... the results are finally out!
The children in my daughters' class were assigned into groups last year to work on different projects. Some were assigned to the IRS group, where they were supposed to do Individualised Research, others into the FPS group, where they were to work on Future problem solving. My daughter, S, was selected to be in the Ivp group. Initially, she wasnt happy, as most of her good friends were assigned to the FPS group, and she felt left out. As they were supposed to work in pairs, and since her good friends were assigned to a different project, she hooked up with another girl from another class to work on the Ivp project.
This Ivp programme aims to provide the children with opportunity to develop their problem solving skills and inventive skills. They were supposed to invent a product not already on the market. The 2 girls thought, and thought. They considered the problems that they were facing and considered how they could come up with something that could solve it. Being very young children, only 11, they had many ideas, but most were beyond their expertise to develop.
The 2 girls finally decided on one problem which they faced when they did their projects. Everytime when they did their project work which required posters, they found that if they were to make a mistake they had to start all over again - especially when they worked with coloured markers on coloured paper. With the correction fluid on the market, any mistake meant white blotches on coloured paper - which looked unsightly. How they wished they had a correction fluid the colour of the paper they were working on, so that they did not have to start from scratch all because of a careless mistake!!
So, this became their project. Dont ask me how they did it. But they sure did. All I remember was handing over money to her time and again. They came up with a set of coloured correction fluids!! Their prototype was then demonstrated to a panel of advisors/mentors from the National University of Singapore, and guess what? They were selected to present their product at the Young Innovators Fair held at the Singapore Polytechnic.
At that fair, theirs was one of the most popular booths, as it addressed the problem many children and teachers faced. Many wanted to buy their product on the spot, but alas, they only made one set for demonstration purposes.
To add another feather to their cap, theirs was one of a few selected by the Ministry of Education to be showcased it at the Global Entrepolis 2007!! What an honour, to be showcased next to Global Innovations. They even received enquiries from trade professionals who wanted to mass produce their product for sale!!
The two girls then decided to enter their prototype for the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors Award. Their prototype was selected for a first round interview by a panel of judges. The place was crawling with "inventors" from numerous schools, many with teachers accompanying. The girls brought their prototype made some 9 months earlier. They used their same old posters from 2 exhibitions ago ie the Young Innovators Fair. These 2 young girls were on their own, having to answer whatever questions thrown at them, with no prior experience, nor coaching by their teachers on how to prepare for it. They came out feeling a little down, as some really difficult questions were thrown at them. They did not expect to be shortlisted for the 2nd round.
Guess what? From the hundreds selected for the 1st interview, they were shortlisted for a 2nd interview! The girls were ecstatic!! Now, they wanted to win!! They wanted a gold as a gold award meant a 4 figure cheque for the two of them. 7 days later, they met another panel of judges. This time only 3 primary school teams made it this far. And, they still brought the same prototype from 9 months earlier, now with even much less fluid left inside from all that demonstrations!! They were not told when the results would be out.
One week went by. No news. 2 weeks went by, still no news. Here we were, anxiously checking her email everyday, as well as the Tan Kah Kee website for the results. 3 weeks, and we were still in the dark on the results. And hey presto! Yesterday morning, when we checked her email account - they received the news that they had been waiting for. They received a Commendation for their product!! Not the gold - never mind - a commendation is just as good!!
They would be receiving their award at a ceremony to be held in June from the Minister of Defence, Mr Teo Chee Hean, and their product will be exhibited for a week at the Singapore Science Centre from June 21st 2008.
S, we are all so proud of you!! Well Done! Ice-cream for everyone to celebrate this win!!