Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
03 May, 2021


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MISSION CONTROL CHALLENGE: 2021 NAE SEA Virtual STEAM Festival Students from eleven Nord Anglia schools located in seven countries across Southeast Asia participated in the first-ever Virtual STEAM Festival.

Eight students from NAIS Manila were selected to participate in the first-ever virtual Nord Anglia Education Southeast Asia STEAM Festival. 

STEAM, an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Maths, is an integral focus at our school. We believe that, by engaging students in STEAM activities, we will equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills required to be successful innovators in a 21st-century workforce.


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Over the course of the two-day event, students from eleven Nord Anglia schools located in seven countries across Southeast Asia participated in the first-ever Nord Anglia Education Southeast Asia Virtual STEAM Festival.

They were tasked with a range of challenges that were based on the concept of Mars exploration, which was inspired by the challenges set by MIT on Global Campus. The children were required to use a range of skills, which are linked to the Nord Anglia Learner Ambitions, to solve a series of complex challenges.


Main Challenge: Designing a Mars Habitation Unit

After a welcome assembly, the students were tasked with designing a Mars habitation unit to accommodate sixteen members of the exploration team. They had to account for the living conditions on Mars, as well as the basic needs of the guests.

Split into two groups of four, the children’s teamwork was immediately apparent as they each took ownership of their own responsibilities: researching conditions on Mars, designing vehicles, inventing an ‘Electric Pod’ and creating 3D prototypes on Minecraft.

The opportunity to collaborate with schools from across the region was a hugely beneficial experience, as it enabled the children to share feedback with our buddy school, the British School of Kuala Lumpur.

This was the main challenge and the students were able to work on it for the entirety of the festival. Hats off to Josh and Joshua for their creative designs!

Short Challenge 1: Mars Rover Rescue

Throughout the festival, the children were presented with a number of spontaneous ‘Short Challenges’, which were designed to test their problem-solving skills and teamwork under time pressure.

The first challenge was the Mars Rover Rescue. The children were informed that the rover had broken down and needed to be re-coded before an incoming sandstorm arrived!

It was Santia’s time to shine, as she wrote code using Scratch, as well as creating an excellent stop animation movie to demonstrate the path required to avoid the hazards.

Short Challenge 2: Press Release

In the middle of the Mars Rover Rescue, Station Commander McGuinness (Mr. McGuinness to us at NAIS Manila) presented another challenge to the team: to write and record a press release to provide an update of events to their audience back on Earth.

As you will see in the video below, Dravya, David, and Claire stepped up superbly to produce media broadcasts that were clear, calm and concise.

Short Challenge 3: Scrambled Messages

On the second day of the festival, the group was given their final challenge – to crack the code of a hidden message.

Our budding scientists were able to reveal the message… Can you?



At the end of each challenge day, students record and reflect on their learning. 

Overall, we can say that the eight team members from NAIS Manila did the school proud. Their behaviour throughout was exemplary and they used their teamwork and ingenuity to complete all of the challenges successfully.

A huge ‘Well Done!’ to all involved and a special mention must go to Mr. McGuinness, who co-organised the event alongside STEAM coordinators from NIS, Cambodia and BIS, Vietnam.

We can't wait for a bigger and more challenging STEAM festival for 2022.

Authored by:

Richie rgb

To learn more about our STEAM Programme in collaboration with MIT, follow link below.