The following are the reflections and outputs of those who attended the 2016 ISIP Discovery Science Camp:
Connections made through science
How a science camp emphasizes the role of teamwork in science
“I am among those who think that Science has a great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician, he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairytale.”
It was the usual first day of June and instead of lying on my bed reading Game of Thrones, here I was, standing at the front lobby of Philippine Science High School-Main Campus to learn more and appreciate Science. Discovery was certainly not the first camp I had ever attended, but by far, it was undoubtedly the best. I joined for learning, but it gave me more than just that.
INTROVERT NO MORE
If you had never been into a camp, I’ll tell you that the first day was reserved for getting to know the other campers that you would go along with for the rest of the camp. As an introvert, socializing was never been my favorite. Here, I got to meet diverse group of people, from campers to facilitators and volunteers talking and having same interests as mine. In the next few hours, I found myself enjoying playing board games with other campers- as if I already knew them before.
THE FEATHER AND ROCK
As far as the whole camp was concern,ed I classified it into feather and rock.
The feather stands for team building activities integrated with Science including the agham-azing race, workshops, quiz bees, night exploration and stargazing- the lighter part of the camp. These activities absolutely stripped off the stereotype of Science as boring and grueling subject. As a matter of fact, it was nothing but exciting and amusing.
Marie Curie once said, ‘I am among those who think that Science has a great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician, he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairytale’. If you don’t believe me, grab a cornstarch and water with 3:1 ratio and hit it hard during hell weeks, or look through a telescope and count the visible satellites of Jupiter; in case a telescope was not accessible, just lie down on the field and get fascinated to the thousands and millions of twinkling stars spreading across the sky.
Now, the rock was obviously the heavier one. This feature called Project Pitch challenged the campers to think outside the box and create both efficient and effective solutions to real-life problems such as to what we were now facing, the climate change. After identifying problems in their respective communities and localities, the campers shared ideas and later on proposed projects on how to sustain the use of food, water, and energy resources in the environment- the theme of this year’s Project Pitch.
MORE THAN SCIENTIFIC LEARNING
Ephemeral V.S. Eternal
All activities were organized in such way that you were really having fun while learning. It would teach you that you could actually invent something while you were bored in class like Mr. Stone of Princeton University who discovered hexaflexagons, or pi was not just a food (pun intended), or an owl could eat a snake! (Like, during the Agham-azing Race, there was this station in which you have to use all the strings and connect the organisms to make a food web. We spent most of our time arguing whether or not the eagle could eat the wheat or an owl could eat the snake. Needless to say, after that activity, I never looked at the food web the same again.)
It made me hypothesize that if Science would be teach in any of these approaches or in any creative way possible, then maybe more generations of today would learn to see the elegance of Science rather than to inculcate misconceptions about it into their minds. As for common fallacies, Science was not only for scientists but for everyone to understand and enjoy. It was not found only in the four corners of laboratories with mind-puzzling apparatuses but even in the fields, oceans and skies. The whole earth and universe was in fact, everyone’s workplace and the only limit was one’s imagination.
Above anything else, this camp established ties and created bonds. Sure enough academic learning was important but nothing could replace character and attitude. It was with my firm belief that the activities would not be fruitful without teamwork and camaraderie. There, you would find people cheering up for you whenever you failed and would help you rise instead.
This camp had also made us realized that Filipinos possessed one of the most creative minds in the planet. The potential of our young scientists to make change was enormous and that in an era where learning was at hand, no one could make excuses for not being able to solve problems we were currently facing.
The past six days were one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. I was also positive that eventually this could build a culture of science in the Philippines and would dump all misconceptions about Science. The camp has ended by now, yet I’m certain learning and discoveries would not stop. Before I forgot, I’m already looking forward to next year’s DISCOVERY!