CORAL Primary School pupils beat pint-sized rickshaw pullers, samsui women, and even pirates from other schools to sweep top honours at Little Red Dot's Big Day Out at the National Museum yesterday.

The schools' two teams - dressed to the theme of 'People From Our Past' - took first and fourth prize respectively for completing a scavenger hunt with the most correct answers.

They also won an additional prize for being the best-dressed team.

Champion team leader and 'Japanese soldier' Nathaniel Tan, 12, attributed his team's victory to a recce conducted on Tuesday to familiarise themselves with the premises. 'That helped us find the answers to the riddles more quickly today,' he said.

That extra effort helped his teammates chalk up 73 points out of a possible 96, eight more than the runners-up from tuition centre Mind Stretcher.

The Straits Times' annual scavenger hunt, exclusive to subscribers of the broadsheet's weekly magazine for primary school pupils, was held for the first time at the National Museum.

It involved 172 readers from 12 schools, who spent the morning dashing about solving riddles about Singapore's history and heritage - such as the origin of the name 'tiffin carriers' (British India), and the animal used as a motif on the Chinese opera costumes for male characters (a dragon).

Teams had 90 minutes to find their answers by trawling through relics housed within the museum's five permanent exhibitions: the Singapore History Gallery and four Living Galleries on food, fashion, photography, and film and wayang.

In the process, participants learnt a thing or two about the nation's history.

Brandon Koh, 10, a Primary 4 pupil from Mee Toh School, decked up as a pirate, complete with two toy daggers. 'I read that pirates used Singapore as a hideout in the past,' he explained.

Amy Goh, 12, a Primary 6 pupil from Nan Chiau Primary, who signed up through tuition centre Mind Stretcher, wore her mum's mini-cheongsam to pose as an old-school Chinese teacher. Fittingly, the fashion gallery piqued the interest of the first-time visitor to the museum.

In all, five teams walked away with hampers of exclusive Little Red Dot merchandise including T-shirts, books and Borders bookstore vouchers. Nathaniel's team, comprising Chin Kai Lyn, Marcus Sea, Aqilah Dariah Mohd Zulkarnain, and Anthea Foong, all in Primary 6, also won iPod nano digital music players.

Their proud teacher Gary Peh, 42, praised the event for its learning value. 'If I were to bring them here for just a walk, they wouldn't be as interested in Singapore history,' he said.

Also at the event was Chaitanyasre Lenin, 11, a Primary 5 pupil from Rivervale Primary, who won Little Red Dot's Youth Olympic Games Passport Challenge.

She not only completed its six reading assignments, but also submitted a winning composition which earned her a one-year pass for four to Resorts World Sentosa's Universal Studios theme park. She also won a hamper of Little Red Dot merchandise.

Straits Times editor Han Fook Kwang noted: 'This is what Big Day Out is all about - have fun, work together and complete the game together. I hope the kids learnt something today,' he said.

Big Day Out at museum