by Jordin Lim
National Paper Airplane Day, celebrated each year on May 26th in the United States, is the unofficial observance of a simple, beloved aeronautical toy. This day is commonly celebrated through contests in two basic flight categories: distance and air-time.
Most people are familiar with paper airplanes and enjoy making them frequently. I know that personally, I tend to indulge in making paper airplanes whenever I get bored, but of course never in class (wink).
QUICK TIMELINE OF PAPER AIRPLANE DAY
SCIENCE ACADEMY PAPER AIRPLANE COMPETITION
Here at The Science Academy, Mr. Bradfield’s MakerSpace classes have the wonderful opportunity to participate in Paper Airplane Day at school. Every year, the class goes out to the quad where an intense paper airplane contest is carried out.
There were many creative attempts at winning this competition, with someone actually wrapping up a basketball and claiming it to be their paper airplane. I even caught glimpses of a torpedo-like airplane shooting through the skies.
Overall, the best paper airplane was created by Sutthidol Chainamnaris (8th grade) with a plane that achieved a distance of 94.5 feet!
Will you make the award-winning plane next year? Will your airplane come out on top? Better start practicing now!
FURTHER INFORMATION ON PAPER AIRPLANES
Do you want to know the science behind paper airplanes? Watch the video below.
Do you want to make some fun paper airplanes? Check out the videos below.
This channel also has really great videos on paper airplanes:Read More
By Maleeya Mickelson and Milan Riley
Science Academy is the proud home to a world-renowned Robotics Club! Our teams have received many awards over the years and have brought back multiple wins, not only from local VEX Robotics Competitions (VRC), but from State and even World competitions. This year has continued to showcase the many talents of our students with an especially successful season.
The 2022-2023 Robotics Teams consisted of between two to five members, who worked together on their planning and execution by meeting at least twice a week to get ready for competitions throughout the season. As part of their dedication to the Robotics Program and in preparation for their competitions, teams often met in Science Academy’s on-campus Robotics Lab after school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During that same time, advanced robotics mentors provided assistance to students as well.
Example of 2023 VEX VRC robot
Each team strived to build a robot that could compete in all aspects of the game. Every year the game changes, meaning the teams have to create new robots. This year’s game, called “Spin Up”, challenged two alliances, Red and Blue, each made up of two teams. The game started off with a 15-second autonomous period — a period when the two teams used code already pre-made to score as many points as possible. The alliance who scored the most points during this time received a 10-point bonus. The game then moved onto a 1-minute and 45-second long driver control period, where alliances once again had to score as many points as possible. Different ways to score points included shooting discs into the high goal (5 points), getting discs into the low goal (1 point), or spinning the rollers on the field (10 points). During the last 10-seconds of the match, teams could release their robot’s expansions (often made out of string) in order to score even more points by covering the tiles on the field. Every tile the team covered at the end of the game scored them another 3 points.
The 2023 challenge arena
Teams competed in many competitions this season. An overall win at one of the local competitions, as well as winning certain awards that vary from competition to competition could qualify them for the States competitions. At competitions, teams went through multiple rounds with randomly picked alliances in order to determine seeding for the elimination round. After a certain number of rounds, teams then chose their own alliances for playoffs and eliminations. Teams higher on the seeding chart received the chance to pick an alliance sooner. The 16 alliances created, consisting of a total of 32 teams, then went on to compete for the championship.
Teams also could have qualified for State competitions via another aspect of VEX Robotics Competitions known as Skills. At each competition, teams received six tries to score as many points as possible either autonomously or by driver control. They were allowed three tries for each method. Autonomous and driver control during Skills were very similar to during matches because the teams used the same methods to score points; however, teams did not have to deal with defense from their opponent or defending themselves because they were the only ones on the field.
Middle School Champions during the competition
Another large component of the competition focused on the creation and organization of the team’s engineering notebook. Throughout the season, teams recorded their progress and all the work they’ve done on their robots, from their first prototype to their final design after many adjustments and long hours of trial and error. The purpose of the notebook is to show the judges the team’s thinking, processes and their progress. Without a good engineering notebook, teams cannot win many of the awards.
This year, VEX held two State competitions, split into middle school and high school, for our region, one in San Diego and another in Los Angeles. Teams from the Science Academy won both competitions (3324U & 3324B), qualifying them for Worlds. Other teams also qualified for Worlds either by having a high score in Skills or by the following awards: Excellence Award, Design Award, Robot Skills Champions, Innovate Award, Amaze Award, Think Award, or Build Award.
Team 3324B at a state competition
The VEX Robotics World Championship was held in Dallas, Texas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas from April 25 to May 5. The event was split into competitions for middle school and high school. Two of our high school teams competed from April 25 to April 27 and of our eight middle school teams participated from April 27 to April 29. Due to the large number of teams present at the World’s competition, VEX split the teams into different divisions. Within each division, each team participated in a mini competition, where the winners from each division advanced to the final elimination rounds in the so-called “Dome.” These rounds took place with thousands of people watching.
2023 Vex Robotics Competition
After a fierce competition between Science Academy’s Team 3324U (aka Supernova Team Hydra) and their alliance Shanghai’s Team 9123X against West Vancouver’s Team 10012W and their alliance Shanghai’s Team 9123C, Supernova Team Hydra and their alliance emerged triumphantly as the VEX VRC Middle School World Champions 2023! Despite being a first-year team, two eighth graders, Nicholas Mandreyka and Eero Wolfe, successfully created a robot worthy of a world championship. Congratulations to them!
The following Science Academy teams also won awards in their divisions as listed:
3324U Nicholas Mandreyka and Eero Wolfe Think Award
3324B Shivaan Nigam, Liam Cahill and Lily Kelsay Amaze Award
3324Y Aidan Limketkai, Gabe Cooper and Aaron Park Build Award
During the World’s competition, VEX also revealed the challenge for the 2023-24 season: Over Under. The goal of Over Under is to score as many points as possible by performing actions such as placing the game element (tri-balls) under goals or elevating the robot on a post at the end of the game.
Congratulations to all teams that participated in the 2022-23 VEX robotics season! Each and every team did a great job and has made the Science Academy very proud. A special congratulations to the members of 3324U, 3324B, and 3324Y for their accomplishments at the World Championship. Good luck to all teams competing in the 2023-24 season!
After the excitement of the World Championship, teammates Eero Wolfe and Nicholas Mandryka, the middle school winners of the 2023 VEX Robotics Competition, sat down with Milan Riley for an interview looking back over this momentous competition season:
1. What were your goals for this competition?
“Our goal for this competition was to win our division [500 teams are split into 6 divisions].”
2. What have you learned from past competitions and how are you putting that info to use now?
“What we have learned from past competitions was that ranking high before eliminations and alliance selection is important, as well as warming up before each match.”
3. What specific skills have you and your team been working on to prepare?
“Specific skills that our team has worked on to prepare was my driving because at high levels, robots are equally matched as they can score points at almost 100% efficiency and it comes down to the driving to determine who wins.”
4. What modifications have you had to make to your robot(s)?
“Some modifications that we have made to our robot was to have it shoot very fast so that when being defended, we can shoot all of our disks before being blocked. We also made sure that our expansion – we try to cover as many tiles as possible using string that is launched from the robot – does not fire out of the field so that we are not disqualified from the tournament.”
5. What were some highlights from the competition?
“Some highlights for the competition were of course winning it, but also after and during the competition when all of the teams were together having fun and supporting each other.”
6. Why do you think you guys did so well this year?
“Some reasons that we did so well this season was that we had great mentors and sister teams that helped us so much and motivated us to try so hard.”
7. What are you looking forward to working on in the future?
“We are looking forward next year to competing in high school with new members on the team and being able to help the new teams that were once us.”
8. What capabilities are you looking forward to the robotics world developing in the future in the competition world? What about in terms of real-world applications?
“As new technology like more efficient electronics become accessible, teams will be able to do even more and create amazing robots that can compete at levels unimaginable right now. VEX robotics takes a lot of real world robotics concepts and incorporates them into the competition, meaning that as technology becomes better, so will the robotics in the real world.”
by Ryan Park
During the month of May, the United States recognizes Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This celebration, spanning from May 1st to May 31st, honors the contributions and accomplishments of Asian Americans, Pacific Islander Americans, and Native Hawaiians.
Why the month of May?
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill that was passed by Congress to expand Asian American Heritage Week into the entirety of the month. Two years later, it was renamed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to recognize the contributions of all Americans of Asian descent. The month of May was chosen because it commemorates the first immigration of Japanese Americans on May 7, 1843. In addition, it commemorates the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as Asian immigrants made crucial contributions to our country’s first coast-to-coast railway.
Making their Mark in America
An important aspect of the commemoration of AAPI Heritage Month is sharing the many life stories of those of Asian descent.
Born May 31, 1912, Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu is a pivotal figure in the history of physics. An immigrant to the United States from China, she did important work for the nuclear Manhattan Project, helping to develop the process for separating uranium into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion. Wu studied nuclear physics at the University of California, Berkeley where she got the chance to learn from physicists like J. Robert Oppenheimer. She later went on to become the first female instructor in the Physics Department at Princeton University, and her contributions to experimental physics include the Wu experiment, which proved that parity is not conserved.
On March 12, 2023, at the 95th Academy Awards, Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh made history by becoming the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress for the film Everything Everywhere All at Once. You can also find her in other popular movies like Shang Chi; Crazy Rich Asians; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and Wicked.
On that same day, Vietnamese-American actor Ke Huy Quan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same movie. Ke Huy Quan was the first Asian to win this award in 38 years! A fun fact is that Ke Huy Quan was the actor who played the part of Short Round, a young boy in the popular Indiana Jones movie series.
Chloe Kim, a Korean-American Olympic snowboarder, is the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding. In the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeong Chang, Chloe became a gold medalist in the women’s snowboard halfpipe at the age of 17 and later became a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Although she has taken a break from the sport, she is set to return to the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
You can find out more on: https://www.asianpacificheritage.gov/Read More
by Milan Riley
While the state of California does not require high school students to complete a certain amount of volunteer hours to graduate, numerous schools either encourage it or make it mandatory for graduation. This applies to particular middle schools, as well. The reason for this is that volunteering helps communities, prepares students for their future jobs, and appeals to colleges.
What amount of volunteer hours is preferred by colleges? The majority of high schools with such a requirement ask students to complete at least 100 hours of volunteer work. Between 50 to 200 hours of volunteering shows commitment and experience. However, any less than 50 hours is not especially impressive and over 200 hours could seem excessive. Most sources state 100 hours is a good average.
If you’re looking to volunteer, either to help your community or because you’re looking to bolster your college application, here are some volunteer options:
1. Coastal/beach cleanups:
Picking up trash along the coast is a common form of volunteering. This activity helps the environment and gets you close to the beach! Heal The Bay is a good place to start: https://healthebay.org/beach-cleanups/ .
2. Red Cross:
For years, the Red Cross has helped victims of disasters and provided communities programs that help prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Teen volunteer opportunities: https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer/youth-opportunities.html
3. Jr. Lifeguard:
Lifeguards could always use help making the waters safer for everyone. It’s physically engaging and a fun experience for strong swimmers. Lifeguards also supervise pool decks and teach groups how to swim. Check out the County of Los Angeles Junior Lifeguard program: https://fire.lacounty.gov/junior-lifeguard-program/ .
Los Angeles Public Libraries offer numerous volunteer options ranging from online teen council meetings, writing book reports, and in-person activities. If you enjoy books or representing other teens your age, check out their website for more details: https://volunteer.lapl.org/ .
Community parks offer volunteer positions in athletic programs, after school programs, and general park maintenance. Volunteers help out groundskeepers, keep hiking or equestrian trails functional, and guide visitors around the park. This website is looking for volunteers aged 14 or above to lend a hand at LA county parks: https://parks.lacounty.gov/volunteers/ .
There are so many more opportunities to volunteer in addition to those listed above. Not all volunteer work may count towards volunteer hours for schools, but it’s kind to just help out your community in your spare time! And as a bonus: studies show that volunteering helps to improve your mental and emotional health.
The articles below have lists of additional volunteer options, especially for teens:
by Ryan Park
Did you know that LAUSD schools have their very own police department? The mission of the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) is to assist teachers, administrators, and other staff in providing a safe environment in which the educational process can take place for the 565,000 students of the district. In addition, they offer multiple programs for community engagement, career opportunities, and safety, some in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
LAUSD Police Academy Magnet Schools (PAMS) Program
In this program, students under the guidance and supervision of LAPD and LASPD police instructors are taught to develop life skills through positive interactions with police officers. The life skills that PAMS teaches you are promoting self-esteem, communication skills, and activities for scholastic achievement. In addition, students in this Career Technical Education (CTE) program can prepare for law enforcement careers. These programs include instruction in:
- Communication skills with an emphasis on integrity, public speaking, and writing as it relates to law enforcement
- Basic concepts of criminal law, principles of law enforcement, constitutional law, the
criminal justice system and other law related topics throughout all core academic courses
- Health training, including nutrition and mental health
- Physical Training and fitness in accordance with LAPD standards
- Community service to develop a commitment to community leadership
Currently, this program is offered at 9 high schools/middle schools with 1,100 students enrolled in this program. This program will expand to 10 programs in the coming year, 2023-2024.
Building Blue Bridges
There has been a long historical barrier and distrust between many communities and the city’s police force. The program Building Blue Bridges, also known as B3, was started with the intent of reestablishing trust within the community through positive and productive relationships with police officers. This program has students become active participants in their school’s safety as they develop strategies for how to address bullying, cyberbullying, and criminal justice reform to help break the school-to-prison pipeline.
LASPD Explorers Program
Established in 2003, the LASPD Explorers Program was made with the goal of introducing the youth to career opportunities in law enforcement. This program provides the opportunity for students to earn high school and college credit or community service hours as they learn skills with officers that can be applied to multiple fields. The Explorers Program also competes in competitions throughout the country in order to have students learn the core skills needed to become police officers.
Ready and Able for Middle School (RAMS) Mentoring Program
RAMS is a program that was made in collaboration with LAUSD’s Behavioral Support Office and LASPD to help 5th and 6th graders who have multiple days of suspension, helping them successfully transition into the middle school environment. Officers will build influential relationships with students and mentor students through connections and positive relationships to promote positive behavior and academic performance.
Los Angeles Schools Anonymous Reporting (LASAR) App
LASAR is an app accessible via mobile device, designed in collaboration with LASPD and LAUSD. This app allows students or families to anonymously report a non-emergency event and provide the location of the incident for which the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) will respond in partnership with Psychiatric Social Workers (PSW), other mental health support and, if needed, the appropriate law enforcement agency should the incident rise to that level. Users have the option of providing brief contact information for the LASPD to follow up if additional details are needed.
Along with fentanyl and other instances of drug use, the Los Angeles school community can report other issues including threats of a school attack, psychological distress, suicidal ideation, weapons or dangerous objects, vandalism and other non-emergency safety issues.
Students and families can download the LASAR app by visiting the Apple or Android app stores and searching “Los Angeles Unified LASAR.”
by Tarisha Hasan
The holy month of Ramadan takes place on the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is during this month that all Muslims observe a fast from before the Fajr, or early morning prayer, until after sunset and the Maghrib evening prayer. During a fast, it is forbidden to eat and drink, with increased emphasis placed on spiritual activities and self-restraint. At the end of this month, Eid-al-Fitr is observed as a celebration and festival for enduring the month-long fast, which can be 29-30 days, depending on when the crescent moon is sighted. This year, Ramadan took place from the evening of March 22nd to the evening of April 20th. If you want to wish someone well during this time, you can say Ramadan Mubarak, which means “Blessed Ramadan”, or Ramadan Kareem, which translates as “Generous Ramadan.“
Why is the month of Ramadan important?
The month is important because fasting during the month is one of the five pillars of Islam. Because of the abstinence from worldly things and desires until the sunset of each day, it also enables communities to unite and comfort one another as we focus on our faith. There is also a strong basis for fasting in the Islamic holy book of the Qur’an and the accompanying Hadith:
- O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those who have believed before you (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:183)
- It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was first sent down as guidance for all people, having in it clear proofs of divine guidance and the criterion for right and wrong. So whoever among you bears witness to the month shall then fast it (Surat Al-Baqarah, 2:185)
These quotes from the Qur’an make fasting during this holy month obligatory. The Hadith is the collected traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, based on his sayings and actions. The Hadith support for this is also strong, as shown in the following quote:
- God has said: “All the works of the Son of Adam are for himself but fasting. It is for Me alone, and I shall grant reward for it.” The fast is a safeguard from the Fire. So if ever it is a fasting day for any of you, there shall be neither sexual intimacy nor angered yelling. So if another should trouble or fight someone fasting, let the faster say: “Indeed, I am someone who is fasting.” For by the One in whose Hand is Muhammad’s soul, most surely the faster’s reeking mouth is better to God than the scent of musk. For the faster, there are two joys to rejoice in: When one breaks the fast, one rejoices. And when one meets one’s Lord, one shall rejoice in one’s fasting (Bukhari, no. 1904).
Bukhari is considered to be one of the five individuals who writes the authentic Hadith, but the support for the requirement of fasting still remains strong regardless of the Hadith source. It is important to know that despite the importance of the fast, there are classes of people who are exempt:
- The elderly/disabled or those unable to care for themselves
- Those suffering from serious illness that would hamper their ability to perform the fast
- Children before puberty
The name of the month of Ramadan has its origins in the Arabic word ramad, which translates literally to “dryness”. In ancient Arab times, this lunar month would often be the most difficult to endure due to the extremely high temperatures, especially since Arabia is a desert. Although fasting is one of the main priorities of this lunar month, the real spirit of Ramadan lies in truly understanding the Qur’an and the lessons it has to teach us. What’s more, it also gives one the opportunity to relive the sending down of the Qur’an, which contains the revelation of Islam.
What happens at the end of the month of Ramadan?
The fast is completed at the sighting of the new moon. The observance at the end of the month of Ramadan is known as Eid-al-Fitr. During this festival, all Muslims go to a nearby specialized mosque service in their community in order to carry out the Eid prayer. Before the Ramadan prayer, it is required to give a donation known as a Fitrah. This obligatory donation allows those Muslims in poverty to enjoy Eid-ul-Fitr like all other Muslims. Of course, you have to at least enjoy some sweet desserts during this festival, as this day is also known as “Sweet Eid”.
There are also plenty of social activities to do, such as gifting fellow Muslims presents, purchasing new clothes, and especially giving to those less fortunate. The main theme of Eid is giving thanks after a long month of fasting. It also centers on spending more time with friends and family. There is no set menu, but the foods should be adequately prepared and also be filling. The clothing is also an important part, because Muslim families around the world always dress their best for the occasion, often in traditional outfits.
In addition, there is also visiting the graves of relatives in order to honor and remember them. In the case of Muslim-majority countries, there are shopping sprees at special “Ramadan markets” as well as local malls. It goes even further; schools are closed as well as businesses. Flowers and decorations adorn homes, and there is a general celebration with good food and good company. This festival isn’t just one day: it can last for up to three to four days, depending on the country’s time zone and regulations. And of course, Eid-al-Fitr is celebrated differently in different countries. The similarities are all shared: the holiday is essentially a new start, regardless of who observes it or where they do it.
Although the Ramadan fast is meant to be rigorous, by no means is it meant to be difficult. I find it relatively comfortable as I take proper measures to ensure adequate hydration during the morning meal before the fast. I also prioritize a relatively heavy early morning meal as the fast lasts until the evening, which would make approximately 16 hours total, give or take a couple hours. The fast isn’t just about restricting food intake for me, however. It’s also about kicking bad habits to try and better myself. Despite this, I do look forward to Eid, when we will celebrate the completion of the fast.
It’s not just about restricting food and drink. It’s also about learning to control my emotions in order to better myself. More importantly, it helps me realize that all the things that I thought were highly important are actually just trivial matters that I should not waste time worrying about. Fasting also teaches me how to be nicer to people, or sometimes just ignoring the people that aren’t worth my time. I find myself free to do other things, as well as not being obligated to go downstairs for lunch or nutrition if I carry out the fast during school hours.
In terms of physical distress, my main concern is during P.E., when thirst and dehydration are common concerns. However, I just concentrate on doing my best regardless. Many advise that athletes should be certain to let their teachers and coaches know when they are fasting so they can take it into account with regards to activities and rest as needed. Overall during Ramadan, I invest nearly all my time and energy into quickly finishing assignments. The evening meal is a typical meal that often has chickpea curry along with salad and some fruit. Overall, Ramadan seems relatively commonplace to me, but nevertheless, I look forward to Eid and the festivities.Read More
by Desmond Devine
Is Our School the Smartest?
Believe it or not, our school has been nominated for a new Guinness World Record, which will be recorded for the 2024 Guinness World Records and released in September 2023! The record in question is the “Smartest School” designation, awarded for a number of factors such as GPA, test scores, and the relative difficulty of the curriculum. If our school wins the award, it will receive a grant of $100,000 or more, and, as discussed in the last Coffee with the Principal, our school is making big plans with what to do with a hundred grand.
The beginning of the next school year marks five years of sharing a campus with East Valley, so we are going to go big. Many events are planned for next year, and our campus could undergo major renovations. As our ASB President Zahra R. states, “Our school has plenty of fun events and the like, but I think we deserve more for our test scores. [This award] will also benefit the East Valley students so that makes it especially important for our school.” I couldn’t agree more. ASB and the last CWtP have given me insight into the specifics of these ideas, which I will highlight in this article. All plans are subject to change, although there is a chance that this cash will be mainly set aside for our ever-growing Robotics Team and Porto’s pastries for the teachers.
Bringing back the Vending Machines
Newer students most likely have never heard of this, but our school used to have two vending machines near our stairwell. They had the traditional junk food and beverages in stock, and could be accessed by faculty and students at any time. These were only present during the 2019-2020 school year, and left quickly for a variety of reasons. They broke down often, were sometimes broken into by students after hours, and provided students with unhealthy snacks. However, all of these problems will be addressed if the reliable machines make a return next year. They will be given lithium batteries from the robotics lab for extra long battery life, and will be secured in solid titanium cages, which will be locked at night and monitored during the day. Our school could possibly hire guard dogs devoted to protecting the machines, but unfortunately they would probably get some of our snacks as payment. To keep students from stockpiling Cheetos and other unhealthy choices, the vending machines will be stocked with fresh meals from our cafeteria cut into little pieces. Ever wanted a quarter-quarter pounder to nosh on during a long Chemistry lecture? Now you can, but don’t heat up your food with a bunsen burner!
New Sports Teams
One of the plans with the hoped-for $100,000 from the Guinness World Records is that one of the baseball diamonds will be removed to make room for new Pickleball courts. While this decision will probably face opposition, ASB looks at the positives: “Pickleball is trendy so lots of people would be interested, just about everyone can play it, and also the skill floor is incredibly low. It would be good to finally have a winning team,” says Vice President and esteemed Pickleball fan Jasper M. ASB will also look into purchasing giant fans to simulate the windy conditions so often noticed in Pickleball games.
In addition to Pickleball, other future sports teams to be founded include teams devoted to Lacrosse, Croquet, Curling, and Boxing. Lacrosse and Croquet will occur on the PE field as expected and a Boxing Ring will be installed for the gymnasium, but where will Curling occur? A glance at ASB’s wish.com search history across multiple Chromebooks shows that they have been looking at kiddie pools and walk-in freezers… not a promising start, but keep up the good work and we might soon have a proper curling arena!
Weekly STEM Talks and Monthly Events
STEM talks were a highly requested event during the 2020-2021 school year and they remain popular this year, so The Science Academy is upping the ante. Every Tuesday, during 7th Period and the teacher’s weekly meeting, students will enjoy a STEM talk from 2:40 to 3:40 from a variety of professionals sharing their expertise from their respective fields, which will be filmed and broadcast on our own television channel: STEMCast.
The success of Pi Day and other carnival events has been noted, and so the Guinness influx of cash will allow for events like this to take place every month with an extended lunch, which all our teachers will greatly appreciate, especially those preparing for our AP exams. All events will offer fun games, purchasable food, and an incredible music selection, but all students have to pay $20 to attend the extended lunch or spend the 90 minutes in study hall. The events, by month, will be:
- August, beginning of school year: Back to School festival (+ Back to School Grams)
- September, Friday before Labor Day: Labor Day celebration (+ Labor Union Grams)
- End of October: Halloween Fear Fest (+ Spooky Grams)
- November, before Thanksgiving Break: Harvest Festival (+ Gratitude Grams)
- December, before Winter Break: Holiday Celebration (+ Winter Grams)
- January, first week of school: New Year’s Party (+ Resolution Grams)
- February, Valentine’s Day: Love & Kindness festival (+ Valentine Grams)
- March, Pi Day: Guess (+ Lucky Grams for St. Patrick’s Day)
- April, Tax Day: Finance Festival (+ Money Grams)
- May, after AP Exams: AP Exam Completion Celebration (+ We’re out of Ideas Grams)
- June, last week of school: Summer Festival (+ Graduation Grams)
- And in July, come to school for the massive Independence Day Fireworks Show and print out 4th of July Grams for your parents!
One of the biggest planned additions to the school is a helipad, which will make student life better in a variety of ways. Computer Science students who have played on Mr. Bradfield’s flight simulator will be excited to try the real thing, and a helicopter would be beneficial for Physics students studying principles such as wind resistance–hey, maybe the Pickleball fans could help with that! It would also be useful for police officers and fire departments that utilize helicopters, so our school would be better prepared in case of an emergency.
Where would a helipad go, however? The most popular option would be paving over the grass circle in front of the Northwest building, which students aren’t allowed to walk over anyway. Another choice is the parking lot/basketball court, but a helicopter could get in the way on the days when it’s used. A helicopter could get parked on the roof of the Northwest building, but that roof isn’t really made for one. A helipad at our school would improve things greatly and would give us huge bragging rights, but the effort may cost more than the outcome.
An Extra Day Off
All students, starting this year, will get April Fool’s Day off to ensure that no dastardly pranks are pulled at school. If April 1st falls on a weekend or during a break, students will get the Friday before off. For this year, students will get an extra-long break because of this new added holiday off, although students will have to work for an extra week in June to make up for the time lost.
If you are confused about any of these changes, make sure to ask your grade representative, a Sci-Fi or staff member, or better yet, remember the article I wrote a year ago around this time:
This semester is about halfway over, and Mr. Lauchu is counting on you to help win the Guinness World Record for Smartest School. So work as hard as you can and have a great (extra long) Spring Break!Read More
by Jordin Lim
Pi Day, celebrated March 14, is the celebration of mathematical constant 𝝅, due to its numerical date (3.14) representing the first three digits of pi.
Fun fact: Pi Day also happens to be Albert Einstein’s birthday
Physicist Larry Shaw, who found Pi Day in 1988, had the first Pi Day celebration at his place of work, the Exploratorium, a San Francisco-based interactive science museum. However, Pi Day was not deemed a national holiday until 2009, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation making it one.
Although our Science Academy students are more than well-acquainted with pi, it is still useful to note what it is and its significance in everyday life.
What is pi?
Ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes is most commonly credited to be the first to accurately calculate the approximate value of pi. In mathematics, pi is the constant ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, regardless of its size.
Fun fact: The word “pi” itself is derived from the first letter of the Greek word perimetros, meaning circumference.
What is the significance of pi?
Although you may not find yourself using pi every day, pi is used in many calculations for buildings and construction, engineering, and many other fields. In addition, NASA regularly uses pi to calculate trajectories of spacecraft. Not only that, but pi gives us a reason to feast on pie every March 14, although who really needs a reason to eat pie any day of the year?
Pi Day Festival
On March 17, Science Academy held our infamous Pi Day Festival, which had to be delayed to the new date due to rain on March 14. This festival consisted of many fun activities and carnival games, including ring toss, pie eating contests, and even throwing whipped cream pies at the teachers! (I saw a catapult at this event, and I hope it was used) In addition, there were other booths selling refreshments and giving students their pre-ordered pizzas.
The prizes given out at the carnival games were quite great – many people entered their class after lunch bearing multitudes of stuffed animals – I personally won two lollipops myself.
I hear the Pi Day Festival is a fan favorite among the student body, so I can’t wait to see it again next year!
by Ryan Park
For Science Academy’s 2022-2023 Science Fair, I interviewed two 8th graders to learn more about their projects: Dani Tsao, 1st place winner, and Aspen Chung, 2nd place winner.
* Dani Tsao’s Science Fair project built on her experiment from last year in creating a new type of solar panel.
What inspired you to choose your Science Fair topic?
My experiment this year is a continuation of last year’s project. I first thought of my idea when I was driving around my neighborhood and realized that there are mainly two types of solar panels: a) those that create electricity, and b) those that heat up water. When I saw this, I thought “Why can’t there be a solar panel to do both?”
What experiment did you do? What were your hypothesis and results?
With the above question in mind, I combined an electricity-generating and a water-heating solar system. Although the solar panel efficiency increased, I have thought of another idea for further improvement.
This year, I decided to make a control system that rotates the solar panel so that it always faces the sun. My results showed that this new solar panel design, combined with improved thermal insulation, increased the electricity-generating efficiency as well as heated up the water more. Compared to the original solar panel idea, this new design increased the energy capture efficiency by 25 – 30%.
Is there anything you’d like to say about receiving 1st place in your grade level?
I am very appreciative of this project because it allowed me to use the information I learned in Mr. Bradfield’s class about Arduinos and soldering. The award gives me a lot of satisfaction, but I think there are still more problems to be solved.
Dani at the L.A. County Science Fair
* Aspen Chung’s Science Fair project was about the growing danger of climate change and her method of using cleaner alternatives to carbon fossil fuels.
What inspired you to choose your Science Fair topic?
Our world is powered by fuel, ranging from transportation to heating to factories that produce many of the goods used in our daily lives. However, many of the non-green fuels that are commonly used contribute to climate change through carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas that is damaging our ozone layer. And in a world that is aiming to become greener, I believe it’s important to explore cleaner alternatives for fuel, such as hydrogen gas, which only emits water vapor as a byproduct.
What experiment did you do? What were your hypothesis and results?
My project focuses on finding the most effective way to produce hydrogen gas, which acts as a clean fuel source, through electrolysis. I varied the amounts of magnesium sulfate between 20 grams, 45 grams, and 75 grams to test how it affected the rate of electrolysis and the change in pH. I hypothesized that if the water has more magnesium sulfate, then the rate of electrolysis will be faster and the pH will change quickly. My hypothesis was proven correct through my experiment, where 75 grams of magnesium sulfate produced the fastest-changing pH, demonstrating a more efficient rate of electrolysis.
Aspen’s Science Fair BoardRead More