Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Science Project

We really had fun at the recently ended Enviro Life-Science Event 2009 at Sonny's school a fortnight ago.

The event was a short half day, but the preparations behind it was tremendously intensive, much to Wifey's and my expectations of what it entailed when we volunteered to take charge of designing, making and decorating our DSP or Dedicated & Supportive Parents' booth.

Like previous year, we mooted the idea we already thought of many months back, the theme of learning to care for the environment. We came out with the theme "7th Heaven @ Home, Nation & World."

Unlike last year, we brought the message forward... literally.

We suggested to the parents at the meeting many weeks preceding to the event, that the posters and the handicrafts made from recycled materials be showcased right in front of our booth instead of at the back, exactly like a backdrop and nothing more.

With that, we came out with the 3 towers for Home, Nation and World. Each tower showcased the different ideas, technologies and efforts needed at all these levels to save our environment while we continually live and consume the planet's resources.

The Home tower brought the message of the single acts an individual can do at home to be eco-friendly... The Do's and Don'ts, and promote recycling.

The Nation tower showcased the efforts our country has put in place to develop and yet be green at the same time. From public transport to replacing conventional to renewable energies.

The last but most importantly, the World tower showcased the various different technologies to harness renewable energies to be sustainable without depleting the planet's resources.

Also included for the World tower was a new way of thinking to resolve many technical problems by learning from nature... called Biomimicry from the Biomimicry Institute.

Instead of just learning about nature, we now learn from them to resolve or enhance our technical problems since nature has already resolved them for millions of years.

All these information were intended to let the visiting students, teachers and parents that saving the planet will have to start with each one of us first, however little our contribution is.

To achieve to drive that message effectively, we wanted visitors to get up close to the displays to read and get reminded. To touch the handicrafts and get interested to make their own with the readily recycled materials they can find available in their homes that are normally discarded without a single thought.

With the group's blessings and support, Wifey and I started our work straight away.

We gathered information from sources like Sonny's school text books, environmental magazines and pamphlets, and official eco-friendly websites both local and from various agencies around the world.

The research took a lot of time but the toughest part was to compress the vast information collected into simple, summarized paragraphs to fit each A4 sized paper acting as posters with relevant pictures included.

Each poster needed to have concise information... eye-catching enough to attract attention and appealing enough to be read by all visiting demographics.

Making the props was the most interesting part of the project for me. Though a tough homework was cut out for both Wifey and I... started the project as soon as I reached home from work after having dinner.

We stayed late through each night, finishing little by little until completion. It was worth the effort when we saw the outcome as a result of our labor.

The best solution was when one of the DSP parent gave us rolls of used and discarded national day canvas banners. True to our recycling efforts, we used the white back of the banners as our backing for the posters on the towers and the panel backdrop.

That saved a lot of hassle with the material to use and enabled us more creative freedom and flexibility especially to design the backdrop for our booth. It turned out quite nicely... better than we expected and gave a "pro-like" finish to our project if I might add.

The canvases used had allowed easy installation during the night before the big event. We marked all the posters in place for each of the canvas and pasted the posters there simply. The canvases can be reused again and again for future projects too.

This time around, the props were even larger and more, yet the set-up time took us only about 2 hours, half than what it took last year when we set up our "Saving Gaia" booth for the same event.

We even made trivial quiz based on the posters information with prizes donated by NEA via the school to be won!

And precisely because of that, we were both roped-in by the other few parents that night to make an impromptu skit dedicated to the school's principle. She was leaving the school after 9 years of commendable work there for a higher position as Cluster Superintendent. She will be in charge of the 8 secondary schools in the west zone.

The event on the very next day was another successful one!

More organized and true to my expectation, visitors actually read the posters and touched the handicrafts and got interested to do their own version with the recycled materials provided and guidance from attending parents at our booth.

We have to admit that we had the largest area for our booth with the amount of props and handicraft activities for the visitors. The backdrop and especially the eco-friendly message posters were very much interested by the many teachers.

I kept noticing that they took pictures of the towers and individual posters with their camera and phones. Wifey and the other parents were as usual, busy attending to the crowds with their handicraft making.

We were not disturbed by their act but felt honored instead that those teachers found our work to be worthy of being a teaching material for their school. I was very happy to see more and more of the teacher doing the same exact thing.

At one point, a teacher approached me, interested to know more about us. She thought that we were from a visiting environmental company or agency. She thought that we were from National Environment Authority or NEA!

What an honor!

She said the whole display looked so professional... not "home made" when we told her that we were the school's parent support group. All our efforts and sleep-deprived nights were suddenly justified!

All that commendations were heartening to hear but at the end of the day, we really want the visitors to take home with them the responsibility to start making an effort to save the environment.

It is hoped that they think and act a little more with saving this planet while doing their daily chores, no matter how little a contribution it is to start with.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Congrats To Sonny!

I had not much time to update but I just had to post this one because I am ecstatic about Sonny's achievements.

He scored 7 As in his mid year. I was happy that he had that many As from his 12 subjects that he is taking.

I have been offering him S$10 for every A that he can score. So I owe him S$70 for his mid-year exams. I challenged him to up his ante by telling him that I would give a bonus of S$100 if he could get 10 or more As from the 12 subjects.

He eagerly listened to my promise and... he delivered.

He scored 11 out of 12 subjects with As for his final year exam results. From academics to arts, to social studies... this does not include his yearly Gold that he gets for his NAFSA test or physical fitness test.

The only subject that he could not get even a decent B4 is... unfortunately, mother tongue. Our Malay language. Shameful as it may seem but the 11 other subjects stole the focus off this subject from us. He got a C5.

So, in terms of dollars and cents... I owe him S$110 for the eleven subjects with As and a bonus of S$100 for the ten and above subjects challenge to total to S$270. Adding the mid year money of S$70 that I still have yet to pay him, he is looking at a grand total sum S$340 for his academics effort!

All will be rewarded to him come bonus period in December.

"I love to see my bank account swell up like this." Sonny said surreptitiously, rubbing it in.

I may be set back about 300 bucks but I gain so much more. I can always earn money in life but this one special son of mine is totally priceless.

Congrats Sonny! I am very proud of you.