I had a lovely experience at the National STEM Award, I can’t express in words how I feel. As soon as I heard that STEM is going to organize the NSA, I was so excited and exhilarated about managing the competition. The competition had been conducted by STEM Learning Private Limited, and in this competition, nearly 1000 students participated from 200 underprivileged schools across 23 states of India.
When I informed the selected schools about NSA, they didn’t believe me because they were not invited to participate in any such event before. I assured them and the school teachers were so happy because their students would participate in the competition.
We conducted the NSA in different forms like Quiz Competition, Model Making Event and Tinkering, and these competitions were organized at the City level, Zonal level and the National level rounds.
City Level Round: In this round nearly four to five schools participated from nearby cities with 100 to 200 km circumference. The city level competition was organized in more than 50 cities and towns across India.
Zonal Level Round: We selected 4 to 5 major cities in every direction from east, west, north, south and also from central India for this competition. All the schools that won the city level round participated in this round.
National Level Round: The winners of the zonal round participated in this round. The winning school of the national round got the prize money of Rs. 30,000/- whereas the winning school of the zonal round got the prize money of Rs. 20,000/-.
Quiz Competition: A group from every school participated and was asked 10 questions about science, math and social science topics and the groups that gave the maximum numbers of right answers qualified to the next level.
Model Making: In the Model Making Competition, a group from every school was provided the material from our end, and they were given the task to make the model on some concepts like Hydraulic Bridge, vacuum cleaner and others. The groups that made a well finished model and accompanied it with a good and unique explanation of that model qualified to the next level.
Tinkering: In the Tinkering competition, a group representing every school was given the task to assemble a project like Hexapod Robot or performed the project on the computer, the school with the highest marks qualified to the next level.
During the competition, I saw so many children smiling and the teachers’ faces were lit up, something I had never seen before. The schools that qualified to the next level were ecstatic and the ones that lost were quite upset. I literally had to wipe the tears of many children and tried to boost their confidence by motivating them to come back stronger next year.
During NSA, many schools came from different regions and locations, so we managed food and breakfast for every school, and whichever school needed to stay back, lodging facilities were arranged for them. With this experience, the children and teachers were so joyful especially because this gala event was arranged for them and it was a unique experience which they hadn’t been a part of before. They had loads of fun and were mischievous too.
While travelling for the zonal level and the national level rounds, students got to travel in AC compartments and also sat on the flight, this was a dream come true and they couldn’t stop smiling. I garnered lots of respect from the teachers and students for organizing this event and this I’ll remember my whole life and the moments will hold a special place in my heart.
About Author: Krishna Mishra has a total work experience of 2 years in the corporate world. He is a Software Engineer and has been working with STEM Learning for the last 2 months.