Monday 2022-09-26

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PUPILS TO SHOWCASE PROJECTS AT STEM EXPO

By Slindzelwe Nxumalo | 2022-09-26

Pupils will be showcasing their skills during the STEM Careers and Skills Expo to be hosted by the Royal Science Technology Park (RSTP).


The 2nd STEM Careers and Skills of the future Expo will take place on October 15 at the University of Eswatini (UNESWA) Sports Emporium. RSTP Senior Communications Officer Senzo Malaza said the STEM Expo would give pupils an opportunity to show others their projects about their own scientific investigations.

Malaza mentioned that it was targeted at high school pupils who had poor exposure to the STEM field. “The STEM Expo is aimed at offering wide and varied opportunities to expand pupils’ views of the world of STEM while giving them a practical experience of STEM,” he said.


He stated that the pupils would be given STEM related projects to work on using their mathematics and science knowledge from class and they would develop their own projects with the assistance of their teachers.  “These projects will be presented and judged by STEM professionals. The pupils will be given three months to work on the projects and they will present the projects to their teachers who will then select the best three projects that will participate in the national STEM Fair,” he said.


Malaza mentioned that the STEM Expo could be the investigation of phenomenon or an engineered solution to a problem, a real world connection, focus on learning rather than a product, or presenting a video, coding project, model, or prototype.


“The key requirement is that the project must be business viable. The Expo will provide an opportunity for pupils to showcase their inquiry skills and creative genius,” he said.


He said the pupils would also improve public speaking skills and interact with judges or coaches from various backgrounds and this experience would not be duplicated in the classroom and so provides great enrichment to the country’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes.


“The Fair will encourage learners to pursue their passion in the STEM related fields of study by preparing and allowing learners to conduct research based on their own interests,” he said.


He also said the fair would benefit the pupils as they would acquire skills which are used throughout their lifetime, improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills and improve on communications skills, creativity and collaborations.


Inquiry


“The pupils will also benefit through hands-on-learning in research and inquiry learning, gain the opportunity to connect with experienced researchers, scientists and engineers and they can showcase projects they have completed for assessment within the school environment, while also extending their research capabilities to well beyond the school environment,” said Malaza.


He mentioned that the pupils’ projects would be assessed by several specialists after they have been approved and judges would check and read documents gauge if it is the learners own work.


Malaza revealed that the different prizes the pupils would get included monetary or gifts like laptops for the best project in IT, job shadowing for the runners-up, branded hampers from the different STEM organisations who will participate, mentoring session with a STEM professional and Certificate of participation.


He further invited anyone interested to attend the Expo. “We have worked with the ministry of education to identify a number of schools we could have at the Expo, however, we are inviting any other and all schools in the kingdom and any individuals to participate at the Expo,” he said.

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