FIRST-time competitor, SMK (P) Temenggong Ibrahim beat 1,450 students from 31 schools in Batu Pahat district to win first place in the inaugural CCM STEM UP Challenge 2018.
The competition aims to nurture secondary school students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and shape them to become future innovators of Malaysia.
SMK (P) Temenggong Ibrahim teacher Bahiah Akil was overjoyed after her school was crowned champion in the inaugural challenge.
“The results came as a total surprise. We did not expect to take the top spot as this was our first time joining a science competition,” said Bahiah who teaches Biology at the school.
She added that the students worked hard and went through intensive preparation for the competition.
“The students ran a number of experiments and data collection related to STEM and together with the Physics teacher, Puan Norhayati Salamon, we discussed and came up with the idea of developing a mini vacuum cleaner for children.
“Children do not like to do housework. The mini vacuum cleaner encourages them to assist their parents with household chores in a fun way,” she said.
The students, she added, completed the science project a week before the competition and practised their presentation before pitching it to the judges. “Overall, it was a challenging competition as the quizzes were quite tough and we faced fierce rivalry from the other schools but I am so proud of our students’ accomplishment,” she said.
The champion team consisted of Stella Pui Hui Min, Ng Wan Li and Lim Jin Qian.
Stella said she prepared for the competition by going through revisions books on Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Additional Mathematics. She also took part in online quizzes.
“We went through various rounds and categories as a team before I was chosen as one of the top three finalists to represent my school with two teammates in the grand finale,” said Stella, who hopes to become an accountant.
SMK (P) Temenggong Ibrahim won a RM5,000 cash prize, a 3D printer, medals, backpacks and certificates of achievement.
The challenge was organised by Chemical Company of Malaysia Berhad (CCMB) in partnership with the Academy of Sciences Malaysia. It was opened to students in Forms Four and Five in the science stream or their schools’ science club in the Batu Pahat district.
CCMB Group Managing Director Nik Fazila Nik Mohamed Shihabuddin said that nurturing students’ creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills is crucial in the unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution, which emphasises science and technology to reshape the way people live and work.
“The advent of science and technology has changed our way of life in many ways.
“Through STEM, industries such as the chemical and polymer industries that CCMB operates in, have introduced innovative products and formulation through extensive research and interactive approach.
“The challenge not only boosts students’ interest in STEM but also creates an inquisitive mind, eye for detail and strong analytical skills,” she said.
Nik Fazila thanked the Academy of Sciences Malaysia and members of the Young Scientists Network for their support and contribution in making the challenge a success.
Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Prof Dr Yang Farina Abdul Aziz commended CCMB’s efforts to get students excited about learning STEM through the challenge.
“As a body entrusted to inspire interest in science, technology and innovation, the Academy is committed to conducting various STEM initiatives as one platform to nurture the interest among school students,” she said.
SMK Tinggi Batu Pahat won second place while SMK Dato Seth took third place. The Most Outstanding Science Project was awarded to SMK Seri Gading for its Water Cleaning Project.