The Olympiad opens to public today

2nd national STEM Olympiad sees 15 entries from schools

Aimed at improving the livelihood of farmers, a model of an eco-friendly alarm system powered by energy made from dung and tamarind mixture was presented at the second national science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Olympiad in Thimphu yesterday.

A team from Nima High School made the device. The circuit in the model is devised in such a way that a touch on the farm’s fence produces an alarm, which is connected to the phone and alerts the mobile phone owner. The device produces no current, and is harmless to animals, the team claimed.

One of the team members, Dechen Om said that the model has localised the idea of generating electricity from biogas. “We are using the energy produced from bio-waste to power the device,” he said,

To encourage the urban population to cultivate organic fruits and vegetables on rooftops and enable urban vegetation, the same team has also developed a roof gardening model that has a feature to open and close the roof owing to weather using hydraulics.

The annual event organised by Royal Education Council saw 15 best models on display. Each team was provided Nu 10,000 to develop the prototype. The models presented were selected from 30 models exhibited at the cluster level.

From converting bio-waste into electricity to making products from waste, waste segregation and making of smart village, the models explored different principles of science, technology, and innovation to enhance livelihood opportunities in the society.

Themed science and technology for livelihood, the annual event aims to improve quality of science education, increase students’ interest in science and recognise outstanding achievement in science by students and teachers.

Bearing in mind the water shortage situation in their school and in the high population of Guma gewog in Punakha, Phub Gyeltshen and his team from Punakha Central School developed a water pump model that could be used to pump water to a higher elevation.

A situation analysis done by the team found that Guma gewog has a shortage of irrigation and drinking water. “ 30 percent of the households still face water shortage for drinking and irrigation. This hinders the income of the farmers,” the analysis stated.

Of the 15 models presented, three best models will be recognised with prize money and certificates and the rest with consolations. The Olympiad received close to 100 proposals this year. The models were developed over two months.

The unit head with STEM Division, REC, Bhoj Raj Rai said the event enabled students to relate science to daily life. “They should be able to produce something that is creative and innovative to solve local problems,” he said. “The event is conducted to bring together children that would give them an opportunity to collaborate.”

He added that this edition of STEM Olympiad focused on fairness and consistency in the evaluation of the models after they received complaints in the past.

While most models were a repetition of past models, Bhoj Raj Rai said that about four models were developed with creativity and innovation.

Samtse Higher Secondary School took part in the event for the first with a model called MT (Multi-tech) bag that has multiple features to fit in all the necessary things. “We could only think of developing a bag in school. However, after coming here we saw many technologies and ideas that can be incorporated to come up with better models,” said a team member, Basu Dev.

Smart living model, multi-power paddler machine, thagzo, a recycling loom and a multi-purpose robot among others are displayed at the event that ends on June 2.

Nima

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