Schools Challenge Project
Many of us might have watched reality programmes where aspiring youths are given apprenticeship opportunities or mentoring in order to develop networks and professional skills. While they were not on a television show, our students had a similar experience when they took part in the JP Morgan Schools Challenge.
The Schools Challenge takes aspiring Lower Secondary Geography students through a structured programme with the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), which focuses on developing their Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Design Innovation skills. A student-driven social project aimed at building a smart and sustainable Singapore was also assigned as a platform for them to apply the learning from the programme.
Our students, Ashley Chong Shi Jia, Chan Li Liying, Nampadath Vellapully Surabhi and Chen Jiong Wen from 2A, Ari Syukri Bin Hardi and Gomes Leon from class 2C and Cham Si Qi Charlene and Tara D/O Ahmad Ibrahim from class 2D spent close to two months’ worth of Saturdays engaged in workshops conducted by their mentors from JP Morgan and SUTD. During this time, they learnt about STEM concepts and how to do project management, business planning and pitching. As the project was on sustainability, the students were also able to bring in what they had learnt on the topic during their Geography lessons.
These skills helped them to think critically as they created a prototype of a sustainable model to enliven public spaces. As they worked on the project, they tapped on key design principles such as empathy, definition and ideation, refining their prototype so that it would best meet the needs of the public using these spaces. In addition to the actual project, the students also had to think of the best way to present their findings and conduct a successful elevator pitch to their mentors to market their prototype.
Although it was challenging to juggle the demands of the challenge with their studies and Co-Curricular Activities, the students took it in their stride, knowing that they were learning new skills, gaining the confidence to articulate their views and possibly contributing towards a more sustainable Singapore!
As testament to the students’ hard work, they have made it into the finals! (6 out of 21 schools). We wish them all the best in the next part of their challenge!
Watch the prototype and imagine yourself experiencing the students’ designs!