Article By: Joshua Emmanuel Tan
This year, ISM has organized a Phys/Chem day to give senior Physics and Chemistry students a chance to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life possible solutions. On January 26, representatives from Solenergy (the company that installed the solar panels in school) came to teach these students how the panels work. Then, 84 students worked together in groups to apply what they learned about solar energy to design projects that could help address energy-related concerns of one of ISM’s service partners. The designs would later be evaluated based on a certain criteria, which include the cost-effectiveness, practicality and the feasibility of their chosen location for their plan of action. The team with the most sustainable and efficient plan will have their proposal implemented in a community to be chosen by the school.
Mr. Peter Reeh, an IBS2 physics teacher states that the day was planned to “allow grade 12 students to learn more about sustainable sources of energy” and encourage them to apply their knowledge to “design a system.” The students had to design their projects, taking into consideration the project’s effectivity in the context of the partner community, without “having negative environmental or social effects.” He believes that one of the main areas of the activity that students had to consider was “in the compromises that they had to make when developing their ideas,” especially because the sustainability compass was used as a measurement for the project; the sustainability compass is a model that allows students to gauge whether or not their actions are sustainability for nature, economy, society, and well-being. This led to the creation of mock budget proposals for each of the projects. Without a doubt, it forced the students to consider the cost of their project. Thus, the activity aided the student’s appreciation of the “complicated nature of providing energy from solar as there are many factors that have to be taken into account.”
Everything that occurred on Phys/Chem day was purely conceptual planning. Yet, when Solenergy and ISM representatives evaluate the presentations of the 21 groups, they will decide which proposal would be the most appropriate for the current situation of the partner community. When the winning project is executed in the partner community, with the community deriving value from it, the project will be able to promote sustainability and care for less fortunate communities. This implementation of the proposal is able to give students a hint on how to apply their knowledge into different real-life situations later in their careers. Certainly, ISM’s unique activities are currently preparing their students for realistic situations, making the learning experience more engrossing and enriching.