Spirit of the Game

The Senior High School Students of Stonyhurst Southville International School-Malarayat conducted a two-day frisbee session held last March 9 and 10 at the football field.

Preparation

As a class, we were given the chance to pick a sport we would like to have as part of our PE. Tennis, Swimming, Horseback riding, Badminton, Baseball, and Frisbee were all suggested, but it was Frisbee that won the votes. At first, there were some negative reactions because it seems to be a sport that is relatively easy to understand and play. But once we started with the technicalities during our own sessions, the class realized that it is an exhausting sport to play because it is like a mix of football, tennis, and basketball. It is a sport that has both a fun and competitive nature. We had several weeks to train ourselves, from the simple drills to the complex strategies, all building up our credibility to host a frisbee session to the students, teachers, and staff of SSIS-M.

Sports Event

What’s Ultimate Frisbee without the Spirit of the Game? One of the things that I admire about Ultimate is that it promotes fair play and camaraderie without a referee involved. Players call their own fouls and are responsible for their own conduct on the field. Aside from working towards improving skills and achieving goals as a team, it is also a sport that helps in building up the integrity of all players inside and outside of the field. Learning from this, the class wanted to share not only the skills that we have but also the spirit that is within us to the entire SSIS community. And thankfully, our sports event was a success. It has brought about a learning experience and a positive atmosphere.

Indeed, Ultimate Frisbee is as much about “the spirit of the game” as it is about the game itself.

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Trust the Esterification Process

Trust the esterification process, but do your research first.

From the experience that I had, I insist that researchers must be knowledgeable and prepared before having a first-hand experience in a laboratory activity. Honestly speaking, my group mates and I (Supernovas!!) lacked background information regarding esterification. I had quite a difficult time understanding the not-so-simple-instructions-at-first-sight and I was overwhelmed by the three (3) acids and five (5) alcohols introduced to us.

But thank God my group mates are the kind of researchers who are resourceful, tactful, willing, collaborative, and inquisitive. They are the ones who would remain calm and see the bright side of every particular challenge in a quest.  So as the lead investigator of the group, I delegated the tasks and made sure that everyone was aware of the process and the results. Bjorn Abueg, the monitor, was assigned in gathering and measuring alcohols; while Qiara Gutierrez, the facilitator, was assigned with the acids. Sofia Torrano, the secretary, was the one in-charge of the labeling, boiling, and jutting down of notes. As a group, we determined the kind of smell produced by each ester. From there, I learned about the process of Fischer Esterification – a reaction of an organic/inorganic acids and alcohol to create water and esters of different aromas.

Moreover, I also learned to heat up the hot plate beforehand as well as to use the glass jars efficiently by putting several test tubes together in one boiling process. By doing so, could save time. I realized from there that learning science requires both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills. Sure, I know about the functional groups and the VSEPR Theory, but do I know how I could apply them? Indeed, laboratory activities transform a passive classroom environment to one that is interactive. It provides a learning experience to students, helping us see the relevance of science to our surroundings and to our everyday life. It enhances our minds to understand complex and ambiguous concepts, engaging ourselves to scientific inquiry.

Although we failed to meet the objectives of synthesizing fifteen (15) different esters, we have learned a lot as a group and as individual researchers. Laboratory activities do have challenges, but it also has opportunities. Just like supernovas, we can create!

FIT TO BE A KING

FIT TO BE A KING

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The Senior High School Students of SSIS Malarayat have conducted a 20-minute Zumba session held last February 7, 2017, at the SSIS gym.

Preparation

There is no other inTENse way to start the tenth year anniversary of the school than to boost the energy levels and heart rates of the SSIS community as one and at its maximum. Physical Education taught us that fitness is a necessary component to our daily lives, one which keeps our body and minds healthy and functioning at its best. And as part of our requirements for the subject, the class have come up to organize a fitness event – Zumba.

Zumba is an aerobic fitness program that incorporates interval training – alternating fast and slow rhythms – and resistance training. Likewise, our Zumba session included five (5) sets: the warm-up, dance 1, dance 2 by Ms. Rizchel, dance 3, and the cool down. The steps we’ve come up for each set grooved to the beats of The Club Can’t Handle Me Down, Fire Burning, a mash-up, Trumpets, and All of Me respectively.

Just like any other activities for the foundation week, our Zumba session took us several days of preparation with enormous amounts of efforts and energy, as well as the trust in the entire process. Of course, we first made sure that we were fit enough to organize such event. And so, we took up one Zumba session of our own as a class. It was definitely exhausting, too exhausting – it became great. The next days were alotted for event planning and designing. The class was divided into two groups: the first one was assigned for the warm-up and dance 1, while the second one was in charge of dance 2 and the cool down. I was part of the first group and it took us a process before we could get everything and everyone in fitness and in finesse. It was at first difficult because for most of us, dancing on stage isn’t what we can be confident of. Yet, we were able to overcome and make it through with what was dragging us down because what’s an SSIS king without the mantra: “No Hesitation”.

February 7, 2017

I think something as wonderful as the feedbacks of the SSIS community about our Zumba session deserves a highlight in this post. So allow me to share with you some of them:

“What I can say about your Zumba session is that Zumba is good for the heart, and the event itself was a very enjoyable way to exercise as you were dancing with a crowd. And lastly, as for your level, you did your best in establishing the Zumba as you care to reach out and help our school kick-off its tenth year with fun and healthiness.” Ian Iglesia (Grade 7)

“The Zumba was great! It was fun and I enjoyed doing it. It was nice to see everyone exercising and working hard but, having fun as well. It was very relaxing and calming and my body felt really refreshed after. I am looking forward to the next time we do Zumba.” Victoria Vistan (Grade 8)

“Zumba was fun though it didn’t last that long. I saw how everyone enjoyed it because I was assigned to cover it. It was a blast.” Shayanne Distura (Grade 9)

“It was very beneficial because it was not only fun, the Zumba also helped us exercise. On the routine, in particular, the steps were more on stretching and it was nice because stretching in the morning helps in keeping the body loose for the whole day.” Stephanie Fong (Grade 10)

“I believe that it was a success since everyone enjoyed the dance moves” Rennier Cuevas (Grade 11)

“After the Zumba, I felt energized. It really feels great to stretch and exercise especially with this weather.” Ms. Jeanne Marie Lago (PE Teacher)

As for me, it took me a hard time to compose a reflection regarding the fitness event that we had; it was even harder than making the dance steps because I was injured and absent on the day of our Zumba session. But what I have learned and what I can share with you is that YOU can be fit because you are born to be one. From what we have experienced and heard, you don’t need to be a great dancer to feel welcomed in a Zumba session. It was all through a mantra and a process. Zumba is for people of all ages! And indeed, it enables us to perform up to our potential.

Even though the class had one less person that day, the fitness event was overall successful. Not only did it show what the class is capable of, but it has also garnered the hearts of everyone.

Cheers to Stonyhurst Southville International School Malarayat’s 10th Year Anniversary!

 

 

 

 

 

Proof, Power, and Passion

“What is out there? How did we get here? What is the world made of?”

The ideas, achievements, and results of science are all human endeavors;  built in our search to answer questions about what makes up everything in the world.  “The Story of Science” is a series that attempts to explain this concept. It shows us a story that moves from the debunked theories of the Greeks and the crazy assumptions of the alchemists in their secret laboratories to the understanding of atoms and its subatomic particles and onto the inventions that has had significant impacts on humanity. Likewise, “The Story of Science” is a human endeavor in proof, power, and passion.

Proof

Alchemy is mainly concerned with the attempts of converting base metals such as lead into gold, the purest metal. A process termed as transmutation. Hennig Brand, an alchemist, theorized that the philosopher’s stone, a substance that reputedly turned base metals into gold, will be extracted from human urine. However, the philosopher’s stone was never found in his experiment, but it produced an element called Phosphorus.

Another scientist in the history of science was philosopher Joseph Priestly. He studied air by heating different substances. One example is red calx or mercuric oxide. In his experiment, mercury turned into a shiny metal and the rest were good air with fiery properties. This air was later named as Oxygen by Antoine Lavoisier. Antoine Lavoisier is a monarch who also discovered another air which is Hydrogen. But unlike Oxygen, it is inflammable. It was obtained after breaking apart Hydrogen and Oxygen from water.

One important process explained in the Story of Science was electrolysis. It is a process that splits a substance by passing an electric current.  Through the electrolysis of potash, performed by the chemist and poet Humphry Davy, he was able to get the element Potassium.

Aside from the discoveries of some elements, the Story of Science also gave proof on the atomic structure. The idea of electrons was first shown by William Crooke’s model or Crooke’s Tube which apparently was not convincing as compared to Joseph John Thomson’s Cathode Ray Tube Experiment. JJ Thomson accurately and delicately explained that electrons made the tube glow and the paddle wheel to spin in the tube.

Power

More importantly, these bodies of knowledge have generated change in the world.  The alchemists contributed the use of intricate laboratory tools and equipment. The roots of a scientific investigation lie in their secret laboratories. Hennig Brand’s discovery of Phosphorus is used to make matches. Furthermore, Lavoisier did Priestly’s experiment in reverse order and found out that after combining the shiny metal and the good air, the red calx or mercuric oxide was again formed exactly the same as before.  This is a fundamental concept that we have today – the law of conservation of energy. Moreover, the discovery of Hydrogen has brought about hot air balloons, which encouraged Napoleon to create a military of it. It is thirteen times lighter than normal air, less dangerous, has huge lifting power, and therefore, it is powerful in today’s society.

The best defense for malaria was also discovered in the history of science. The quinine in the bark of the cinchona tree is the key ingredient against the disease. Because of the failed attempt at the synthesis of quinine, William Perkin was able to create the dye. The production of dye became massive and for that, William Perkin is known as the father of industrial chemistry. Other industrial chemists, on the other hand, have worked out on ammonia which is essential in artificial fertilizers which help in sustaining the global population.

The invention of valves and its evolution to transistors and finally to the microprocessors that we have today were also told in the Story of Science. These inventions came into power because of the understanding of the quantum theory or how electrons behave. Valves, transistors, and microprocessors are used to control the flow of electrons; it amplifies electrical signals in radios, televisions, telephones, etc.

Passion

Though scientists of the history of science had different inventions or even contradicting perspectives such as Niels Bohr’s and Albert Einstein’s, I believe that they all had one thing in common: Passion. A passion for discovering new things from strange and unbelievable concepts. A passion that lead to the spawn of technological advancements. Even though alchemists were described as crazy for their idea of transforming lead into gold, their works have also helped shape the world. Their ideas, achievements, and results were built on their strong sense of enthusiasm and determination to answer questions about what makes up everything in the world. Though the quest they had may seem abstract and theoretical in most cases, it has had the greatest impact on humanity.

 

A Molecular Level of Approach

What if you could visit a place where the quantum laws are obvious? Where people and objects behave like tiny atoms and particles?”

Quantum Leap: The Fabric of the Cosmos explains the reality from a molecular level. To make a better sense of this, let me share to you some insights I gained. So Quantum Mechanics tells us that electrons don’t like to be tied down to just one location or follow just one path. One might even bump through another. Niels Bohr explained that when an atom is heated, electron at ground state becomes agitated that it leaps. With electrostatic force, the electron is pulled back to its first orbital emitting light at specific colors. These spectral lines are the energy given off by electrons leaping between an atom’s orbitals. But electrons goes directly from one orbital to another without moving through the space in between. Bohr believed that the energy of electrons and atoms comes in discrete values called “quanta”. Moreover, electrons sometimes act like particles and sometimes act like waves. This is what the double slit experiment shows. When shot through two narrow slits at a detector, some electrons go straight through (as a particle would) and others exhibit an interference pattern (as a wave would). The pattern formed led us to Max Born’s saying that “electrons are a probability wave”.

Another important concept in the movie is Quantum Entanglement. Entanglement occurs when a pair of subatomic particles interact physically and then become separated. But entangled particles are linked across space. Measuring one instantly affects its distant partner, as if the space between them didn’t exist.

The Quantum Mechanics though debunked and criticized by some such as the famous Albert Einstein, has always been right and used for more than 75 years to predict how atoms and tiny particles behave.

Quantum Leap: The Fabric of the Cosmos is the movie that left me thinking. It wasn’t like any of those movies with happy or sad endings; where a Princess gets to finally meet his Prince charming or where a hero faces death in the end. I must admit that I am not 100% sure as to what extent my understanding of Quantum Mechanics is correct. But it is when things are uncertain that we hope and bring ourselves even closer to fully understanding things. And I believe that this is what makes theories persist. No matter how consistently true Quantum Mechanics has proven to be, scientists are still struggling to figure out completely the rules of the quantum world. What we thought we knew about our universe is wrong and this opens us up to new possibilities, taking us beyond the celestial and macroscopic level.

A Speck of Insight

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At some point in my life, I have asked questions about the origins and purpose of life, the planet Earth, and the universe itself. And I believe that I am not alone in this quest. I believe that most of us, if not all, have undergone the same philosophical questions in life. But all our efforts are used to put up the pieces of an infinite puzzle in place. No amount of research would be able to provide a definite and conclusive answer. We do, however, have theories that attempts to explain the creation of all existence, the most popular of which is the Big Bang Theory.

Back when I was in grade 9, I remember memorizing the periodic table of elements and learning laboratory tools and equipment first before going into the deeper concepts of Chemistry. Back when I was in grade 10, I recall defining terminologies such as work, power, acceleration, mass, etc. first before taking up complex topics in Physics. For grade 11, we are taking up Physical Science. We first watched a movie entitled “The History of the World in Two Hours.” It is intriguing to start with the subject about the Big Bang Theory. It is intriguing because it tells us that before everyone and everything else in the universe, there was nothing but darkness. So allow me to share to you what I already know about the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is a theory that lays the origins and foundations of the universe. It all started 13.7 billion years ago when a tremendous explosion, rather termed as expansion, occurred from a tiny bundle of energy smaller than an atom in our infant universe. All the energy that ever exists or will ever exist was created by then.

380,000 years later, the first atoms emerged. Hydrogen was the first element formed and it is used by the universe to make everything in the world around us.

300 million years after the big bang, gravity continuously squeeze together clouds of gas and dust causing great pressure and heat. When temperature reaches 18 million degrees Fahrenheit, Hydrogen atoms clash to form new energy, stars, and the element Helium.

Aside from light, stars manufacture elements such as 25 of the most common elements we need to live with including Carbon, Oxygen, Iron, and Nitrogen. Some heavier elements like Uranium, Gold, and Copper were created by Supernovas which are stars that exploded. As stars explode and are reborn over the next 8 billion years, enough materials were gathered to create the sun as well as gravity to build the planets. And that is how Earth came to be. However, Earth at its primitive stage was chaotic. It was a world that spins so rapidly that a day lasts for only 6 hours. Its surface was made up of rafts of black volcanic rocks and molten lava, with elements jumbled within.  Gravity puts order to the chaos. Lighter materials drift toward the surface and form a solid crust, while heavier materials sink toward the center forming a molten iron nickel core. This churning liquid metal is responsible for the formation of the Earth’s magnetic field which stretches out into space, protecting our planet from the sun’s harmful radiation.

4.4 billion years ago, Earth was too hot for liquid water to exist, but water vapor steamed in the atmosphere existed. As the Earth cooled down for millions of years, rain poured down which created puddles, lakes, and eventually the ocean.

Oxygen plays important roles in our planet. But it is first important to know that bacteria, by consuming the sun’s energy, forms oxygen. It is also important to know that Earth’s ancient seas are full of iron particles. And so, oxygen fuses with iron which creates rusted iron. This drove the industrial revolution today because these deposits are major sources of iron and steel. However, once there is no more iron in the sea to rust, bacteria will produce a lot of oxygen to the extent that it fills the ocean and escapes into the atmosphere. From then on Earth became a different planet, one like a home to us. Oxygen provided us with an ozone layer to further protect us from harmful rays of the sun, skies and the oceans became blue, lands appeared, and major animal groups evolved.

The History of the World in Two Hours explains the Big Bang Theory – everything and everyone in the universe and on Earth originated from stardust. Almost every element present was formed through the supernovas. And these elements are necessary for our living. Without the occurrence of the supernovas, we wouldn’t have iron in our blood as well as oxygen and carbon to breathe in and out.  Without some of the elements, we wouldn’t have the nutrients that we need. Furthermore, elements which are created by the supernovas allowed for the building of cities and some of mankind’s monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.

Lastly, I have inferred from the film that energy since the beginning of time is conserved for the Big Bang Theory created all the energy that powers the stars which created the elements that we make use today. The formation of the oceans 4.4 billion years ago is an example of how energy is conserved. It goes on a water cycle, just like how it was presented in the film: from water vapor to rain, and then to the bodies of water. All the energy that exists and will ever exist was created by the Big Bang, and in order for creatures to survive they need to grab their share in this energy which is mostly given to us by the sun.

What I already know about the Big Bang is just a speck of insight to the infinite number of ideas that lie around. I must keep my mind expanding and have it radiate unto others. And though our questions and answers won’t lead us to a 100% certainty about the creation of all existence, these are the kinds of pursuit that endure. And that is actually what makes life beautiful – it is and will always be a mystery.  But as star dusts, we have to make use of our energy because the world would be a darker place without it.

 

 

Novelized

Novelized

As literature flourishes, literary theorists have become more vigorous and their studies more rigorous. One example is Mikhail Bakhtin and his essay comparing epics and novels.

Epic is the crowning glory of poetry, most especially during the ancient times. It is a long poem with a heroic focus narrating divine interventions, deeds, and adventures of legendary figures. Common to an epic’s themes is idealism and romanticism. The Iliad composed and written down by Homer sometime between 800-675 B.C. tells us the story of the final year of the Trojan War, a conflict between the Greek hero Achilles and the Trojan hero Hector. The epic involves divine interventions of the Greek gods and goddesses as well as the love of Menelaos and Paris for Helen, whose face that launched a thousand ships.

However, we have moved past the epic era shifting today’s written works to novels. Ever since its rise in the Renaissance, we have become novelized. Novels, just like epics, are capable of elaboration in prose style. But what makes them different is that novels have the ability to engage with the contemporaries and showcase the contemporary reality. Most themes used in novels are realism and modernism. 1984 written by George Orwell during the onset of the Cold War is an example of a novel. It tells us the story of Winston Smith as he struggle and rebel against the tyrannies of the Big Brother in a dystopian society. The novel in 2005, was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923-2005 and in 2003, it was listed at number 8 on BBC’s survey The Big Read. 1984, as a novel, is what is being referred to Mikhail Bakhtin’s “discourse of a contemporary, about a contemporary addressed to contemporaries”. Although reflecting the wars, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation in the society of George Orwell’s time, it is applicable for any contemporaries because it teaches us that dystopian societies are never ideal and in fact, 1984 somehow parallels to the modern world.

Lastly, novels concerns about the present time, thus, it is the means for literary expression in the modern world. Instead of heroes with special powers, the novel features people faced with conflicts; transforming classical heroic journeys into stories of individuals journeying into discovery or self-actualization in the modern world.