National Science Experiment (2)
Raffles Institution students used the SENSg devices to capture their mobility and
travel patterns. [Photo: National Science Experiment]

Over 43,000 students took a step and contributed in Singapore’s National Science Experiment (NSE) from September to November this year. Students from 128 primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges participated.

The results of the NSE were released on 10 Dec 2015 at the Science Centre, in conjunction with the launch of Science Centre’s E3: E-mmersive Experiential Environments exhibition.

A key goal of the NSE is to interest students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and students’ curiosity in science was sparked as they learned concepts such as Big Data, along with the Internet of Things as part of the project.

“I think NSE made me more interested in science, as now I know I play a part in contributing to the national average findings based on data collected by a sensor”, said St Gabriel’s Primary School student Colin Chen.
Themed “Step Out for Science”, students carried a specially designed device, called SENSg, to collect data on their daily travel as well as data from and about the environment. The data collected was then transferred wirelessly into a central online portal, where students and teachers could log in to view results. The SENSg device can measure the daily walking activity of each student, time spent indoors and outdoors, and the mode of transport.

Students carried the device over a period of four days, and learnt science and technology in their daily lives and surroundings. Students spent over 2,700 hours exploring their data on the NSE portal.

The NSE aims to involve 250,000 Singapore students ranging from Primary 3 to Junior College 2, between 2015 to 2017.

43,000 students from across 128 schools took part and contributed to the inaugural National Science
Experiment. [Video: National Science Experiment]

Results from NSE 2015

Big Data Numbers

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

Activity Levels

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

Students who participated in the NSE logged an average of 5,853 steps a day, with some students recording up to 20,000 steps per day. However, how the device is worn while the student is walking can affect step accuracy. Click here to see the Do’s and Don’ts of carrying the SENSg device.

Ng Man Xuan, a secondary one student from Hong Kah Secondary School, said that she was motivated to be more active after realising that her step count was below the national average.

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

Students spent an average 1.1 hours outdoors daily. As the experiment took place during the haze and exam period, the daily step count and time spent outdoors could be affected.

Travel Patterns

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

The results also showed that primary school students live nearer to their schools, and travelled an average 2.6 kilometres from their home to school.
Older students tend to live two to three times further away from school, with secondary school students travelling an average 5.1 kilometres and junior colleges students recording an average 8.5 kilometres.

Overall, most students were recorded leaving home from 6:00 am, and returning home between 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. In Singapore, morning school sessions usually start at 7:30 am.


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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

The top three modes of transport that students took were bus, train, and walking. Students who live within 2 kilometres of their schools tend to walk, while students who live further away are more likely to take public transport. A small percentage of students travel by car.

During the experiment, students produced a total of 5.21 tonnes of carbon dioxide from transportation. Forty (40) percent less carbon dioxide would be produced if they all took public transport, while carbon levels would increase 460 percent if all the students travelled by private car.

The average carbon footprint per student daily is 333 grams, which is equivalent to driving a car for two kilometres, running an air conditioner for 30 minutes, or eating 25 grams or one forkful of steak.

Wi-Fi Coverage

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

The SENSg device that the students carried is capable of detecting Wi-Fi coverage, as the device uses Wi-Fi access points to pinpoint its location. The density of the points can be used to indicate Wi-Fi coverage. 1.8 million unique Wi-Fi access points were detected by the SENSg device during the experiment.

However, locations without Wi-Fi access points do not necessarily mean that there is no available Wi-Fi. It could indicate that the students did not travel to these locations, and hence the SENSg devices were unable to pick up Wi-Fi points.

Data generated from the SENSg device includes temperature, humidity, Wi-Fi coverage and
sound. [Video: National Science Experiment]

Data collected from the NSE can help urban planners, as the information generated a picture of Singapore’s temperature, humidity, sound and Wi-Fi connectivity at different times of the day.

Student Projects

Students from different schools undertook their own projects with the data collected from SENSg.

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Students from St Gabriel’s Primary School carrying the SENSg device.
[Photo: National Science Experiments]

Students and staff of St Gabriel’s Primary School took 7 million steps and raised 50,000 food packs for needy families, based on the number of steps they took.

St Gabriel’s Primary School student, Devin Goad, said: “Our school participated in this project. Every 200 metres that we walked, we donated food to the needy families.”

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Hong Kah Secondary School’s students visited the Cloud Forest and measured the ambient
environment with the SENSg device. [Photo: National Science Experiment]

National Science Experiment 2015 (16)
Students from Hong Kah Secondary School  discuss the route of the learning trail in the
Cloud Forest. [Photo: National Science Experiment]

Hong Kah Secondary School students adopted a hands-on approach with the data collected. As part of their school’s Applied Learning Programme in Electronics, students participated in a learning trail to the Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay. Using the SENSg devices, students collected data on the ambient environment in the Cloud Forest.

“Initially our students were puzzled as to why they have to be involved in this programme and what the programme is about. So what the teachers did was engage our students and explain to them the meaning behind it, because we believe that it is important to let our students know why they are doing what they are doing, so they can see the purpose behind it,” said Ms Chua Shi Qian, the head of department for special projects at Hong Kah Secondary School.

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[Photo: National Science Experiment]

As part of the SLA Geospatial Challenge, students undertook other projects as well, based on information collected by the SENSg device. Students from the National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science (NUS High) did a project that enabled them to identify dengue hotspots, while students from Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) St Nicholas Girl’s School identified locations for LED lights or solar panels. North Vista Secondary School’s project identified locations for optimum growth of different species of flowering plants.

The NSE aims to cultivate a keen interested in STEM education in youths.
[Video: National Science Experiment]

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