The Secondary 3 GEMS Challenge is a signature programme in GMS(S). In this programme, our Secondary 3 students will choose a challenge to embark on during the course of the year. These challenges stretch our students physically, cognitively and/or aesthetically. These challenges are also set in social contexts, which will develop students’ social awareness and interpersonal skills through their interactions with one another.
In 2020, there were a total of 13 challenges for our students to choose from, such as Trekking, Cycling, Model United Nations (MUN), Illustrated Journaling, Mother Tongue Immersion Programme, ASEAN Internationalisation Programme, F1 in Schools, Applied Learning Program in Science (ALP), 3D Design with Electronics, Math Studio, GEMS Entrepreneurship, Robotics Challenge and Values in Action (VIA) service learning.
Every year, there are about seven training sessions for every challenge, each leading up to a finale. The finale may take the form of a project or a presentation of the students’ work.
GEMS Challenge (Local)
Applied Learning Programme in Science (ALPS) Challenge Objective
To provide students with opportunities to learn and apply their Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills.
The ALPS Challenge, which is Tier 2 of the school’s Applied Learning Programme in Environmental Science and Sustainable Living, is designed for students who are passionate and interested in extending their scientific pursuits. The research-based and hands-on programme provides students with the opportunity to work with industry partners.
In 2019, the focus for the Secondary 3 ALP students was on water management (Semester 1) and food waste management (Semester 2). They had the privilege to learn from and work with our industry partner ECOSOFTT about rainwater harvesting. Our students also had the opportunity to build their own filtration system prototypes found in a rainwater harvesting system. To observe first-hand how a rainwater harvesting system is used in an industrial setting, they went on a guided site visit to CleanTech One.
In Semester 2, they worked with another industry partner, Lendlease, to embark on a food waste management project that aimed to reduce food waste not at the consumer’s end, but directly at the source (i.e. food vendors). To help them better understand the current food wastage situation in Singapore, they went on a field trip to Sustainable Singapore Gallery and had an exclusi ve back-of-house tour at Parkway Parade.
Cycling Challenge Objectives
To enable students:
- To develop perseverance, resilience and confidence
- To forge bonds and promote friendship through cycling
- To be a concerned and caring citizen by promoting safe and gracious cycling habits
Students take part in a cycling activity, which promotes safe cycling as well as challenges them to complete a 2D1N round-island trip. Prior to the ride, participants have to undergo training to build endurance and confidence. Participants will also attend the Safe Riding Programme conducted by the Land Transport Authority.
F1 in Schools Challenge Objectives
- To provide students with opportunities to learn new concepts and industry-related technologies
- To develop in students a forward-thinking mindset
F1 in Schools Challenge is a multi-disciplinary challenge, which engages the students in the process of design and manufacture. Students deploy CAD/CAM software and collaborate to design, analyze, manufacture, test, and then race miniature gas-powered balsa wood F1 cars.
Three teams, Avetex, ABR Racing and Rapidite, competed in the ‘F1 in Schools Singapore National Finals 2019’. We are proud that all three teams walked away with accolades that affirmed them of their effort and resilience. Team Avetex also represented Singapore and competed against teams from around the world at the ‘F1 in Schools World Finals Abu Dhabi 2019’.
Model United Nations (MUN) Objective
To engage and stretch students with a strong interest in Humanities and current affairs.
Model United Nations or MUN, is an educational simulation and academic activity in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches participants researching, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
Our continued participation in Model United Nations (MUN) over the past few years has seen our students grow to become young adults with a keen interest in current affairs and contemporary social issues. Through MUN, the students gain confidence in expressing their opinions and views publicly and coherently.
GEMS Challenge (Overseas)
Humanities Internationalization Challenge Objective
To enable students to appreciate the current movement of globalization, and the importance of global partnerships in economic, social and cultural exchange.
The Humanities Internationalization Challenge provides our Secondary 3 students with the opportunity to visit an ASEAN country to learn about its history and culture. The experience aims to foster empathy, resilience and humility in our students as they interact with the locals and appreciate a world outside of Singapore.
In 2019, our students visited Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City where they experienced the social milieu of a city that is progressing towards modernization while keeping itself firmly grounded in its traditions. Students also learnt about Singapore’s partnership with Vietnam during the visit to the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP).
Trekking Challenge Objective
To bring out the best in our GEMS, reflecting the school’s motto “To Grow in Friendship, Body and Mind”.
In this Challenge, students work with one another to complete one of Asia’s trekking trails. To prepare and train their physical and mental endurance, students attend weekly training sessions prior to the trek in the middle of the year.
In 2019, seventeen Secondary 3 students participated in the annual GEMS Trekking Challenge in Hong Kong. Our students also spent time at the YMCA College and interacted with the college students. The YMCA students displayed some of their STEM projects in Robotics and Augmented Reality while our students taught them some uniquely Singaporean games such as the ‘country eraser game’ and ‘zero point’.
Overseas Service Learning (OSL) Objectives
- To develop further the spirit of selfless giving, service, empathy and leadership skills among our students.
- To share joy with others through our friendship and activities.
Two Overseas Service Learning (OSL) Journeys are organized each year, in May and November. During the OSL in Chiang Mai, Thailand, our students plan and conduct English and upcycling lessons, do mural painting and play games with the local children.
The students learn to step out of their comfort zone to lead the activities they have planned. Through daily debrief and reflections, they learn the values of care and compassion, and live out our school vision of being a Caring Citizen.
Internationalisation Trip (China) Challenge Objectives
- To provide opportunities for students to experience the fast pace of progress in developing countries.
- To prepare students for the future through understanding societal development trends.
Students visit local and international schools to gain new perspectives in learning and exchange notes with their Shanghai counterparts. Through visits to Singapore enterprises in China, they also learn to appreciate the challenges of starting a business in a foreign environment. Besides experiencing the local culture of using various technology platforms in their daily lives, our students also participate in various cultural appreciation activities, such as tea appreciation.