Sunday April 18, 2010
Might of minds
By ALYCIA LIM
THE battle of the brains is on again! Held for the second year running, the RHB-The Star Mighty Minds 2010 kicks off with the first state challenge in Malacca this Saturday.
Sixty teams from both the lower and upper secondary categories are expected to converge in Dataran Pahlawan Megamall for eight solid hours beginning 9am to pit grey matter in four brain-bending challenges. At stake is the right to be called “Malacca’s mightiest minds”, bring glory to their school, and represent their state in the national challenge to be held in the Klang Valley in October. If earning bragging rights are not enough, additional carrots being dangled come in the form of prizes in cash and kind.
Alagesan says that teams should have innovative ideas to outshine the others.
For each category, the top five teams in each state will receive:
·1st prize: RM3,000 cash per team and a RM2,000 in-kind school prize
·2nd prize: RM2,000 cash per team and a RM1,000 in-kind school prize
·3rd prize: RM1,000 cash per team and RM750 in-kind school prize
·4th prize: RM 500 cash per team
·5th prize: RM 300 cash per team
The jewel in the crown is the RM6,000 cash prize for the national champions in the two categories.
Malaccan secondary students ... if you have yet to register, act fast because places are limited. For students nationwide, quick action is also required because the challenge is only open to one team per category per school.
Other than the multiple-choice questions (MCQ) and hands-on activity that were the only determinants in last year’s challenge, an oral presentation and an open-ended buzzer quiz have been thrown into the mix this year to separate the “smart” from the “brilliant”.
Participants have to really step up their game, because only 15 out of the 60 teams per category will make it through to the hands-on challenge. And from these 15 teams, only the top five teams get to swagger on stage and wax lyrical about the uniqueness of their model and their grasp of Science principles. The challenge concludes with a heart-stopping buzzer quiz.
Setting all the questions is The Star’s F4F5 physics columnist and chief judge A. Alagesan.
“The approach this year will be a holistic one. We want to make sure that no points get discounted this time. Last year, the objective challenge was only to qualify teams to the second challenge. But this year, everything will be taken into account.”
Gently does it: Team Sarawak demonstrating their sand-powered ferris wheel during last year’s oral presentation at the national finals.
The MCQ will make up 20% of the total score, while the hands-on challenge will amount to 30%. Another 35% will be allocated to the oral presentation, and the buzzer quiz will make up the final 15%.
“We emphasise on the oral presentation because we want students to come better prepared. It also gives students the chance to tell the audience what they have created, and get them involved in the process.”
Alagesan said that while the oral presentation would be “guided,” teams should come up with their own innovative ideas in order to outshine the other teams.
As for the buzzer quiz, Alagesan said, “It will require impromptu thinking. Unlike the MCQ questions, students have to be quick to hit the buzzer and answer.”
Asked if he had any advice for the students, he said, “Be prepared for more science-based general knowledge questions.”
An example of this would be: Which kitchen items would you use to unclog your drain? Yes, something that even your experienced grandmother could tell you!
But knowledge in science alone wouldn’t cut it, as there would also be general knowledge questions on current affairs, geography, and even basic IT and banking, among others.
All state challenges and the national finals will be filmed, so grab this opportunity to shine on national television!
For must-have tips on the challenge, subscribe to F123 and F4F5, The Star’s Maths and Science guides that go out to schools on alternate Mondays. Alagesan shares valuable hints and techniques on page two of the pullouts, so call The Star’s Audience Development Unit at 03-7967 1777.
To register, visit www.thestar.com.my/mightyminds/ to download the registration form, which is also available in all RHB Bank and RHB Islamic Bank branches nationwide.