Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019 AstroKNOWmy: An Astronomy Quiz Bee

The Judenite’s Astronomical Organization (JAO), which is the first and official astronomical community in Saint Jude Catholic School, has a primary aim of promoting the education, understanding, awareness, and interest involving astronomy among the Filipino youths through various hands-on activities designed to pique their curiosity. In line with our desire to promote astronomy to the Filipino community, the JAO will be organizing a quiz bee entitled “AstroKNOWmy: An Astronomy Quiz Show” at Saint Jude Catholic School on January 24, 2019, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

The nature of the questions of this competition delves more on analytical and computational skills. Hence, the usual competition questions of identification are avoided in this quiz bee because the organizers (yours truly) believes that a true measure of gauging the knowledge of its participants is through knowing the concept more than the terms.  Overall, there are ten categories in this quiz bee namely: Sky, History of Astronomy, Solar System, Astronomy News, Cosmology, Stars, Galaxies, Astrophysics, Theory of Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics.

The program started at around 8:30 AM. The participants were briefed first about the contest mechanics. Furthermore, warm welcomes were given to the participants from Father Emil Lim, Saint Jude's school director. The elimination round started at around 9:30 AM. The final round started at around 1:30 PM due to difficulty in checking the papers. The program closed at around 3:00 PM with a closing remark from Father Paulino Belamide, the school principal of Saint Jude.

Overall, there are 11 schools who have participated namely:
1. Philippine Science High School - Central Mindanao Campus
2. Sta. Lucia High School
3. Unida Christian Colleges
4. Bestlink Colleges of the Philippines
5. Informatics College Caloocan
6. Saint Peter the Apostle School
7. Far Eastern University High School
8. Chiang Kai Shek College
9. Ateneo de Manila Senior High School
10. Philippine Science High School - Main Campus
11. Informatics International Colleges - Cainta Campus 

The top ten finalists are the following:
The winners are:
1. Champion: Philippine Science High School - Main Campus Team C
2. First runner-up: Philippine Science High School - Main Campus Team B
3. Second runner-up: Ateneo de Manila High School Team A

Other pictures from the event:
Registration table. JAO members Curt Bernardo and Diane Tan manning the registration table at the event.
Participants waiting for the program to begin.
JAO members Linnel Sytat and Geanine Balolong playing music for the participants.
Diane Tan leading the prayer for this event
Father Lim's opening remarks. 
Janina Uygongco and Jeremy Ace Ng serve as the host for this event
Participants listening to the contest mechanics. 
Participants going down to the science laboratories for the elimination round
Curt Bernardo guarding the participants for the elimination round
A participant taking the elimination round
From president to liquid eraser carrier real quick.
Checking of elimination round papers
3D printed medals and trophies for this event
Group photo

The goal of this competition is to spread the importance and awareness of people in the field of astronomy and physics. I, together with the organizers, are confident that we are able to achieve this goal because, after the competition, the participants and the coaches are approaching us to ask more about physics and astronomy. Ad Astra per Aspera!

***This is for my IB CAS Requirements
My primary role for this competition is to serve as the overall coordinator for all of the committees of this competition. Because of this, there is a need for me to constantly hold meetings to ensure that everyone is doing their tasks and to make sure that all the details are perfect and running smoothly (communicator and LO5). Not only did my task end here. Aside from the fact that I have to draft the invitational letters and contest mechanics to the different schools, I am also assigned to construct all of the questions for this quiz bee and to verify its accuracy. My integrity is greatly challenged in doing this. Honestly, some of the participants in the quiz bee are my personal friend and I know that they studied hard because I know they want to win this competition. If I am not principled, I would've leaked the questions to them, but since I am principled, I didn't and I am proud of it (principled).

I honestly thought at first that organizing this competition will be easy since I have prior background experiences already when it comes to organizing competition. Little did I know that this undeniably would be the hardest event that I organized. I am confident that since I was able to send the invitational letter to different schools a month prior, a lot of schools would immediately sign up (late November 2018). However, come December 2018, and only one school signed up for the competition and my club moderator and I are really panicking already. There are a lot of questions that ran in my head like, "What if schools weren't able to receive my letters?" to "Are my organizing skills are horrible?" to "Oh I must have done something to receive such little participants." Honestly, the only thing that is keeping me from scraping this competition altogether is my integrity. I am afraid that I will lose my professionalism in my field if I would just announce that I would organize something this day and the following day I would just take my words back. Because of this, since I know that there is no turning back already, I took the risk of not scrapping this competition and I worked hard to get participants. I would constantly resend and resend letters to ensure that schools would be able to receive my letter. Because of this, we invited a total of more than 100 schools. Not only did my problems end here. Since I want the contest questions to be more analytical than identification, and the questions that I am asking are not the usual ones, I have to research a lot. Because of this, I developed more knowledge in the field of astronomy and physics. This is honestly hard to do since I have tons of IA to write. I wished I have nothing to do, but no. IB is so real this year 2. Because of my perseverance and dedication, I was able to overcome these two problems and a lot more problems which arose in this event (LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, knowledgeable, and risk-taker)

Even though I encountered a lot of problems in organizing this event, altogether, I am very happy that I pushed through this despite all of the hardships that I encountered. I can honestly say that after this event, my stress management skills are better. Furthermore, my bad attitude of having a panic attack easily was improved since during the competition, despite some problems surfacing, I was able to remain calm. Last but not the least, the very goal why I organized this event is to spread the importance and awareness of astronomy and physics to the Filipino community. I am very happy that I was able to achieve this.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Mind Museum Field Trip

The Judenite’s Astronomical Organization (JAO), which is the first and the official astronomical community in the Saint Jude Catholic School has a primary aim of promoting the education, understanding, awareness, and interest involving astronomy among Judenites, by providing various hands-on activities, designed to pique the curiosity among its members regarding astronomy. Due to our desire to promote astronomy more to the community of Saint Jude Catholic School, the JAO organized a field trip at the Mind Museum on November 29, 2018, from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Mr. Russel Odi, the club moderator, is the teacher facilitator for this event.

JAO left the Malacanang grounds at exactly 7 am and arrived at the Mind Museum at 9 am.

Science Exhibits at the Mind Museum
The Sky at the Astronomy Section of Mind Museum
For My Love for Fashion
Science Interactive Inside the Museum
Food is Life, but Plants is Lifer (I Know my Grammar)
Since I'm 18 Now
I Saw Barney in the Museum!!!
Largest Seed in the World (Bigger than my Brain)
These Rovers are on Mars Now While You're Reading this

Group Photo

IB Fam

It's so Tiring to Wait

***This is for my IB CAS Requirements:
As evident in my previous CAS engagements, this is not the first time that I organized an activity for my fellow schoolmates to engaged with. However, this is the first time for me to include kids in an activity that I organized. This is a big risk for me that I had overcome because due to my previous bad experiences with kids, I kind of build up this personal phobia which left me scared to interact with kids. Furthermore, I keep telling everyone that in any outdoor activities, there is always a risk associated with it since we are away from our comfort zone with is Saint Jude. Thankfully, due to the rigorous planning that my team and I had prepared, nothing bad happened in this activity (risk-taker, communicator, caring, LO3, and LO5). From time to time, we would make sure that we would update each other about the updates on our specific task for this activity. This gets to show the degree to which we are applying our communication skills for the effectiveness and success of this event, that we had organized. Even though we each one of us had our own IAs and EE to accomplish, but we were able to balance our time well to organize and participate in this event (balanced). This problem in academics is not the only problem we encountered when organizing this event. Due to the transportation problem which I was able to learn only less than a week when this activity was initially scheduled, I have to resubmit and resign a lot of letters. In order for me to do this, I really need to learn how to be patient because it's very tiresome to get an activity to be approved by the school administrators. Because of this, I was able to learn a lot of soft skills such as the best way to deal with kids (LO1, LO2, and LO4).

Even though a lot of people would consider my knowledge of science as adequate already, but still, I would admit that there are still a lot of things that I don't know. In addition, I am struggling with short-term memory loss, and because of this, I constantly have to relearn a lot of things. By visiting the mind museum, I was able to gain more knowledge of science through their exhibitions. In addition, through the various interactives present in the museum, I was able to see in real life some of the scientific processes that are taking place in the theories that I am studying. The effect that this have on me is that I become more inquiring and thinker, which was able to let me gain more knowledge (knowledgeable inquirer, and thinker)

I mentioned in my CAS form 5 that the biggest take that this experience has on me is not the learning of scientific skills, but to enjoy life even though I am busy. As much as I hate to say this, but being an IB student, a lot of times, I feel like I am a robot already. Instead of doing a lot of things because I love them, I am doing it because it is a requirement and I have to pass them. Even though I know that there are really a lot of things which I have to accomplish, whether or not I like it, but still, this shouldn't be a reason for me not to be happy. I realized that I should just look at it in a positive manner because no matter how useless or irrelevant it might be, it can still give me a life lesson. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Scientia 2017-2018

The Trainers' Guild will conduct the annual on-campus science competition Scientia. This competition is to be done by grade level and will end with a grand battle among the winners of each grade level.

Through this competition joined by the Junior High School, it aims to let the students experience joining science competitions, to promote science among the students and to bring out the potential of students in the field of science.

For this CAS experience, I along with other trainers will plan the questions for the competition and at the same time facilitate the event.

The date for our year-level Scientia is as follows:
April 10 - Grade 10
April 11 - Grade 9
April 13 - Grade 8
April 14 - Grade 7
April 17 - Trainees (This is where I'm supposed to participate too, but due to prior commitments, I have no choice but to skip this)
April 18 - Grand battle (Where all of the winners from each year level will battle against each other)

TROUBLESHOOT. I am fixing a technical problem in Scientia. This is because the final round will use Google docs and one of the Google docs on the computer is not working. 

Scenes at the Scientia 2017-2018


GROUPIE. Winners of the Scientia 2017-2018, together with the Science trainees poses for a photo. 

SCORING. Aside from creating questions, my main task for this competition is to tabulate the scores 

***For my IB CAS Requirements

     During one of my Science competitions in UP, Mr. Russel Odi (the teacher supervising the Trainer's Guild) introduced the idea of creating Scientia jokingly. I was with my fellow Science trainees Lance Chua and Curt Bernardo at the time, and we thought, why not? Looking back, I never thought that a simple joke from our teacher can turn this competition into a reality because we are approaching the finals already, and we still have 0 plans at that time. 

     My main assignment in this competition is to produce, and at the same time, verify questions in the four branches of science namely, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. 

      Probably you will think that since I have more or less background in representing the school in different competitions in science, I will not learn any new information already when I will create the questions, but I honestly did. I learn and re-learn a lot of information in Science thanks to this competition. Honestly, I have to constantly re-think and re-ask myself all throughout the duration of planning this event whether or not what I am putting in the competition is accurate or not (knowledgeable, thinker, inquirer, and  LO1). I, together with science trainees, have organized this event even though we are close to our finals already. In addition, this competition is a product of 2 weeks worth of cramming, and we achieved this feat by working collaboratively (balanced, communicator, LO2, and LO3). I honestly didn't encounter any problems in initiating this event. The only struggle that I have to face with is my constant sleepiness and laziness. Every dismissal, I have to stay in school because I just really want to go home to sleep. However, in this CAS project, I hate to stay every dismissal and what's worse is that I have to stay for more than a week. However, I  persevered and I was able to attend a lot of sessions (LO4 and LO5). I know that all of the questions that we are inputting is a product of our own's thoughts (principled). 

     Overall, I am very happy that we are able to push through with this event. Even though we crammed this event for only 2 weeks, but still, we are very happy because we are able to contribute to the entire school our knowledge and passion for science. Most importantly, we are able to spark the interest of my our fellow school-mates in Science and that is what matters. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Practical Astronomy Workshop

     The Judenite’s Astronomical Organization (JAO), which is the first and the official astronomical community in the Saint Jude Catholic School has a primary aim of promoting the education, understanding, awareness, and interest involving astronomy to the Filipino community, by providing various hands-on activities, designed to pique the curiosity among its members regarding astronomy. Due to our desire to promote astronomy more to the Filipino community, the JAO will be organizing an event entitled, “Practical Astronomy Workshop,” which will happen on April 4, 2018, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm at the IB room 8. Aside from this, this event will serve as the training ground for JAO to participate in the Astronomer's Without Border's International Asteroid Search Collaboration the following year.

     This event will consist of three lectures. The first lecture will be about the basics of using the software Astrometrica as a means for astronomers to discover planets and asteroids. The second lecture is about determining the time of the day using the shadow of the sun. the last lecture will be about the basics of setting up an equatorial mount telescope.

     This event is open to all of the members of the high school community of Saint Jude. In addition, there is no registration fee needed in order to participate in this event.

     I am honored to become the speaker for the event. 

     There were more than 10 participants who registered for our event with Mr. Russel Odi, my astronomy mentor at Saint Jude as the facilitating teacher for the event. 

SURPRISE YOU MADE A DISCOVERY! Pictures during the first part of the event series where I am teaching the participants how to use the software Astrometrica on how to discover an asteroid. 

IT'S 5 O'CLOCK. Pictures during the second part of the event series where I am teaching the participants how to determine the estimated time using the four fingers.

OMG I SAW SOMETHING. Pictures during the third part of the event series where I am teaching the participants how to assemble a telescope with equatorial mounting. 

(For my IB CAS requirements; this includes the evidence and the reflection of the CAS experience)

     Last March 2018, I looked back at the original documents where I first proposed the Judenite's Astronomical Organization to the entire school community. Suddenly, the list of activities caught my attention because I realized that there are still three remaining activities that I proposed at the start of the school year that we haven't done. This really alarmed me because, considering the fact that I am not even sure that there will still be a Judenite's Astronomical Organization the following year, I have to ensure that JAO will complete all of the activities that I proposed before the start of the school year, so that I can leave the organization that I have started peacefully.

     Because of this, I decided to launch this activity in order for me to fulfill all of the activities that I have proposed at the start of the school year. 

     We named the workshop practical astronomy workshop because these things can be applied to our everyday lives. 

     Even though in order for me to prepare this event, I have to spend my personal time to prepare that everything is in place, I am still very happy about this. I feel like even though I lost a countless number of sleep hours, it is worth it because I was able to share my knowledge and personal experience in SGAC's IASC to my members. 

     At the end of this activity, I was able to achieve LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, and LO5. In addition, I was able to exhibit the traits of knowledgeable, balance, inquirer, communicator, and thinker. I know that observational astronomy is not my forte because I have short memory loss, but this activity allowed me to appreciate observational astronomy more (LO1, knowledgeable). In order for me to ensure that all of the things and information that I am disseminating to my members, I have to spend a lot of time studying and reviewing about how to assemble a telescope, how to operate Astrometrica again, and how to estimate time using the sun. Mind you this is not easy. Other people have their parents and teachers who are always there for them if they need help, but I don't. I have to learn everything on my own (LO2, LO4). I planned this CAS creativity experience together with my members at JAO, even though we have a lot of academics that we are also busy with (communicator, balanced, LO3, and LO5). 

     Overall, I am very happy that I pushed through with this event even though I have many uncertainties before. When I am sharing my knowledge in Astrometrica to the participants, I got into thinking and inquiring about things in Astronomy such as what are the other functions in the software and how far can our telescope manage to see. This activity is definitely the start of me delving also into the field of observational astronomy.