Masdar Institute’s UAE National Students Find Projects at ‘Taaleem Science Fair’ Highly ‘Innovative’
Young Students’ Projects on Designing Smaller-Scale Wind Turbines and Greenhouse Gas Impact Reflect Awareness on Sustainability
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 12 May, 2013 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced its three student judges found the participating projects at the first-ever Taaleem Science Fair highly creative and innovative in sustainability and green energy.
The three are additionally members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program, a Masdar Institute outreach initiative.
The first Taaleem Science Fair held on 1 May at the American Academy in Al-Mizhar, Dubai, attracted 43 participants. Students spanning ages 11-15 years in elementary and middle school were grouped by grades from Grade 6 to and Grade 9. The high school students in Grade 10 and above competed in either the ‘High School Life Science’ or ‘High School Physical Science’ categories.
YFEL members Mohammed Al Sharhan, Sultan Al Awadhi and Reem Al Junaibi – Master’s students and research assistants in Engineering Systems and Management at Masdar Institute, were the three judges. They used a rubric to assess the projects in areas such as the quality of a testable scientific question, choosing measurable ways to test their question, and their ability to evaluate their data accurately and appropriately.
Each was assessed for the strength of creativity and younger students were enquired the about the concept behind their presentation. Most of the projects focused on clean energy and sustainability, offering the Masdar Institute students a glimpse into the minds of the children and their awareness about energy conservation and preservation of natural resources. They spent five-to-10 minutes meeting with each student individually about their projects. Each YFEL participant reviewed approximately five projects alongside a partner judge
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The special expertise our students gain from Masdar Institute’s world-class faculty is truly exemplary as could be gauged from the way they judged entries at the Taaleem Science Fair. With the support of the country’s leadership, we continue to develop talented students with the capability to guide today’s children in sustainable ways as well as lead future energy industry. Our students will continue their close involvement in such activities to widen the awareness about clean and green energy in the community.”
Dr. Samia Al Farrar, Chief Education Officer, Taaleem, said: “The Taaleem Science Fair could not have become so successful without the dedication and support of the Masdar Institute graduate students. They were the key in assessing our winners and encouraging young students to study science and pursue it as a career. It was encouraging to see UAE nationals encouraging younger participants, who looked up to the Masdar Institute students for guidance. We thank Masdar Institute for sending these students to judge the entries at the Science Fair.”
Sultan Al Awadhi, an Engineering System Management student at Masdar Institute was one of the judges, found the projects displayed at Taaleem Science Fair truly inspiring.
Al Awadhi said: “Although I was judging projects of students from Grade 6, some of them related to impacts of greenhouse gases and designing of wind turbines on smaller scale. The level of creativity of those students was really inspiring. I found the competing young minds conducting scientific experiments that are bigger than their age. I believe such science fairs will help young students increase their self-confidence and their abilities to think differently, which is a key to innovation.”
Reem Al Junaibi said: “Because they were so young, most of the research questions formulated in the projects showed curiosity, which is the first step to learning. It gladdens me to think that a lot of these questions were focused on figuring out ways to mitigate global warming. These children do understand the vital issues and they do care for Mother Earth, which to me is the most important thing. It was really tough judging them and I believe they all deserve to win. The level of creativity exceeded my expectations.”
Mohamed Al Sharhan said: “Judging the projects from Grade-7 students, I could see that the renewable and sustainability trends are evolving. Out of a couple of projects related to these topics, one was to build a solar oven and the other one was to test the effect of desalinated water on human hair. I was really impressed by the level of awareness the students have about sustainability and their passion about science. Compared to their level of education, these projects were truly amazing.”
Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.