High school students from science schools in seven countries got the chance to be mentored by Filipino experts during the just concluded 2nd Philippine International Science Fair.

Organized by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Science High School System (DOST-PSHS) in partnership with First Pacific Leadership Academy, the biennial fair aims to promote a culture of science among the youth.

For its second edition, the fair tackled issues concerning the environment and climate change with the theme “Innovate to Mitigate.”

Students from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden and Philippines had the opportunity to closely interact with Filipino specialists who gave them valuable feedback and advice on their mini-projects during the prototyping sessions.  For this activity, the participants were divided into teams with each team developing product prototypes, design, or project proposal of innovations that will mitigate or prevent disasters.  Three scenarios were given, namely Lake Management: Saving Taal Lake, Urban Living: Making Metro Manila a Safer Place to Stay, and Sustaining Permaculture Farming.

According to Ceciree Villanueva of Cavite National Science High School, UP Diliman Geology and Environmental Science Prof. Dr. Carlos Primo David advised their team to focus on the root of the problem, on ways to stop people from throwing garbage into the creek.

Their team’s project, which they dubbed “Project Sphyder (Specialized Physical Debris Remover)” was chosen as “Best Project” under Scenario 2.  During a study tour in Marikina, Villanueva and her groupmates Demi Antonette Jacomilla of PSHS Central Mindanao, Chiara Borgueta of PSHS Eastern Visayas, Justine Romero of PSHS Bicol, and Rohith Srinivas of Raffles Institution in Singapore, learned that during heavy rain, garbage clogs the water under the bridge along Marikina River in Brgy. Tumana.  SPHYDER, they said, is a filter-like technology especially designed to remove the garbage faster, more efficiently and cost-effectively and eventually clean up the water.

Dr. David and another expert, UP Diliman Environmental Science and Meteorology Associate Prof. Dr. Tolentino Moya, also taught them that biological and chemical debris also pollute bodies of water aside from physical debris such as garbage.

Another activity, called Meet the Experts also gave the young participants a chance to listen to Filipino experts who shared their career experiences and knowledge.  They were Dr. Perry S. Ong, professor and head of the Biodiversity Research Laboratory in UP Diliman’s Institute of Biology and Dennis G. de la Torre, Research Fellow at the Center for Local and Regional Governance in UP Diliman’s National College of Public Administration and consultant on the Special Committee on Climate Change in the House of Representatives.

Other scientists who shared their expertise during the science fair were UP Diliman Biology Prof. Dr. Zubaida U. Basiao, UP Diliman Biology Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luis Ma. Garcia, and Philippine Rice Research Institute Supervising Science Research Specialists Rizal G. Corales and Dr. Ricardo F. Orge.

A design thinking workshop, study tours, teachers’ forum, and poster making contest were also held during the four-day science fair.

Students will again take centerstage at PSHS’s Robotics / Interactive Science Exhibit on July 27, 2015 as they show off their robotics projects to the general public during DOST’s National Science and Technology Week from July 24-28 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

(S&T Media Service)