PhilSA, space science and technology applications, space science, learning kits, SSTA Kit
Photo: PhilSA

(Press release from the Philippine Space Agency) The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) turned over space science and technology applications (SSTA) learning kits to public schools and trained educators on equipment usage and integration into learning activities. Three (3) deployments were conducted in Quezon Province, Tarlac City, and the National Capital Region (NCR) on April 16 to 18, April 23 to 25, and May 25 to 26, 2024, respectively.

Each SSTA Kit contained two (2) 70mm refracting telescope sets, four (4) handheld radios, two (2) weather sensor units, and two (2) Global Positioning System (GPS) units. A total of 10 sets were distributed to the following schools: Apad Jomalig National High School in Quezon Province; Maliwalo National High School, Tarlac National High School, Regional Science High School for Region III, and O’Donnell National High School in Tarlac; Angeles City Science High School in Pampanga; Gen. T. de Leon National High School in Valenzuela; Manila Science High School; Quezon City Science High School; and Talipapa High School in Caloocan.

Space technology: a vital tool for education

Educators specializing in science subjects underwent training to master the use of these equipment. Activities included treasure-hunts and illuminance mapping using a wireless weather sensor with GPS. Recognizing the importance of hands-on activities to complement scientific theories and concepts, the teacher-participants also designed contextualized activities for future implementation.

“Today, we are turning over these SSTA kits, but apart from this, there are really two bigger reasons why we are here: our teachers and our youth. Our teachers and our young people in our country are sources of inspiration for every one of us in the space agency […] Now in our own little way, we try to earnestly help in this important responsibility of education. Space technologies provide vital tools right now,” PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. emphasized during his message at the SSTA Kit Turn Over and Training for Region III at the Tarlac State University.

PhilSA DG Marciano also led the ceremonial signing of the deed of donation for the schools in NCR and Quezon Province. He was represented by Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology (DDGSST) Gay Jane P. Perez during the ceremonial signing for the recipient schools in Region III.

Teachers and students ‘join the mission’

On integration in classroom activities, Ms. Joice I. Evangelista of the Apad Jomalig National High School shared her plans to extend the equipment usage and learning applications in other subjects as applicable. “Aside from providing the equipment, the trainers from PhilSA also taught us how to use these and, most importantly, share the learnings with our students. I am looking forward and excited to integrate the learnings in our science lessons and other subjects such as mathematics.”

Ms. Genesis Dador of Maliwalo National High School reflects on her role and responsibility as an educator during the closing program of the training, “As we look up at the night sky or gaze into the depths of the universe, we are reminded of how small we are in the grand scheme of things, yet how significant our contributions can be to unravelling the potentials of our learners by providing opportunities to explore beyond the four corners of our classrooms. With the use of the SSTA Kit, may we be able to plant seeds of curiosity in our learners that can develop into passion to understand and protect our environment for future generations.”

Mr. John Anthony Beron of Quezon City Science High School (SDO Quezon City) aims to cultivate future space scientists, researchers, and engineers, “Sa ngayon pa man, ang nasa puso ko ngayon is ‘yung hashtag ng PhilSA, ‘#JoinTheMission.’ As an educator magkakaroon din ako ng chance to ‘join the mission’ and I hope each one of us will completely join the mission. For the application of [our training] I will see to it, I pledge, na gagawin po namin ang best namin na ma re-echo po namin ito sa aming kapwa guro, na magkaroon kami ng programa sa school namin para mas lalo pa namin mapag-igting ang apoy ng mga bata sa earth and space, para mas maging ‘space-faring nation’ tayo in the near future.”

[“Right now, PhilSA’s hashtag: ‘#Join the Mission’ is in my heart. As an educator I will still have the chance to ‘join the mission.’ For the application of [our training], I will see to it, I pledge, that [QCSHS] will do our best to re-echo this training to our fellow teachers, to create a program in our school that would heighten the passion of our students in earth and space, ensuring that we become even more of a ‘space-faring nation’ in the near future.”]

Capacity building and increasing awareness of space science in the Philippines

The SSTA Kit Turn Over and Training is an extension of PhilSA’s Space Science Camp for Educators, implemented in September 2023. Education program supervisors, education program specialists, and master teachers with specialization in STEM from DepEd National Capital Region, DepEd Central Luzon, SDO Quezon Province, and Apad Jomalig National High School participated in the capacity building activity, which assessed the learning needs of each school and the implementation of SSTA in their programs. This is aligned with PhilSA’s efforts to promote space education and awareness in the country.

The Agency is also targeting the further expansion of its space science camp and its related initiatives to other regions. —MF

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