Pupils place on their contemplating caps (and farmer hats) for classes on foodstuff security

How do we introduce the principle of food items stability to pupils as young as in Primary 4? What can they do to assist Singapore reach its ‘30 by 30’ initiative?

3 educational facilities exhibit how classes on meals security can be folded into Science, Technological innovation, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lessons. From understanding about distinct farming techniques to making their have vertical farms, the winners of NIE’s Empowering STEM Education Gurus Programme (ESEPP) inform us how students are concerned in this endeavour.

By Jacquelyn Ng

You could have read about Singapore’s ’30 by 30’ initiative. It is the country’s energy to establish up our capability and potential to create 30% of our dietary demands by 2030.

What component do pupils engage in in this?

A lot, say the industry experts at the National Institute of Education (NIE). Understanding Singapore’s vulnerable placement when it arrives to our foodstuff resources could encourage them to come up with artistic alternatives on how to make our personal foodstuff. This will bode well for their finding out and contributions to Science, Know-how, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

With this premise in mind, NIE organised the Empowering STEM Education and learning Professionals Programme (ESEPP) final 12 months. The problem was for academics to style a 12-week lesson bundle linked to the topic of Edible Landscapes, integrating at minimum two subject matter disciplines this kind of as Maths, Science, Humanities, or even the Languages.

“It gives prospects for learners to make connections amongst distinct disciplines. They also study to make ground breaking remedies that can be applied in genuine-entire world scenarios. We will continue on to share these lesson suggestions with the local community of educators who are eager on integrated STEM finding out,” says Ms Winnie Liang of Cedar Girls’ Secondary.

Three winning groups – from Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah (principal faculty classification), Peirce Secondary and a mixed team from Cedar Ladies Secondary and Dunman Secondary College – speak about the effect of their lesson deals on their college students.

Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah

“How can we lead to the offer of veggies for the canteen sellers?”

At the Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah, each Key 4 class was assigned an edible class back garden. The target? To harvest the greens for canteen sellers.

Pupils were eager to start out the problem, fired up at the prospect to improve their individual edible plants. To comprehend why they ended up embarking on the venture of harvesting, pupils have been released to the matter of foods sustainability and why this is critical to Singapore.

Science instructors then taught pupils to recognize unique vegetation, including different plant components. They also learnt primary gardening abilities these as planting and how germination functions. 

Madrasah Edible Garden 1 (2)A studying centre was set up to showcase a selection of vegetation, and what students can expect to see following sowing the seeds and stems.


An engineering part was also introduced where by college students developed self-watering containers, and landscaping techniques arrived into engage in when they produced a blueprint of the proposed structure of their edible yard.

They have been also guided on a variety of kinds of farming, these kinds of as aquaponics, hydroponics, and vertical farming, which they recorded in their journal. This study gave them insights into the ideal varieties of farming to resolve the difficulty, including the option to merge farming sorts.

By charting their plant progress on Google sheets for the duration of ICT lessons, college students have been also supplied arms-on encounter to meaningfully present authentic data.

Madrasah Edible Garden 2 (2)A self-watering procedure developed by learners applying an inverted plastic bottle.


“While tending to the edible class back garden, some teams have been above-zealous in watering the vegetation, which did not survive as a final result,” says Ms Nurul Iffa Omar, a Science instructor who was portion of the group. They were discouraged by that, or if other stems and seeds they planted took a even though to germinate. This gave them a further appreciation of the journey from farm to fork, while also understanding values this kind of as perseverance and tolerance.”

“It was heartwarming to see learners increase in excitement around the 12 weeks. It was not uncommon for them to talk to their Science lecturers, immediately after class ended, for ideas on how they could make improvements to the final result of this task. For the duration of English classes, lecturers encouraged learners to organise and express their planting practical experience coherently and expressively,” she provides.

“Students had a countdown to harvest day and could not prevent speaking about it. Further than the bountiful harvest, we are glad that this knowledge assisted them integrate understanding and techniques from various subjects, and promoted a perception of inquiry by means of investigative function!”

Peirce Secondary Faculty

“How can we enhance the yields of vertical farms?”

At Peirce Secondary College, college students are no stranger to environmentally friendly spaces in their faculty, which properties a Sky Garden and partitions of vertical plant shelves. These shelves can’t be missed – they line the school corridors, laden with plants that offer you cooling shade from the sun. These plants can also be harvested for use.

For the ESEPP obstacle, Science trainer Ng Bing Fu posed this dilemma to the Secondary 2 learners: What can we do to strengthen the style of vertical farms, notably to increase creation produce?


Peirce Secondary Edible Landscapes 2Students tend to the plants on the lots of shelves that line the college corridors.


Operating in teams of five, college students sought to develop a vertical farming answer which generates the highest generate of crop for each unit land place. They began by observing videos about sensible farming in Singapore, and how the use of synthetic intelligence optimises development problems for crops.

They quickly arrived to realise that there was much to look at: from the design of the vertical farm, to the placement of the prototype, even the quantity of soil their style demands. 

Peirce Secondary Edible Landscapes 1 (2)Layout of vertical farming prototype created by the learners for the duration of their brainstorming stage

These variables would have an effect on the price tag-performance of their layout, as every pack of soil would price tag 5% of the team’s earnings. What is extra, the placement of the team’s prototype would also be established as a result of a bidding method, exactly where the optimum bidder would have first dibs on the area. These ‘costs’ would aspect into the tabulation of effects, which takes into thing to consider team’s paying and farming output.

During Science lessons, learners were presented basic products to establish preliminary variations of their models. Some learners regarded as creating a drinking water assortment method to minimise drinking water wastage. Maths instructors also guided students on the use of many mathematical designs on the calculation of gain and reduction in the running of their vertical farms.

Peirce Secondary Edible Landscapes 1

 The team’s vertical farming prototype in action, which was put straight under the sunlight for highest charge of photosynthesis for a probably higher yield.


“By partaking in the STEM job, college students also value the willpower of Science as a way of thinking and executing,” suggests Mr Ng. For example, pupils ought to carry out experiments to test their prototype design prior to they interpret data and commence development of the vertical backyard.

“Time is set aside for tinkering and self-directed finding out. These aspects of maker instruction encourage creative imagination and curiosity. These are capabilities that pupils can carry with them long just after the completion of this venture.”

Cedar Girls’ Secondary and Dunman Secondary

“How do the distinctive perspectives surrounding food items stability for Singapore have an impact on our farming options?”

A discussion concerning two lecturers from Cedar Girls’ Secondary and Dunman Secondary resulted in a mixed group entry for the ESEPP challenge, wherever the lesson program could be enacted in both equally faculties.

The teachers desired to help their learners to better handle Singapore’s foodstuff stability issues by adopting distinctive views on the concern.

In their lesson plan, pupils were being asked to take into consideration the feasibility of the ’30 by 30’ initiative from the viewpoint of an aspiring urban farmer, the govt, a middle-money Singaporean, and a community vegetable provider.

The pupils researched about how the ’30 by 30’ food stuff creation focus on would have an impact on the lives of their assigned stakeholder. By reading opinions from netizens and information article content, and interviewing loved ones users and area stallholders, they grew to become far more aware of the complexities of the food goal. It was not a basic case of just rising far more greens.

“For case in point, college students located out that Singaporeans are informed that local develop is fresher, and contributes to the community economy. But buyers balk at the selling price tag which is up to 20 for every cent extra than imported deliver,” points out Ms Winnie Liang, who was aspect of the crew from Cedar Girls’ Secondary.

To include on the historical standpoint, throughout Record and Social Studies lessons, lecturers underscored the importance of self-reliance by highlighting Singapore’s expertise all through the Japanese Occupation. Much more not too long ago, the subject matter of food stuff disruptions induced by the Covid-19 problem came up in class also.

The learners then connected their finding out back again to their structure of an edible landscape in school. For case in point, they discussed how they could pick out vegetables for a plot dimensions and locale that a farmer will nevertheless gain from, at a selling price that prospective buyers are keen to spend.

“This served college students have an understanding of the problems of analyzing what is great for a society due to the fact of competing interests, as trade-offs have to be created in controlling these interests. The venture nudged them to consider common standards in selection-generating these as charges, acceptance, sources, time and house,” suggests Ms Liang.

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