On June the 4th the teams competing in the BIEA International STEM Youth Innovation Competition submitted their video presentations.
Among the many teams submitting very imaginative projects is Chester International School from the UK. Chester International operates a paperless educational approach. All teaching activities are carried out on the student’s laptops and they are equipped with 3-D printers. This encourages enquiry and innovation in STEM disciplines and the BIEA competition is very much something Chester would compete in. The whole team was involved in the project from the beginning and the young woman member concentrated on referencing information regarding the Red Wolf whilst the young men concentrated on the design and construction of the UAV, both cross referencing and liaising where necessary. The team also referenced experts on 3-D technology and design before submitting their project. The BIEA competition was also designed to encourage team ethos and cooperative endeavour which, according to Montana Hull Chester’s teacher and leader has been achieved throughout. Ms Hull said that the spirit of teamwork and cooperation has been evident in Chester’s team since the beginning and especially when considering that they had not done any UAV work previously.
Another school that puts teamwork paramount is Topkids Center in Los Angeles. The USA school has two teams in the finals, one in the 12-14 age group named ‘Paracop’, and the other in the 15-17 group named ‘Zuberi’ Instructor and leader Chris Chai said that when they had first heard of the BIEA STEM Competition and had watched the video of last years competition they had become excited and wanted to enter. He said that it was a great opportunity to apply science and innovative thinking into protection in the real world and that having young students competing with their ideas and technologies from all over the world can only be beneficial to international cooperation and understanding. In selecting which animal to help the teams considered a number of endangered species which included Indiana Bats, iguanas, penguins, Blue-footed Boobies and camels. Eventually the Paracop team chose the Bactrian camel and the Zuberi team went for the African penguin. In preparation for the competition the two teams were encouraged to meet and discuss their respective projects and in this way the elder group gave much help to the younger in terms of technical expertise and flight operation and the younger came up with lots of innovative and interesting suggestions. Teacher Chris Chai offers some advice on how parents can better support their children’s interest in science and innovation, “almost everything around us is tied to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Develop your child’s STEM interests by first understanding what areas your child is truly interested in and then taking every opportunity to introduce STEM learning in that area.”
In the process of preparing for the competition, in order to encourage the children to inspire and communicate with each other, the teachers specially let the students of two age groups discuss together. In this way, the higher age group can give a lot of help to the lower age group in terms of technical expertise and flight operation, and the lower age group can come up with a lot of innovative and interesting suggestions.
Teacher Chris Chai also offers some advice on how parents can better support their children’s interest in science and innovation: “almost everything around us is tied to science, that area.”