Miri – 22 June 2010 – With the aim of instilling an interest in the wonders of engineering and science, as well as encouraging fifth formers in Sarawak to pursue higher education in the those fields and help them prepare for the upcoming Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) recently held a series of ‘Space Egg Challenge’ events at selected secondary schools in the state.
The first ‘Space Egg Challenge’ was held in Bintulu on 11 May 2010. It saw the participation of 11 teams from SMK Bintulu, which hosted the event, as well as two teams from SMK Baru and one from SMK Asyakirin.
This was followed by similar events at SMK Methodist and SMK Tung Hua in Sibu, SMK St. Teresa in Kuching and SMK Tinggi in Sarikei, between 7 and 11 June 2010.
Science stream students from secondary schools in each location were invited to form teams of five members each to participate. Participation was free and prizes were presented to the winning teams at the end of each event.
According to Civil and Construction Engineering lecturer Joshua Wong of Curtin Sarawak’s School of Engineering & Science, who facilitated the events, the ‘Space Egg Challenge’ is a unique competition designed to implant scientific thinking and nurture teamwork among its participants, as well as challenge them to produce sustainable solutions to engineering and science problems.
In the competition, participants are first introduced to the basic concepts of engineering and science, including quizzes to test their knowledge of the fields and subjects such as physics, chemistry and additional maths.
They are then given a unique engineering problem termed the ‘Space Egg’, which requires them to devise solutions to prevent eggs falling from a great height from breaking using just drinking straws and masking tape. These materials are used to build housings or shields around the eggs, usually in the form of ‘space ships’, thus the term ‘Space Egg’. The Space Eggs are released from a height of 10 metres, and teams whose eggs remain intact upon impact are declared winners.
According to event coordinator and marketing officer Michael Kong, Curtin Sarawak, being a leading educational institution in East Malaysia with vast experience in providing academic support and guidance, does its part each year in helping fifth formers prepare for the SPM examination through various events and activities.
“Last year, we organised a series of SPM workshops for students in Sarawak and Sabah to motivate them, help them develop their academic skills and alleviate as much as possible the anxiety and guesswork that comes with preparing for examinations. This year, we decided to conduct the Space Egg Challenge, which we have successfully carried out in West Malaysia in the past,” said Kong.
He added that the response in all four locations was very good, and all the students not only got a spirited boost to face the SPM but also gained valuable insights into engineering and science from the competition and from lecturer Joshua Wong. He described Wong as an academic who is very passionate about teaching and the development of students as individuals.
“Joshua strongly believes learning should be inspiring and thought-provoking and, most of all, enjoyable and fulfilling, which he achieved very commendably in the competition,” said Kong, adding that Curtin Sarawak is likely to extend the competition to other towns in the state given the good response.
For more information on the ‘Space Egg’ Challenge and Curtin Sarawak’s student recruitment activities in Sarawak, contact Michael Kong at 085-443894 or 013-8018656.