Bartley Secondary students win one category in annual science challenge

Bartley Secondary students (from left) Toh Zhi Qi, Nurdafinah Omar and VG Rasika, won first prize in the "Dermarouge" category of the ignITE Science & Technology Challenge on May 26, 2015. The trio used a combination of commercial and homemade co
Bartley Secondary students (from left) Toh Zhi Qi, Nurdafinah Omar and VG Rasika, won first prize in the "Dermarouge" category of the ignITE Science & Technology Challenge on May 26, 2015. The trio used a combination of commercial and homemade cosmetics to simulate the wounds one would sustain from a bicycle collision accident. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO 

SINGAPORE - Nurdafinah Omar, 15, has long been fascinated by the realistic practical effects she saw in movies and on television. This year, she had a chance to experience what it was like to have simulated wounds applied to her own body.

She and her friends Toh Zhi Qi, 15, and VG Rasika, 16, represented Bartley Secondary School at the finals of the ignITE Science & Technology Challenge 2015, jointly organised by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Science Centre Singapore on Tuesday.

They won first prize and walked away with $350 worth of book vouchers sponsored by Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd for their work on a simulated bicycle accident. It is the first time they are taking part in the challenge.

Their entry also won the title of "Best Gruesome Wound" in the "Dermarouge" category of the challenge, where participants were taught about the anatomy of the skin and different types of wounds before being tasked with accurately and realistically recreating their effects.

"My finger has a deep cut from getting caught in the bicycle chain. On my forehead is a wound I got when I hit a tree after rolling down a hill. And here I have abrasions on my legs and bruises on my elbows," explains Nurdafinah matter-of-factly.

Her team created the fake wounds using a mix of commercial and homemade cosmetics, using ingredients such as Vaseline and corn flour.

The challenge featured five categories this year involving the application of different areas of science knowledge, including "Keep Kool", which challenged participants to build their own refrigeration coil and "Sportalicious", which had students formulate a sports drink to replenish fluids and salts.

Nearly 700 Normal (Technical) students from 50 schools took part in this year's challenge, which has been organised annually since 2008.

Among the 153 students representing 29 schools in the finals, students from Holy Innocents' High School bagged the most number of final round prizes, with seven teams each winning one of the 19 top prizes.

The school also collectively won the Grand Champion Prize, which awards the school a year's subscription to Science Centre Singapore.

"The Science Centre has always been a supporter of science and technology education in Singapore," said Mrs Anne Dhanaraj, senior director of the education programme division of Science Centre Singapore.

"We hope that more schools will allow their students to experience the joy of scientific discovery by participating in this challenge."