Education: Takapuna Grammar School
Science in Singapore
Activities for the students included an Amazing Science Race,
which took the students around iconic locations in Singapore, having been given an MTR card each and $5.00 for lunch.
An invitation sent by Principal, Simon Lamb, via e-mail, to all parents, asked students to apply for a trip of a life time. Senior science students were asked to submit a reason why they should be chosen to attend a science camp run by The Raffles Institute, a Singapore High School.
This opportunity arose as a result of the establishment of a relationship between Takapuna Grammar School and the Raffles Institute, forged through a visit by Associate Principal, Mr Terry Holding early this year. The biannual Science and Humanity symposium was chosen as the first occasion to develop the schools’ idea of promoting international understanding and new educational opportunities.
Mrs Elsie Combrinck was the brave chemistry teacher who volunteered to go with the students, after she selected the top four students; Mikala Easte, Jake Benson, Hannah Cantrell and Jordan Griffiths, based on their application and their current GPAs.
This science “camp” is attended by school students from 15 countries, including Britain, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Columbia. The only other New Zealand school present was Woodford House.
Activities for the students included an Amazing Science Race, which took the students around iconic locations in Singapore, having been given an MTR card each and $5.00 for lunch.
There were workshops on forensics – including the blood spatter room and the “time of death” room – as well as on nanotechnology, engineering and food science, where they got to make ice cream among other things. The skills and knowledge gained in forensics were then used in a murder mystery. Groups had to collect and analyse evidence to solve a double homicide and present their solution to the rest of the group.
There was a strong focus on the use of science in humanity with a focus on disabilities and the students visited the Singapore Polytechnic, where they are using video games to assist with physical therapy in children.
In between all the science, there were visits to important cultural places like Chinatown, Little India and the Singapore Flyer which is the largest observation wheel in the world. For Mikala Easte the highlight of these trips was the night safari, at Singapore Zoo, where they got to see spectacular fire-breathing shows and nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. There was also an amazing “Dine in the Dark” experience, which followed on from a film about blindness that all found very affecting.
All four agree it was the chance of a life-time and absolutely worthwhile.