STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education in the 21st-century relates directly to the achievement of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Malaysia fully aligning its national budgets to the SDGs, based on the UN’s assessments recently, sets the tone that every industry, STEM education included, has a crucial role in driving progress towards social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
In a bid to support the nation’s goal of growing the involvement of secondary school students in STEM-related disciplines from its current rate of 47% to its goal of 60%, the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) is organising its first-ever virtual STEM carnival for students nationwide.
Cultivating Malaysian STEM trailblazers
“We are excited to provide a platform for the young to dip their toes in STEM subjects. The gamification and application-based approach we use to carry out our activities during the Carnival is aimed at helping teenagers realise that STEM can be fun and engaging for all,” said UNM Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FOSE), Professor Ir Dr Law Chung Lim. “STEM is extremely important, especially in helping to solve modern-day challenges like flooding, access to clean water and climate change, which are all key to progressing Malaysia today and in the future,” Professor Law added.
UNM STEM Carnival participants will be introduced to a variety of STEM fields such as manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud-Based Virtual Computer-Aided Engineering, vertical vegetable farming and genetics to name a few. To ensure an immersive and inclusive experience for participants from different age groups, the workshops are designed to apply advanced and complex STEM concepts to everyday life and relevant modern-day scenarios.
Mindful of the existing health and safety concerns of the ongoing pandemic, the STEM carnival’s virtual format opens the door for students to discover the limitless world of STEM from the safety of their homes and smart devices. The week-long carnival agenda includes ‘STEM Exploration Talk’ Sessions with insights from UNM researchers; a ‘Career in STEM’ panel session to help teenagers identify career opportunities and prospects; Live workshops like learning how chocolate is made at the ‘Charlie and Nottingham Chocolate Factory’; and International STEM Mini
Competitions (face-mask recycling, mulch leaves recycling, and constructing a bridge). There will also be a STEM Grand Challenge held exclusively for Malaysian students. Winners stand to gain bragging rights in the STEM competition circuit and win attractive prizes.
STEM for one, STEM for all
“There are many young kids who display capabilities and interest for STEM, but not enough opportunities are available for them to explore it. We want to give them a platform to be open-minded and curious, as kids should always be,” shared Professor Law.
Lessons should always be curated for the classroom, so that students are engaged and interested. Interactive events and activities help encourage participation and enthusiasm, particularly with more complex subjects. Especially with virtual learning on the rise, students are demanding new methods of teaching and learning, and educators must continuously innovate in response.
The UNM virtual STEM Carnival takes place from February 14 to 20 and is free for students. To register and for more information, visit: https://bit.ly/33KVr7e