Oil firm fuels STEM education in Terengganu

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KUALA TERENGGANU: Exxon-Mobil Exploration and Production Malaysia Inc. (EMEPMI) continued its support for education programmes in Terengganu by backing the annual state-level competitions – Terengganu-ExxonMobil-Mathematics Innovation Challenge (TExMIC) and Spark Your Creativity Challenge (SYCC).

The final competition and prize-giving ceremony for both programmes were officiated by Terengganu Menteri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar. Both competitions were started with the aim to encourage Terengganu students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and to foster creative and critical thinking through real world applications.

The TExMIC competition is held in collaboration with the State Education Department while the SYCC is held with the support of Pusat Sains & Kreativiti Terengganu (PSKT). “ExxonMobil is committed to raising awareness of STEM subjects and motivating young people to consider future careers in these fields. STEM knowledge is not only
applicable to the workplace, but is also useful for solving the issues
we face in everyday life.

“A strong foundation in STEM education is critical in ensuring the growing technological needs an economic development of the country can be met,” said Sukiman Mohamed, general manager – public and government affairs of EMEPMI. He also expressed his appreciation for the State Education Department and PSKT for their partnership in the two education programmes.

TExMIC has been held annually since its launch in 2011. Through the ‘Project Based Learning,’ approach, the competition encourages the use of technology as a visual way learning such as using the Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) software to encourage in-depth conceptual understanding, motivation as well as engagement in mathematics education.

The unique aspect of TExMIC is that it invites participants to experience a practical application of mathematics theories and to develop solutions for challenges in essential functions of everyday life. The competition also helps to build character and analytical
skills as it requires the students to work in a team and communicates with one another.

The competition involves several rounds of evaluation before the teams are shortlisted to take part in the finals, where the finalists will present their projects to a jury panel.
A total of 516 students took part in TExMIC this year and 100 students from 25 teams were shortlisted for the finals. The finalists consisted of ten teams each from lower and upper secondary, and five teams from primary school categories.

The winners for each category were awarded cash prizes and gifts sponsored by ExxonMobil. SYCC is an annual competition that tests and develops students’ thinking and creative skills through applying STEM knowledge to the tasks at hand. Under this year’s theme of “My Dream House”, students were required to demonstrate architectural elements and engineering principles in their projects.

To participate, students were asked to produce and submit a short creative video on the idea and concept of their projects. The teams that were chosen to compete in the finals were required to develop creative projects using a scientific and environmentally
friendly approach.

The finalists were assigned to build a model of a home with a strong structure, safety features and mitigative measures for disasters such as floods and
earthquakes. The finalists then presented their projects to a panel of judges who also tested their design concepts.

30 students from ten teams succeeded in progressing to the SYCC finals. A total of five primaries and five secondary schools were shortlisted, and the top four teams in both categories received awards for their winning projects.