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12 February 2016

 

Philippine space science is certainly on its way up.

 

Earlier this year, Diwata-1 made headlines as the first Filipino-made microsatellite that will be launched in April with the help of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It sure brought the country closer to its vision of having its own space agency. The next days, however, will bring us even closer to that dream as some scientists from JAXA is set to visit the country for a unique space education seminar.

 

On 16-17 February, four JAXA experts namely, Nozomu Sakuraba, Director of JAXA’s Space Education Center; Dr. Yukio Shimizu, Mika Hosobata, and Chris Okano will lead the seminar entitled “Exploring Space Science in the Classroom” before 25 science teachers from the Philippine Science High School System. It will be held at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga.

 

The seminar will highlight ways on how to integrate space learning into the classroom and some interesting topics on microgravity, vacuum experiment, Canadian Robot Arm on the International Space Station, rovers and communication, satellite imagery, and others.

 

“The goal of the visit is to learn first-hand from these JAXA experts whose work focuses on integrating space science education in the classroom,” said SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo.

 

Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, Filipino astrophysicist and Focal Person to the Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP), the visit was made possible during the 22nd Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum held in Bali, Indonesia on December 1-4, 2015, through the recommendation of the Space Education Working Group.

 

Sese will also report on the implementation of space education in the Philippines during the seminar.

 

“This activity will help us enhance school teachers’ understanding and appreciation of space science, enable them (teachers) to adopt various approaches in teaching space science and develop teaching tools from indigenous materials that can expand science subjects in schools by including astronomy and space science in their lessons,” Biyo added. “With the lead of Dr. Sese, we will also establish closer ties with JAXA for better and more effective implementation of our projects under the PSSEP.”

 

Meanwhile, also part of the activity is the Science Explorer, a mobile science learning facility, which will conduct sessions on earth science, chemistry, robotics, physics, mathematics, and biodiversity with elementary and high school students from nearby schools.

 

“We want this visit to be more engaging that’s why we’re bringing in the Science Explorer to make sure our impact reaches not just the teachers but the students in the area as well,” Biyo disclosed. (30)