IN LINE with the ideals of National Women's Month, girls dominated the yearly Blue IQ Smart Young Mindz Challenge held in Johannesburg at the weekend.

IN LINE with the ideals of National Women's Month, girls dominated the yearly Blue IQ Smart Young Mindz Challenge held in Johannesburg at the weekend.

Smart Young Mindz seeks to demystify mathematics, science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Pupils in grades 8, 9 and 10 are motivated to investigate problems, wants and needs in their communities and generate ideas for commercially viable products or services.

The SYM competition aims to stimulate interest among learners in the fields of maths, science, technology and entrepreneurship by encouraging them to submit smart business ideas.

Pupils from The Way Christian School each walked away with R7500 plus a laptop after winning first place in the 2009 Smart Young Mindz Competition.

First place winners Kathleen Butler, Amy Lochner, Estelle du Plooy, Pamela Cloete and Danica van der Waag, all aged between 14 and 16, designed an impressive alternate renewable energy source, which their spokesperson described thus: "When our electro-magnetic generator is placed under the surface of a busy highway, electricity will be produced as vehicles travel over the device. This invention is eco-friendly."

Second place went to Willowmore High School's Chloe Melissa Fynn, Reshen Pillay, Kaviesh Gopal, Safeega Mohamed and Zainab Karolia, who each received R5000 plus a high-tech cellphone.

They designed an electro-plate that can be placed in areas of high pedestrian movement and which Pillay described as follows: "As you step on the plate it applies pressure downwards, forcing a magnet through a copper coil - electricity will be generated and stored in a convertor for future use. The best news is that we are using ourselves as a resource to generate electricity."

Third place winners from Roshnee Secondary School all received R2500 plus a digital camera. They are Mohamed Areff, Muhammad Monga, Suhail Ismail, Himal Gangaram and Zaheer Adam.

They designed a solar powered device that generates power for street lights.

A total of 45 highly innovative projects by more than 200 young participants were displayed at Vodaworld in Midrand, coinciding with the Gauteng department of edu cation's Education Week, designed to highlight the latest learning and teaching trends.

Speaking at the culmination of several month's work by pupils, teachers and senior GDE officials, Blue IQ and Sowetan and Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building representatives, Gauteng MEC for economic development Firoz Cachalia said: "I think all of these ideas are creative, innovative and commercially viable, and if we were to implement them to scale they would have a huge impact in addressing service delivery issues."

After having gone around and looked at the pupils' various projects, Cachalia said: "They are tremendous and it puts a smile on my face and gives me a sense that the country has the people to make the progress that we all desire."

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