It was a clash of science smarts alright, but it was no quiz bee inside an auditorium.

Instead of contestants quietly sitting on chairs onstage, ready to answer science questions fielded to them by the quizmaster, competitors huddled around their tables excitedly to create and perform fun, science-based items and experiments amidst Manila Ocean Park’s amazing aquatic displays.

Tinkering with everyday materials like sticks, nails, strings, pencils, straws, bond paper, tape, eggs, and others, each team raced against time to prove that their school is the best and that they’ve got the smarts.

In the end, Baclaran Elementary School Unit II, composed of Princess Diane Daval Santos, Issa Marian Lazatin, Dave Paradela, Cris Miole, Sophia Anamarie Benitez,  their teacher Vilma Dames and coach Martha Dealino of UP Diliman’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, emerged as overall winner in the elementary division of  “Clash of Class.”

Organized by the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and Philippine Science High School System (DOST-PSHS) in cooperation with Manila Ocean Park, “Clash of Class” was one of the activities during DOST’s National Science and Technology Week from July 24-28, 2015.

“We want you to experience that science is not just a subject that is memorized, that science is not difficult, that it is fun. We want to excite you, put a spark in your eyes, and put a smile in your faces whenever you encounter science in your life,” SEI Director Dr. Josette T. Biyo told the young participants in her message during the opening ceremony.

Aside from Baclaran Elementary School Unit II, the other competing schools were Antonio Luna Elementary School, Magat Salamat Elementary School, Bagong Tanyag Elementary School, Almanza Elementary School, Bagong Silang Elementary School, Amado V. Hernandez Elementary School, and Manuel L. Quezon Elementary School. Each school or team also included one teacher and a DOST scholar who served as the team’s coach scientist.

One of them was Robert Padrina, weather specialist 1 of PAGASA. “Today, we went out of the forecasting center to mingle with kids,” he shared. “This is a good opportunity for us to share with them what a scientist’s work is all about, instead of just being in the confines of our laboratories.”  

The games involved poking sharpened pencils into a bag of water without causing it to leak, solving puzzles using tangrams and popsicle sticks, creating a model jellyfish that will not readily sink, balancing 14 nails, pouring five different liquids in a glass to form a Density Tower, keeping an egg from breaking when dropped from a height of five meters, hitting a fixed target using mirrors and a prism, and many others.

“The games were super amazing. They were very easy but super addictive,” enthused a participant from Bagong Tanyag Elementary School.

“What I learned from “Clash of Class” is how to enjoy mathematics and science, that it does not have to be hard,” said another participant, a Grade 5 student from Almanza Elementary School. “Other kids should also learn math and science so they will understand its importance in our lives.”

“It was fun and we learned a lot of things, like teamwork and cooperation within a group,” shared a Grade 6 student from Amado V. Hernandez Elementary School.

Another participant from Bagong Tanyag also mentioned the value of creativity. “Each one was able to prove his ability to create. If we don’t use our creativity, we will not be able to finish each game,“ he said.

After the elimination round, five teams advanced to the final round, namely Amado V. Hernandez, Magat Salamat, Manuel L. Quezon, Antonio Luna, and Baclaran Elementary School Unit II.

In the end, Baclaran Elementary School Unit II stamped its class after 10 grueling games which enhanced the students’ skills, knowledge, and creativity and set them on the path toward becoming smart scientists which is the objective of “Clash of Class.”

Gaining a strong second place finish was Magat Salamat while Amado V. Hernandez emerged as the third best team in the annual competition.  

Baclaran Elementary School Unit II teacher Vilma A. Dames revealed that prior to “Clash of Class,” their principal’s advice to them was simple: You have nothing to review, you just have to enjoy and do your best.

The team members, who dream of becoming either doctors or engineers someday, did not expect to win, which made their victory even sweeter.

“We are happy that we placed first and that we will also become DOST scholars someday,” remarked Issa Marian Lazatin who is in Grade 6.

Coach scientist Martha Dealino summed it best however. “Our victory is just a bonus,” she claimed. “Our real victory is knowing that the kids enjoyed the experience and that it ignited their passion for science and technology.”

In the high school division, “Clash of Class” was won by Pasay City East High School composed of Rachel R. Maculi, Mark Joshua Lorico, Rhicalline Pabro, Sean Troy Ros, Jesie Dhiocane Petalio, teacher Raquel Besmano and coach scientist Andrea Adorna, a chemist from DOST’s Philippine Textile Research Institute.

In her message, Biyo expressed DOST’s hope that the youngsters will eventually be the next wave of DOST scholars and the next breed of scientists and engineers who will provide solutions to many of the country’s pressing problems. (S&T Media Service)

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DOST-SEI Dir. Dr. Josette T. Biyo delivers her opening message

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Third placer Amado V. Hernandez Elementary School

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Second placer Magat Salamat Elementary School

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Overall champion Baclaran Elementary School Unit II with SEI’s S&T Manpower Education Research and Promotion Division Chief Ruby Cristobal (left), DOST Undersecretary for Scientific and Technological Services Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara (right), and Desiree Gestiada of Manila Ocean Park (second from right).

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