Science can be fun! STEM Olympiad at Nazarbayev University

On November 1-2, 2019, the first Republican STEM Olympiad “STEM – Innovations in Education” was held at Nazarbayev University. The main purpose of this event was to popularize STEM education in Kazakhstan among students in general and specialized schools, as well as search for talented children in such technical areas as engineering, programming, design robotics and 3D modeling.
STEM Olympiad is an innovative educational competition that incorporates all the latest achievements in the field of technical education.  In order to increase the popularity of STEM fields, the olympiad’s organizers used the most recent scientific and technical knowledge to create the competition events, while at the same time focusing on real world applications and using a format attractive to school children.  It is hoped that this event will contribute to the growing popularity of STEM fields in Kazakhstan  so that young Kazakhstanis will develope an interest in technical disciplines.
The event was attended by students from all over Kazakhstan, including from schools of the captial city Nur-Sultan, the cities of Almaty, Pavlodar, Karaganda, as well as from the East Kazakhstan Region.  The event was attended by leading experts and speakers in the field of education, who shared their vision of the development and popularization of STEM education in Kazakhstan.
The Olympiad was held under the auspices of Astana Innovations JSC by Nazarbayev University and STEM Academia LLP, with the support of the Astana Daryny Center for the Development of Giftedness and Psychological Support, GKKP Center for the Modernization of Education and ChU NURIS NU.

For two days, students from all over the republic competed in the ability to apply their knowledge in practice. For example, they had to build bridges from straws that can withstand a weight of 10 kg, build a vessel that can withstand up to 30 kg and float in an outdoor pool up to 20 meters, invent mechanisms to create safe cars, and so on.
  STEM is an integrated learning approach in which academic, scientific and technical concepts are studied in the context of real life. The goal of this approach is to create sustainable links between school, society, work and the whole world, contributing to the development of STEM literacy and competitiveness in the global economy (Tsupros, 2009).