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Petrosains Science Festival: Little Plans for the Big Planet

When I was a child, I remember going on a school excursion where we learned about our dwindling fossil fuel energy resources and the need to move towards renewable energy sources. This was back in the 1980s when the concept of solar-powered homes were still a new concept so when they took us through a model home that was entirely powered by renewable energy sources, I was blown away. That experience changed the way I looked at energy usage and my attitude towards recycling. So when I saw the Petrosains Science Festival on “Little Plans for the Big Planet”, I hoped to give the boys a similar experience.

Petrosains Science Festival

Petrosains Science Festival

The Petrosains Science Festival is an annual community initiative designed to inspire a love and interest for science and to foster a future generation of scientifically literate, critical thinkers. This year, the theme is “sustainable living” and it focuses on the importance of protecting our planet. By showcasing ideas on how to embrace a sustainable lifestyle, Petrosains hopes to show the community how small changes to our daily lives can have a positive impact on our environment.

Petrosains Science Festival: #MyDigitalMaker Fair 2017

This national initiative by MDEC was a celebration of Malaysian students’ innovation, technology and creativity. We made the terrible mistake of leaving this for after lunch. By that time, the queue lines were so long, we had to give up the idea of getting in. It was a pity since they ran a number of pretty cool activities on Drones, Robotics, Coding, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Games and Animation.

Coding Resources

If you missed out, you can check out these online resources for coding:

  • Scratch – tutorials on various projects.
  • Computing at School – teaching material, training and newsletters to promote and support computer science education in schools.
  • CODE – tools and free coding lessons.
  • Remake Learning – resources for shaping the future of teaching and learning.
  • Barefoot Computing – free resources created and recommended by teachers for teaching computer science.
  • Lightbot – educational videos games for learning software programming.
  • Codeacademy – online interactive platform offering free coding classes in 8 programming languages.

Science Competitions for Students

Or join these competitions:

  • Young Innovators – a national-level STEM-based design competition open to secondary schools in Malaysia.
  • LEGO Education – a competition opened to primary and secondary schools.
  • Young Inventors Challenge – a challenge for secondary school students to create products that can make a positive change to our society.
  • Malaysian Computing Challenge – an annual online computing competition.
  • INTEL ISEF – the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition offering high school students to showcase their talents and research.
  • Liga Remaja Kreatif – a multimedia competition for secondary students to create a video, internet portal or application.
  • National Science Challenge – open to Malaysian students who will qualify through an hour-long online quiz before representing their states in the Grand Final where they will be tested on theoretical knowledge and scientific skills.
  • VEX Robotics Competition – design and build a root to play against other teams from around the world through a game-based engineering challenge.

Petrosains Science Festival: Workshops/Talks/Forums

Over the course of the two days, they offered a variety of workshops, talks and forums on ways to live sustainably, not limited to but including:

Renewable Energy and Solar Robots

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

This was the only workshop that the kids attended. Although the topic was a very pertinent one, I felt it was not very engaging for the age group of children that attended. Personally, I thought the educational segment on sustainability in Gardens by the Bay was more impactful.

Create Your Own Perfume

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

The Mums wanted to do this one but we didn’t think the boys would be up for it. Luckily, it’s actually pretty easy to make your own perfume at home:

The Meteorites and Other Collections in Beijing Planetarium

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

In this talk, Dr Zhang Ziping talks about meteorites. We didn’t attend the talk, but you can find loads of youtube videos on meteors for kids:

Sew Sprouts: T-Shirt to Treasure

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

We missed this one, too, but luckily, that’s what Pinterest is for: T-shirt craft ideas.

Petrosains Science Festival: the Innovation Lab

At the Innovation Lab, the boys had the opportunity to explore the science projects created by Malaysian students.

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

A maze and 3D Printer:

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

A smart lamp that turns on or off when you clap; and an infinity light.

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

Balloon music keyboard and Mario Bros using electrodes for controls:

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

There were also stations that allowed the kids to try their hand at basic programming using Arduino Kits.

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

Petrosains Science Festival: Smart Home Showcase

The Smart Home Showcase showed the kids how they could control various features at home, such as lighting, air-conditioning, music, and security, wirelessly through a smart phone. The two systems they played around with were Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Petrosains exhibition - Sep 2017

Petrosains Science Festival: 3D Treasure Hunt

There was a 3D treasure hunt we were supposed to be able to play using the Petrosains app but for some reason, we couldn’t get it working. We asked the staff for help but they didn’t seem to know why it wasn’t working for us either. I don’t know if it was a glitch in the app or whether we didn’t get the right instructions for the treasure hunt but we gave up in the end after sweltering under the midday heat.

Overall, it was a fun day out. Although in hindsight, we should have gone to the #mydigitalmaker Fair first.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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