many related careers, ranging from Civil Engineering to Aeronautical and Biochemical Engineering. They play different yet equally crucial roles in our society.
STEM skills are essential in so many different occupations and this has stimulated my interest to pursue a career in this field. Moreover, the game stalls encouraged everyone to use critical thinking to solve real-life problems, and apply their knowledge beyond the classroom, and integrate them into our daily lives. For example, the coding challenges allowed us to use our ICT and Computer Science knowledge to program a robot, and the engineering challenges challenged us to use our Physics and Math knowledge to build the tallest building out of wooden sticks and to construct a car that is powered by the gushing air from a balloon. These engaging activities inspired all of us to get more involved in the world of STEM.
Organizing the STEM Week has made me realize how STEM is inter-woven into many aspects of our daily lives. It is important for us to strengthen our STEM knowledge and skills and integrate them into everything we do. Overall, it was a rewarding experience for me as a participant, and as an organiser, seeing my fellow schoolmates participate eagerly in our activities was satisfying. I hope everyone enjoyed the STEM Week this year, and continue to explore the mysterious world of STEM!