On June 11, the 2022 Taiwan Science Exploration Fair was held at the National Science and Technology Museum under the theme of "To Do, to Understand." First place in their respective age categories were awarded to Sanyu Elementary School in Taipei, Fo Guang Shan Pu-Men Senior High School–Middle School Division from Kaohsiung, and National Experimental High School at Hsinchu Science Park. National Kuan-Hsi Senior High School in Hsinchu County and Taoyuan Municipal Shou Shan Senior High School shared first place in the Educators category, Shin Min High School in Taichung won first place in the Marine Science category, and Huang Hung-Sheng of An Tse Performance Design Company won first place in the Junior College and Above category.
To promote interest in science, the Taiwan Science Exploration Fair has been held annually for the past nine years. This year's competition, under the theme of "To Do, to Understand," was led by the K-12 Education Administration of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and NARLabs of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and co-organized by the National Center for High‑Performance Computing (NCHC), the National Museum of Natural Science, the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology, the National Taiwan Science Education Center, and the National Science and Technology Museum. In spite of the pandemic, the number of entries rose slightly this year, with a total of 30 teams selected from 1,085 entries in the Elementary, Junior High, Senior High and Vocational School, Educators, and Marine Science categories to advance to the final round.
The competition is based on the concept of scientific exploration, and unlike other science fairs, aims to encourage participants to learn and practice communication skills in scientific narrative. The content of entries in the 2022 Taiwan Science Exploration Fair: To Do, to Understand are left up to the participants, but must be related to life issues. The entries are presented in the form of comics for Elementary participants, research reports for the Junior High, Senior High and Vocational School, and Marine Science categories, Popular Science Articles for the Junior College and Above category, and lesson plans for the Educators category. Videos of three to five minutes are also required for the Elementary, Junior High, Senior High and Vocational School, and Marine Science categories. The top six finalists in each category addressed a variety of life issues with their projects, and their videos were also very enjoyable to watch.
Political Deputy Minister of Education Tsai Ching-Hwa stated that scientific exploration requires the use of systematic thinking to solve problems, whether they are problems faced in life or at work. Systematic thinking for problem-solving involves collecting data to have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the problem. As mentioned in MOE's Curriculum Guidelines of 12-year Basic Education, scientific exploration comprises the ability to solve problems, including observation and collection of data, the formation of hypotheses, and the design of methods to verify the hypotheses, with an emphasis on hands-on investigation.
Deputy Minister Tsai also advised teachers that our future lifestyles will surely be oriented towards team problem solving and that it is important to observe the different traits and abilities of each student in teaching to form well-working teams. We need to let the students form a team dynamic and discuss amongst each other in the process of exploration to understand what they can each contribute to the team. Then, they can put forward some of their own ideas to stimulate the minds of their teammates, which makes a strong and effective team. Deputy Minister Tsai also believes that the Taiwan Science Exploration Fair can help participants better understand the spirit of exploration and hands-on experience, enhance students' skills in scientific narrative, and cultivate interpreters and communicators of science through writing, comics, and videos. In this way, science education in Taiwan can become more diversified.
NCHC Director-General Chau-Lyan Chang indicated that NCHC has been proactively assisting MOST and MOE in promoting science education in recent years in hopes that scientific literacy will firmly take root. Starting in 2014, the Taiwan Science Exploration Fair has been held for nine consecutive years. This year, a record total of 293 schools, 1,085 teams, and 2,173 participants registered for the competition, showing that the competition has gradually helped to promote the practice of scientific exploration. An extra credit system is also in place to encourage more young women, indigenous peoples, and children of immigrants to participate. The number of female participants is now similar to that of male participants at a ratio of 47%:53%, respectively, indicating that the system has been effective in encouraging young women to get involved in scientific exploration. In addition, 18 international teams registered this year, showing that after years of effort, the Taiwan Science Exploration Fair has been gradually extending overseas.