Singapore’s longest-standing toy-making competition for primary school students sees record 5,070 toy entries


Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, delivering his speech at SCSA 2014 Award Ceremony

Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, delivering his speech at SCSA 2014 Award Ceremony

The 17th Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) ended on a high note today with a record 5,070 entries from 6,000 primary school students, who challenged themselves to use scientific concepts and create innovative toys. This represents a 19% increase from 2013’s entries.

Behind some of these toys are innovative and inquisitive young minds like the sister-brother team Zena and Zackary Bek, and Sophia Tan who clinched the top prizes for the ScizKid and Whizkid categories respectively. Scizkid category, comprising two age groups – Primary 1 & 2 and Primary 3-6 – allows students to create toys that demonstrate at least one scientific principle. The theme for this year’s WhizKid category was “Twist-Turn-Tumble!”, and children aged 7 to 12 years old used their imagination and skills to create a toy that twists, turns or tumbles when played with.

The Bek siblings designed the Hungry Spider, which challenges players to manoeuvre a marble through holes on a gameboard by manipulating two strings. This simple yet unique design incorporates scientific principles such as stored potential energy and gravity. Sophia Tan’s Space Ball demonstrates the concepts of magnetic force and gravitational potential energy. This is a single or multi-player game in which players score points by shooting balls and landing them successfully on a planet or the sun.

Awards were presented by Guest-of-Honour Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth at the Award Presentation Ceremony this morning.

Mr Sam Tan learning more about Sophia Tan's Space Ball

Mr Sam Tan learning more about Sophia Tan’s Space Ball

A/Prof Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre Singapore said, “Since 1998, SCSA has acquainted thousands of children with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the fun of toy-making. For many Primary 1 and 2 students, SCSA has also provided an introduction to science, before formal science education begins in Primary 3. Beyond encouraging a love for science, these fun activities also inculcate values such as perseverance, and a spirit of inquiry and experimentation. Competitions and collaborations like these further Science Centre Singapore’s efforts to promote love, interest and creative learning in STEM.”

Mr Jiro Aikawa, Head of Regional Governance & Accounting Group of Sony Electronics Asia Pacific added, “At Sony, we believe that science has a great and important impact on the future of our world, the same future that our children will live in. This is why we have organised SCSA in Singapore for 17 years, to engage our future generation on a platform that showcases the very best of their creativity and innovation through STEM.”

“Friends of SCSA” and Diamond Award Recipients recognised for supporting SCSA

Besides awarding young makers of the most creative toys, organisers also presented the “Friends of SCSA” award to 21 schools in recognition of their commitment to science through the successful completion of three consecutive SCSA (Schools) annual competitions from 2012 to 2014.

SCSA (Schools) was first introduced in 2005 to encourage greater school involvement and to allow more students to explore science through toy-making. This year, 43 schools participated in SCSA (Schools).

Winners of ScizKids (P3-6) - Pei Chun Public School's Zena Bek (P6) and Zackary Bek (P3) - with Mr Sam Tan and principal Mdm Ler Jia Luen

Winners of ScizKids (P3-6) – Pei Chun Public School’s Zena Bek (P6) and Zackary Bek (P3) – with Mr Sam Tan and principal Mdm Ler Jia Luen

Principal of Greenridge Primary School, Mr Chua Choon Hock said, “SCSA provides a platform for pupils to tinker with Science. During the toy creation process, students shuttle between making the toy, understanding why the toy worked or failed, and testing how Science concepts they have learnt can be applied in fun and exciting ways. This process of experimenting and learning about scientific principles allows children to learn in self-directed and collaborative ways. At the same time, they become little Scientists or Inventors. When our students showcased their toys at school in April, fellow pupils became excited and we hope that they too become motivated to learn and discover more about Science. We are just beginning in this Science Maker movement!”

This year, five teachers from Bukit Panjang Primary School, Global Indian International School (Queenstown), Pei Chun Public School, Yew Tee Primary School and Yishun Primary School, also received the Diamond Award for their efforts in inspiring their students to excel in SCSA and science.

Miss Yong Hui Wen, Teacher, Yishun Primary School said, “I am very happy to receive the Diamond Award, and have enjoyed encouraging my students to learn more about science through SCSA. SCSA provides planned activities that are interactive and stimulates pupils’ thinking. In addition to encouraging creative thinking during toy design, SCSA provides a fun platform for learning science.”

Sony Creative Science Award is an annual competition, jointly organised by the Science Centre Singapore and Sony Group of Companies in Singapore, with the support of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Ministry of Education.

The Ana Shell Media Press is very pleased to be supporting events like the SCSA. Inspiring a sense of wonder and playfulness into science education is the first step on the path to creating the scientists of tomorrow – and they will be needed more than ever if we are to overcome the many challenges that face us, including climate change, food production for a growing population, and responding to natural disasters.

The SCSA does this perfectly by encouraging children to think about science while still having the opportunity to play – this fulfils the dual functions of education and creativity, both of which are vitally necessary to crafting well-balanced young people. We look forward to reporting on and contributing to similar events in the future – and, most importantly, we wish all the competition winners the very best and look forward to seeing what bright ideas they come up with next!

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