Jointly with the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering, the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Observatory organized a 'Rain Gauge Design Competition' early this year. The competition is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The awards ceremony was held today (9 September) at Theatre P3 of the Chong Yuet Ming Science Buildings, University of Hong Kong.
The objective of the competition is to enhance the knowledge and interest of information technology and meteorological instrumentation among primary and secondary school students in Hong Kong. The theme is chosen in view of the human reliance on water as an essential element of life. At any time and anywhere in the world, people have always been curious about the natural phenomenon of rain. The measurement of rainfall alone has become a kind of special knowledge. To enhance participants' understanding of the various methods of rain measurement, the Hong Kong University and the Hong Kong Observatory had organized a series of talks, workshops and visits earlier in the year so as to familiarize the students with the topic and enable them to be more creative and accurate when designing their attractive rain gauges.
Altogether more than 110 students from 16 schools ranging from Primary 5 to Form 7 took part in the competition. The more than 20 entries take on various designs and shapes, ranging from simple containers to very unique designs as well as automatic recorders. They amply demonstrate the students' ability and creative ideas in their application of meteorological measurement and information technology.
In the awards ceremony today (9 September), Prof. T.S. Ng, Dean of Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, praised students for their engineering creativity in the design and implementation of a wide variety of rain gauges. The products have been carefully calibrated, their hardware and software beautifully engineered, and their work elegantly presented. All these show that they are the engineers and scientists of our next generation.
Mr. C.Y. Lam, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, remarked on the occasion "I greatly appreciate the effort and ideas of the students. Measuring rain looks like a simple task, however it actually involves subtle planning. The students would be able to learn a lot from the competition including the rigour required in science, the need to learn from failures in order to succeed and the task sharing among schoolmates. All these are invaluable experiences. I highly encourage the students to treat this participation as a starting point and be prepared for more explorations and innovations in the future."
The Champion of the Junior category is a team of primary five students from C.& M.A. Chui Chak Lam Memorial School. Mr. Cheng Ka Lok, the supervisor of the team, was both surprised and delighted at the team's performance. He said that the team members were all from the same class. They worked close together for the competition. The students collected rainwater with their rain gauge and measured the rainfall everyday. The calculations involved had not been taught during class and yet Mr. Cheng was pleased that the students were able to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. Dr. Yip Chi Lap, one of the judges from the Department of Computer Science, the University of Hong Kong, indicated that the team was the first to submit their product. What makes it really commendable is that they were able to provide one and a half month's worth of test data.
The Champion team of the Senior category is from Tin Shui Wai Government Secondary School. The team has only two students as members, the smallest among the groups. Their supervisor, Mr. Tse Ming Wai, said that the students were aware of only a few designs for automatic rain gauges at the beginning of the project. However, after research on the web, they found that there existed quite a number of ways to make rain gauges. Hence, the students decided to design a rain gauge that would incorporate the advantages of different types of rain gauges. Mr. Tse commended his students for their tenacity. In the few months after their public examinations, the team worked everyday in the laboratory to test and improve the different parts of their design. As Form 7 students, they had a higher expectation of themselves in view of their better understanding of science. They spent more than a month to carry out experiments to find out the relationship between the water drop size and the water level inside the rain collector. This way they improved their design until satisfactory results were obtained. He hoped that the rain gauge could be put into practical use.
The list of awards of the 'Rain Gauge Design Competition' is as follows:
Champion: Tin Shui Wai Government Secondary School
First runner-up: Ying Wa College Ying Wa Team A
Second runner-up: Wah Yan College, Kowloon
The most innovative award: Tin Shui Wai Government Secondary School
The most accurate award: Wah Yan College, Kowloon
The most attractive award: Ying Wa College Ying Wa Team A
Merit awards: Immaculate Heart of Mary College ,
Ying Wa College Ying Wa Team B
Champion: C.& M.A. Chui Chak Lam Memorial School CCL
First runner-up: Canossa College B-rainy
Second runner-up: Five Districts Business Welfare Association School Little Raindrop
The most innovative award: Canossa College B-rainy
The most accurate award: C.& M.A. Chui Chak Lam Memorial School CCL
The most attractive award: Ying Wa College Ying Wa Team C
Merit awards: Yan Chai Hospital Law Chan Chor Si College Rainbow,
Good Hope School ,
Holy Trinity College ,
Buddhist Wong Sewai Memorial School
Figure 1: Prof. T.S. Ng (rightmost), Dean of Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, and Mr. C.Y. Lam (leftmost), Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, presenting award to the students of the Senior Champion Team, Tin Shui Wai Government Secondary School. The rain gauge of the Senior Champion Team is at the front right of the photograph.
Figure 2: Mr. C.Y. Lam (leftmost), Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, presenting award to the teachers and students of the Junior Champion Team, C.& M.A. Chui Chak Lam Memorial School.
Figure 3: Mr. C.Y. Lam (third left), Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, and the judges - Dr. C.L. Yip (leftmost), Department of Computer Science and Dr. Y.S. Hung (second left), Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering of the University of Hong Kong appreciating the rain gauge of the Senior Champion Team with participating students.