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Students Learn Science The ISIP Way

ISIP is the first Science Camp of Integrating Science in the Philippines.  It aims to start a community of Filipino youth who have a deepened appreciation for science.

Goran Tomacruz, Camp Director, talks about what transpired this summer in the very first

Integrating Science in the Philippines Camp held at the Philippine Science High School Main Campus in Diliman, Quezon City, last May 18 to 22, 2015.

Goran's point of view:

“I'm not that smart to study science. Nosebleed. 'Yung matatalino na lang,” some people I know would say. After months of trying, I thought that I could never prove them wrong. But after a surreal Discovery Science Camp 2015, I realized that my friends and I could change that.

Discovery Science Camp 2015 is a collaborative project between Integrating Science in the Philippines and Philippine Science High School – Main Campus that aims to increase the science appreciation and skills of 29 high school students from the Philippines, including students from SOCCSKSARGEN, Nueva Ecija and Batangas. The camp was facilitated by recently graduated PSHS-MC students with the guidance of the school's faculty and staff.

The theme of the camp is to use the Scientific Method to solve Climate Change and Disaster Risk. The students were immersed in a five-day experience packed with lessons, activities and challenges. However, what sets this camp apart from other science camps is that we, the organizers and facilitators, use informal learning to teach science. We set a friendly and cheerful atmosphere in the camp with team activities, movies and game nights, but we also push the campers' scientific abilities to their limits to enhance their mental skills and creativity with workshops and project making. We also gave them refreshing programs such as a workshop quiz bee, hands-on activities and stargazing.

The preparation for the camp was extremely challenging. This camp was a first for all of us, especially a camp that lasted five days long, so organizing it took a lot of weeks of brainstorming. We were building and editing and dropping countless ideas for the camp, hoping to give the students the experience we promised. Week after week, we would build and finalize the program, even during camp week. While the students were sleeping, the facilitators and I would continue to edit the activities and make them more feasible and entertaining. And through all the struggles, mistakes and triumphs of our preparation, we learned new skills and lessons along the way.

Personally, I enjoyed every single day of the camp. I loved how the students were eager to learn and explore the campus with their new friends. I was amazed by their efforts to understand some data from scientific articles and communicate them into a story everyone can enjoy. The research and investigatory project proposals they produced under a lot of time pressure were so good and creative that it shocked us all. The campers were also very enthusiastic during the team activities, and it was very inspiring to see students from varying schools doing the same things we were interested in. This experience gave me a new perspective about the science community and I made lasting friendships and memories.

Overall, the science camp was successful. The campers and facilitators had a memorable, fun and challenging learning experience. Although it was very exhausting to manage and we made some mistakes, it was worth the trouble and we will keep on getting better on the science camps to follow. I feel proud to be a part of this life-changing event. There are a few camps that can fill you with wonder and understanding about science, and I believe this is one of them.

- Goran Tomacruz, Camp director 

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