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Making an Impact!

Participants in project
Ang Soo Hui (4C), Zoie Lee (4E) and Gan Shuying (3D)

Project Scope:
Collaboration on a Science project focusing on the creation of an environmentally friendly bioplastic material using readily available food waste products such as shrimp shells. Presentation of project at:
1. Science Castle 2018 
2. Green Wave Environmental Care Competition 2018 
3. Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2019 
4. A*Star Talent Search (ATS) 2019

1. What inspired your passion for this area of study in Science?  

Coming across a viral video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw being extracted out of its nostril was really heart-wrenching for us to see.  The sea turtle made pained noises and we thought that something had to be done. We knew that it is not easy to change people’s lifestyles; we figured that finding an alternative to existing commercially-used plastic would be a better way to tackle this problem. We wanted to tackle both food AND plastic waste at the same time, to make our planet a better place for all living creatures; our sense of accomplishment lies in being able to successfully create a biodegradable plastic out of food waste. 

2. There probably are lessons you learnt mainly from this project.  What do you think is/are the most significant one(s) you gained?

Firstly, we broadened our scientific knowledge. Just by working on our experiments to make our bio-plastic, we gained new scientific insight beyond our textbook content. We also had the opportunity to learn from other teams’ projects ranging across different areas of science. Additionally, by participating in different science competitions, we gained useful presentation and social skills; we got to convey our ideas to different judges who have expertise in our field of research!  Lastly, we had the eye-opening experience of learning about problems occurring in other countries. Through presentations from various young Asian Science enthusiasts, we learnt how their research attempted to solve real-world issues, as well as issues of concern that we ourselves had not been aware of. 

3. How did the support of your friends and teachers help you? 

Our teacher mentors, Miss Priscilia Tan and Miss Shahirah, patiently gave us invaluable advice throughout our research journey, challenging us to think beyond the surface while also giving us emotional support. Our subject teachers had also been extremely understanding towards our commitment, encouraging us verbally, using their own free time to conduct consultations with us, ensuring that we kept pace with other classmates. Our friends also helped with the work we missed, offering to teach us the important concepts the teachers went through in class. We could not have come so far without their support!

4. What are some words of advice you would give your juniors who may be interested to follow in your footsteps?

Firstly, you don’t have to excel in science to do research. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”; all you need is a burning passion, the hunger to learn and willingness to put in your all. If you’re open to learning, you’ll gain knowledge beyond textbooks. Effort brings you further than you can imagine, turning dreams and ideas into reality.  Secondly, should your interest start to wane, don’t waste your efforts. The journey isn’t all about learning scientific knowledge, but about learning lifelong skills such as social skills and critical thinking skills. Even if answers and knowledge surfaced are unexpected, you will definitely learn life skills that put you in good stead. Just keep pushing to the end; you will get yourself an adventure and experience you can learn and grow from.