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  • Writer's pictureJaslyn Lim

Penang School Maker Fair @ Han Chiang High School

Capital Gains Studio was extended an invitation to participate as an exhibitor at Penang School Maker Fair held at Han Chiang High School on 27th and 28th June 2019, amongst other exhibitors involving IT or STEM (Science; Technology; Engineering and Mathematics) or universities. Penang Innovator 2019 was organised at the same time too, featuring works by primary and high school students.

Han Chiang High School has been around for about a century and strongly believes in experiential learning or active learning. Wongamania: Banana Economy is being used by the school to teach financial literacy to their students in a fun and engaging way. Wongamania is a financial literacy game which blends fun and psychology as well as the educational aspect, covering topics ranging from resource management; budgeting; insurance; investment in various assets classes and the assets’ effects at different stages of the economic cycle. Players have to learn how to manage resources in the game to trigger their interest for real life, which is what the educational part of the game purports to achieve.

The school sprawls over a large compound and the hall saw exhibitors setting up booths along the two sides of the hall as early as 8am. Primary school and high school students commenced setting up their tables, all geared up to showcase their competition entries to the visitors. The Penang Innovator showcase entries were very impressive, considering that they were done by primary or high school kids! They were mostly IT or robotics in nature and those leaving an impression in me included one on composting, as I’m currently into sustainability. The other was a computer maze and something similar to arcade dance steps, such that players had to step to navigate around in order to get out of the maze.

Very soon, the hall was bustling with activity when buses started to arrive, with students and teachers or parents from other Penang schools. Ashley and I were accompanied by CGS partner in Malaysia – Victor and Victoria from Young Elite Society. The four of us took turns to demonstrate how to play Wongamania: Banana Economy throughout the day. The students had fun playing and even lamented that their time at the booth was too short. There was a group of students who had played Wongamania: Banana Economy before and their enthusiasm was contagious! They borrowed our demo set to continue playing even after the event ended in the evening. They also eagerly requested for a tournament and Victor took up the challenge, coming up with ways how to conduct it the next evening.

Day 2 continued with the same, if not more, fanfare. There were more people compared to day 1, possibly due to the fact that it was Saturday. A prize giving ceremony took place in the afternoon as a form of recognition to the outstanding participating items. We cheered along with the rest of the crowd for the winners, feeling inspired and energised.

Finally, nearing the end, when the event was about to draw to a close, the students came back for the tournament. Some tweaks to the game included hidden insurance; an event card every 3rd round and a time limit of 1 minute per player. Two or three games were conducted, due to the size of the group. They played hard and well and it was extremely interesting to hear them debate how to combo (play a series of cards to achieve multiplied effect) or sabotage each other. We gave the winner of each game a Debtzilla plushie, even though to them, it’s the game play that mattered.

Overall, my virgin trip to an event was definitely an eyeopener and inspiring to see the young kids or teens very much involved in learning and even coming up with useful and interesting creations. Looking forward to the next event.


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