Building on their interests at school's robotics club

Woo Jie Lyn (far left) and Angel Yip with teacher Indra Ahmad. The two girls are members of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) robotics group.
Woo Jie Lyn (far left) and Angel Yip with teacher Indra Ahmad. The two girls are members of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) robotics group.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Since Woo Jie Lyn was in pre- school, she has immersed herself in the world of Lego.

When she was eight, she spent three hours building a Ferris wheel with the blocks. The creation got destroyed accidentally, but that did little to dampen her hopes of becoming an engineer.

Now 15, she is taking steps towards achieving her ambition. She is one of the founding members of the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) robotics group.

"I have always been interested in building things, so robotics made sense for me," she said.

Mechanics fascinates the Secondary 3 student. Jie Lyn remembers in detail her trip to the Rolls-Royce factory with her school last year. "I was really amazed at how they put a turbine together. I enjoy seeing how machines work."

She wants to study mechanical engineering, believing it is where the future lies. "Singapore is becoming a smart nation... I think robotics will be able to help us with all the smaller parts in our lives to make things more convenient."

She and nine other students from the school travelled to Indonesia in August to take part in the World Robot Games. "We didn't think we would win, but then we did. It was a nice feeling to have won because it was really male-dominated."

Also in the robotics team is Angel Yip, 13, the only Sec 1 student in the enrichment group. Her foray into computers and robots began long before she joined the club.

When she was in Primary 4, she spent a year learning programming and coding. "My mother saw that I was very interested in programming and so she sent me for classes. I watched a lot of robotics videos."

In secondary school, she began to take an interest in the design and technology classes. "I spent many afternoons investigating how things worked."

Although students do not typically get invited to join the robotics team until Sec 2, she was approached by her teachers after her mother told the school of her interest.

Mr Indra Ahmad, a design and technology teacher at the school, said: "We hope that students like her can help groom the younger ones in the future."

Rahimah Rashith

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2016, with the headline 'Building on their interests at school's robotics club'. Print Edition | Subscribe