From November 18th – 27th 2016, six students and two members of staff from the National Junior College, Singapore visited CSIA’s STEM Centre of Excellence Nexus to work with our students on some exciting collaborative research projects.

The group  divided into three teams, containing both Nexus VI and NJC students, to carry out some academic research here in the UK. In February our students will travel to Singapore to continue the collaborative projects.

The three projects have been chosen to be challenging and also to give the students the opportunity to develop their own ideas and potentially make new scientific discoveries.

The first project was led by Dr Daren Ler, a teacher from the NJC, who has challenged the team to write a computer programme which can analyse a large set of student assessment data and then make predictions about future performance in exams. The programme will have to be able to adapt and change its own calculations, becoming more reliable each year as more data becomes available.

Machine learning

The second project was a biodiversity project led by Dr Adrian Spalding, a renowned entomologist from the University of Exeter. The students visited Loe Bar to compare environmental factors, such as particle size of sand at different locations, with the abundance of the Sandhill Rustic Moth. The students collected samples from Loe Bar and visited the Mineral Processing Lab at the University of Exeter for analysis.

Biodiversity

The third and final project is led by the Institute for Research in Schools who have provided the team with advanced particle detectors which are as sensitive as the detectors which make up ATLAS and CMS at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN. The students have devised an investigation to analyse the risk of exposure to radioactive Radon gas at different heights above ground level. This is especially important in the context of Singapore as many Singaporeans live in high-rise apartment blocks.

Background radiation

After a hugely successful week, the delegation from the National Junior College, Singapore departed on their long journey home.

The collaborative research projects concluded on Saturday with the students presenting their findings so far and giving an overview of the work they intend to carry out when Nexus VI visit Singapore in February.

The students spent their final night celebrating their achievements with a meal in Camborne town centre before watching the Christmas lights turn on. Meanwhile their teachers were planning the future of the collaboration between Nexus VI and the NJC and discussing our return visit.

The week has been demanding and highly rewarding for the students of Nexus and we all wish the NJC contingent a safe and enjoyable journey. We will be seeing you very soon!