Hello Science Academy!
I hope you are all rejuvenated and ready for an exciting journey ahead as we kick off the Spring semester. As we step into this new chapter of our academic year, I want to extend a warm welcome back to every student! The Spring semester is a time of renewal and a chance for us to build on the successes and experiences of the past. I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and the contributions each of you will make to our vibrant school community. As we step into the Spring semester, I’d like to reflect on the journey we have had in the first half of the school year. Serving as your ASB President has been an honor, and I want to share our collective achievements and aspirations moving forward.
In the beginning of the year, we successfully hosted Club Rush. With more than 40 unique clubs participating, this event was a wonderful showcase of the diverse interests and talents within our student body. Shortly after, we hosted our first Movie Night featuring “Spiderman Across the Spider-Verse.” It was a resounding success, not only helping raise money for the graduating class, but also providing an opportunity for students to unwind, connect, and enjoy some time together. Moving into October, we had Halloween grams, a spooky Haunted House in the locker rooms hosted by EVHS, our Students vs. Teachers Halloween Kickball game, and the biggest event of 2023 — our Homecoming! Three months of planning, a pep rally, and a football game later, we successfully hosted our Homecoming Dance with its stunning silver and purple theme. With Quinney as our DJ, a photo booth, free food, beautiful decorations, and a turnout of more than 200 people, I think it’s safe to say that our dance was a success. October was also a very special time to roam in our hallways as ASB spent the weekend decorating the middle hallway for Halloween. With blacked out windows, balloon towers, and other Halloween items covering the walls, I think our hallways have never looked more spooky! Moving into the month of giving, the ASB also worked to give back to the community. With your help, we were able to host a Thanksgiving food drive to help both EVHS and SASM families in need. During the last month of the 2023 school year, the ASB fostered holiday spirit by hosting our Winter Wonderland Contests. The students were able to engage in a Winter Art Contest with gift card prizes to various restaurants and our teachers participated in a Winter Door Decoration Contest to win candy canes for their 7th period class. Both events were a hit and some remnants of the Door Decoration Contest can still be seen in our hallways.
Now that we’ve reminisced about the moments we’ve already created together, it’s time to shift gears and talk about what’s on the horizon. This semester is our blank canvas, waiting for us to splash it with the colors of new experiences and exciting initiatives. Firstly, an update about our WATER FOUNTAIN PROJECT. For those of you who did not know, the ASB and I have been working very diligently to get the water fountains in our school replaced with better ones that include bottle-filling stations. We are officially in the last steps of getting the project approved by all the necessary administration, so construction should begin very soon. Other events to look forward to include a Lunar New Year celebration by the school’s parent organization in early February as well as a Masquerade Ball for the high schoolers some time in late February. The middle schoolers are also scheduled to have a dance on Friday, January 20. I am also excited to announce that ASB will be conducting a school-wide murder mystery game some time in February or March where students will have to go from class to class solving puzzles in order to find who committed the crime. Other events to look forward to include more Movie Nights (details TBD). We are also scheduled to have our beloved Pi Day in March. I also hope to bring a blood drive to our school. The Los Angeles region is currently experiencing a critical blood supply shortage and I think our school can help alleviate some of that strain by mobilizing our age 16+ student and teacher population. Finally, I plan on delivering on my campaign promise of bringing food trucks to the school sometime near the end of May to celebrate the end of our stressful AP Exam testing season. In addition to everything discussed above, there’s a treasure trove of upcoming events that promise even more fun and surprises. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months!
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the dedicated ASB team, faculty advisor Mr. Parks, and each student and teacher who has contributed to the success of our initiatives. Your passion and support truly mean the world to me, and are instrumental in making the Science Academy a vibrant and dynamic place to learn and grow.
As we navigate the second half of the school year, I encourage you all to share your ideas and suggestions; QR codes for the ASB’s suggestion box should be going up soon. Also, always feel free to come up to me in the hallways with any questions or concerns. The ASB and I sincerely appreciate your input. Together, let’s continue making the Science Academy a community we are all proud to call our own.
Here’s to an inspiring and fulfilling Spring semester filled with growth, learning, and fun! I can’t wait to see this year’s yearbook!
Your ASB President,
By Andi Villamor
Want to make the most of your time at school? Joining a club is the perfect opportunity to explore the world beyond the classroom, meet people who share your interests, develop new skills, and make unforgettable memories. Not to mention, clubs can give you valuable experiences that allow you to develop strong interpersonal and leadership skills, as well as boost your caliber on college applications.
If you went to Club Rush in September but decided that none of the clubs were for you, maybe you just lack the relevant information! This article will detail many of Science Academy’s amazing clubs – and how to join them – through the words of their presidents. Remember, it wouldn’t hurt to simply try out a club by going to a meeting. If you end up changing your mind, then you can always back out, so why not give it a shot? Without further ado, here are some of our most popular clubs and everything you might want to know about them.
Joining this club has major academic benefits, especially for our seventh and ninth graders taking Pre-AP or AP Biology. If you hope to pursue a major or career in biology, being in this club could help you get a great head start and continue to drive your interest in the field.
The club meets during lunch every Monday in Ms. Musial’s room (N313). As the President of Biology Club Ryan Lee says, his club’s goal is to “empower those who wish to pursue biology and to provide a common hub for anything biology-related. If you are having trouble with biology or if you want to pursue a biology-related competition or career, you should join Biology Club in order to enhance your understanding.” During meetings, club officers give biology lectures and extra assistance for students needing help in class.
Interested? Come to the next meeting and join their Schoology Group with this access code: 3WGH-8PX9-XNDND.
Members of this club write school-appropriate articles of their choice for The Science Academy NewsFlash on the school’s official website. What I personally love about this club is that it is incredibly versatile. Since it only meets from 5:30 – 6:00 PM every other Tuesday on Zoom, members don’t need to worry so much about fitting it into their day and can write at their own pace about nearly anything they want. Additionally, students in this club get the opportunity to express themselves through writing and showcase their articles on the school’s website.
The President of Journalism Club, Milan Riley, encourages you to join: “Members are free to choose any appropriate topics for an article and can write at their own pace. Joining this club will improve writing skills, look good on college applications, and give back to the Science Academy community!”
If you think this club is right for you, join the Journalism Club Schoology Group with this code, FVT4-9PG2-RWPFZ, and stay tuned for the next Zoom meeting!
International Food Club
President of IFC Andi Villamor states, “Our club’s goal is to expose its members to food from all over the world and to give students a safe space where they can share dishes from their own cultures.” Meetings are usually potlucks, during which members bring food to share with one another. Club officers introduce these dishes (ingredients, origins, etc.) before encouraging students to taste the food. However, on some meetings, members – with the officers’ help – may work together to prepare a simple dish, which not only immerses students in foreign cuisines, but also gives them a great time.
International Food Club meets every other Friday at lunch in Ms. Musial’s room (N313). Andi reminds anyone interested in joining that “participation from our members is key. Without sharers or people willing to help out, the club can’t continue. So if you’re thinking about joining, be ready to participate and keep in mind that we’re not just a lunch program. We’re a community dedicated to sharing the world’s food with the students of the Science Academy.”
Want to join the fun? Come to their next meeting and contact them at email@example.com for information on how to join their Schoology Group.
Martial Arts Club
Esther Chong, President of Martial Arts Club, tells us, “Every meeting follows a flexible schedule. We begin with a respectful bow to one another, followed by 10 minutes of stretching and warm-ups. The next 10-15 minutes are devoted to specific techniques or fundamentals associated with a particular martial art. This can include strikes, blocks, kicks, or other movements, with the goal of improving sparring and form techniques. Of course, students are welcome to eat their lunch before the meeting begins. The main objective of this club is to refine techniques of martial arts, placing emphasis on not only the physical aspects, but also the mental/spiritual qualities of martial arts, promoting values of discipline and perseverance. Through guidance and encouragement in meetings, students are able to improve physical fitness, self-defense skills, and overall well being. In addition, this club is intended to generate interest in martial arts, spreading its values and benefits that may impact one’s life significantly.”
“Overall, joining the Martial Arts club offers a holistic approach to well-being and provides an opportunity for students to engage with other martial artists, or even learn new techniques. Hope to see you at our next meeting!”
Martial Arts Club meets every Wednesday during lunch in the Cardio Room. Join their Schoology group with this code: N7GJ-NWGJ-M65T3.
This club strives to provide members with impactful insights about themselves and the world around them while allowing students to develop a strong moral compass, a trait that could benefit them for the rest of their lives. During meetings, which occur during lunch every Tuesday in Mr. Nuno’s room N307, members discuss ethical dilemmas and topics.
According to Jordin Lim, Co-President of Ethics Club, “Through this club, we hope to provide students with a place where they can discuss–or do some friendly arguing–with their peers about ethical topics and dilemmas they may find interesting. It really is great fun! You can even come just to listen in on what everyone else has to say; you don’t have to participate in discussion if you don’t want to. Sometimes we even bring little snacks 🙂 We will also be sending out a team to compete in the National Ethics Bowl and although the competition is only open to high schoolers, both middle school and high school students are more than welcome to join our club. If you would like to check out some examples of ethical dilemmas provided by the National Ethics Bowl, look through these https://nhseb.org/case-library. If you’d be excited to approach these cases with your peers or even if you’re curious to find out exactly what ethics is, consider giving the Ethics Club a try!”
Interested? The access code for joining their Schoology Group is N47D-ZK6N-SC3H6 and feel free to drop in to the next meeting.
Joining this club is a great opportunity to practice volleyball in a more casual and fun setting and meet new people. The club may be of particular interest to players on the varsity or junior varsity volleyball teams that are looking to get some extra practice in as well as to students who want to try out for those teams some day. The club meets every Friday during lunch on the volleyball courts.
Daniel Shin, Co-President of Volleyball Club, says that his club’s goal is to “bring the community together,” and adds, “If you want to get better at volleyball and make some new friends, join us!”
If you’re interested, come to the next meeting and talk to either Dillon Reeves or Daniel Shin to join their Discord server.
Milena Karagezyan, President of Armenian Club, tells us, “During meetings, we talk and learn about Armenian history and its future–sharing any new information discovered such as historical events that occurred in Armenia and Greater Armenia. We also watch educational videos and mvoies, listen to and learn authentic Armenian songs, and we may even have a special guest joining us as we did last year. The goal of my club is to teach and inform as many people as possible about Armenia and its history, and hopefully try to help Artsakh and the people from Artsakh through fundraisers and any other ways we can. Members also do fun activities such as playing Kahoot, sharing Armenian food, and so much more. This is a great opportunity for you to learn about a culture that has survived for thousands of years and is one of the oldest surviving countries in the world”
Armenian Club meets every other Thursday during lunch. If you decide to join, you should come to their next meeting in room N313.
Give back to the environment by joining Environmental Club! This club is great for earning volunteering hours to put on your college application and have a great time earning them. Attend beach and park clean-ups with fellow students as you help care for our planet and maybe even have some lunch with them afterwards. President of Environmental Club Daniel Said says, “The goal of the club is to foster environmental awareness in high schoolers and to make a positive impact in our local environment.”
Interested? Join their Schoology group with this code: 5ZHN-3DS7-B8X3C.
Dungeons & Dragons Club
Among the most popular clubs on campus, Dungeons & Dragons Club is dedicated to bringing our students together through friendly game play. They welcome players of all levels of experience and are open to teach you everything you need to know about this wonderful game. As President of Dungeons & Dragons Club Aidan Khan says, “We are a community of people who do not judge, have fun, and exercise our imaginations.”
The club meets every Wednesday during lunch in room W202 (Mr. Lewis’ room) on the second floor. If you’re interested, come to the next meeting and consult with the club officers.Read More
By Milan Riley, Jordin Lim, and Ryan Park
On October 20th and 21st, the Science Academy celebrated Homecoming events, including a pep rally, Homecoming football game, and Homecoming Dance.
The pep rally occurred Friday in the gym during lunch and 5th period, and was attended by both East Valley High School and The Science Academy high school students. There were many surprise events, such as a performance by the Dance Club as well as a lip sync battle between our own Mr. Parks and an East Valley teacher. Students were also invited to participate in several light-hearted competitions. Besides these fun extras, the point of the rally was for the fall season Falcon sports teams to introduce themselves. These included girls’ flag football, girls’ volleyball, cross country, and last but definitely not least our beloved football team. Tying the event together were our cheerleaders, whose active involvement boosted the morale and excitement of the rally.
As for the Homecoming Football Game, our school played against Discovery High School. Our Falcons came out on top against the Bulldogs, winning 50 – 26. After the second quarter, a half-time performance was held as trucks carrying the homecoming court and our school’s ASB were paraded around the football field. After the performance, we continued the second half of the game and were able to not only bring home a trophy but also qualify for playoffs! While there were those who thought the popcorn was somewhat lacking, the game certainly wasn’t. The $5 tickets were well worth their price, and the triumphant game had a notable added effect of splendor under the dramatic evening sky.
Finally, the climax of Homecoming events took place on Saturday, October 21st, from 7-10 p.m. with our Homecoming Dance. From a freshman’s perspective, this indoor dance was definitely a step up from the outdoor dances we had in middle school. Purchasing a $12 ticket ($15 at the door) meant free pizza, chips, cake, and water. Accompany that with gorgeous decorations and lights, along with great music, and you have a formula for a fantastic dance! Toward the end of the night, we held a dance for the Homecoming king, Anthony M., and queen, Zahra R..
In the crowd were the other nobles of the Homecoming Court, listed below:
Grade 12: King – Anthony M., Queen – Zahra R.
Grade 11: Prince – Daniel S., Princess – Ava S.
Grade 10: Duke – Madison P., Duchess – Payton S.
Grade 9: Knight – Luis S., Lady – Kiahn L.
Thank you to all who helped to make the evening so special!
2023 Falcon football team at the Homecoming DanceRead More
by Maleeya Mickelson
A favorite Back to School tradition is our annual middle school field trip to the California Science Center, which this year took place on September 21, 2023. This field trip occurs early on in the school year, giving students a great opportunity to make new friends, socialize, and share some science-related adventures.
The California Science Center was created to teach students about science in a fun way using hands-on exhibits. At the Science Center, studentsare able to further their knowledge on subjects they’ve been learning about at school as well as general scientific topics of interest. As a STEM school, it’s especially important that we go field trips like this in order to allow students to use their critical thinking and creativity to learn more about different scientific concepts. This field trip can also spark new scientific interests that students may want to explore in the future.
Right after we arrived at the Science Center, we watched the IMAX movie Blue Whales. IMAX movies are different from regular movies, in that they are shown on gigantic screens and in 3D. The IMAX movie we watched this year showcased the journeys of two crews of scientists: one documenting whales in the Gulf of California, and the other searching for a missing population of blue whales off the Seychelles Islands. This movie taught the students about the communication methods, diets, survival challenges, and so much more regarding these massive creatures, which are the largest mammals to ever live on Earth. Most importantly, the students learned about the impact of blue whales on the oceans’ ecosystems and why we must strive to protect them.
Once the IMAX movie finished, everyone headed to the cafeteria area to eat lunch. After lunch, groups of students with their chaperones were free to head off to explore the exhibits.
Images from Blue Whales
The California Science Center includes four major exhibit areas: World of Life, Creative World, Ecosystems, and Air and Space. The World of Life exhibit highlights aspects of human biology, evolution, and genetics to teach students more about the living world around them and how it came to be. Creative World shows students how people take advantage of technology to help them with transportation, communication, and construction projects. The Ecosystems exhibit lets students explore more that 200 species of plants and animals in various environments. This exhibit shows how organisms on Earth all depend upon each other and are therefore interconnected. The Air and Space section of the Science Center allows students to learn more about atmospheric flight and space travel using the principles of science and engineering. This exhibit area also houses the space shuttle Endeavour, which will unfortunately be leaving the Science Center on December 31, 2023 until its new exhibit is created nearby at the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
The different exhibits with many interactive and informative experiences help to make the annual middle school field trip to the California Science Center a great way for the students at The Science Academy to learn more about science while also having fun. The hands-on exhibits and IMAX movie covered a handful of scientific topics including aquatic mammal biology, human biology, evolution, genetics, engineering, architecture, environmental and climate challenges, atmospheric flight, and space travel. Overall, this field trip gave the middle schoolers a very fun, engaging, and educational experience made possible thanks to our students and their families through donations to the Science Academy Fundraising Initiative (SciFi), which paid for the IMAX admissions and bus transportation. Thank you, SciFi!
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 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 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
by Liz Zarikyan
This year’s Science Fair, which took place February 6-8th, was a showcase of projects from 7th and 8th grade students that uncovered mysteries, revealed solutions to some of our world problems, and even provided resources to use in case of emergency. I interviewed some of the 7th grade winners to find out more about their projects.
Jordan R. – Honorable Mention – 7th grade
What was the title of your project?
The Effects of Proteinase K on the Biodegradation of Plastic
Why did you choose to do this project?
I was interested in finding a way to safely degrade plastic because I’ve seen plastic pollution and have wondered how that problem could be solved. Only around 9 percent of plastic is recycled so I started my research to see if there was any way to eliminate it. I thought this method was a good option for dealing with the problem, and Proteinase K got my attention due to its ability to degrade the polymers in plastic. The surrounding soil is used through the existing microbes that consume the lactic acids which are created when the polymer is broken down by the enzyme.
Did you have any complications when working on your project?
It was hard to find proteinase K, which is an enzyme used in molecular biology. It was hard to find because it’s not an item that’s bought on a day-to-day basis, making it less available. I didn’t consider purchasing other enzymes because I researched other “digestive” enzymes such as lipase and I found that they would not be effective on plastic. I originally tried to obtain the enzyme from BLIRT, which is the primary European manufacturer of recombinant enzymes, but after applying for an offer and not getting a response, I searched for other suppliers and was then able to purchase it on eBay.
What was your process?
I tested the effects of the enzyme on the plastic by embedding the different amounts (0 mg, 10 mg, 40 mg) into 50 g of soil and then using that to cover plastic disks that came from disposable food containers. After 2 weeks of putting these out in the sun, I used Image J, which is a Java-based image processing program that provides the function of calculating the surface area within an image.
What were your results?
Proteinase K helps biodegrade plastic by a decent amount. 40 mg of Proteinase K was able to lower the surface area of plastic by over 8% in just 2 weeks.
If you could do this experiment again, what would you change?
I would run more trials because I want to test out increasing the amount of enzyme and/or composting time period.
What was the best part of your experiment?
The best part of the experiment was seeing how the plastic had degraded. I was interested to see how the experiment would turn out and was happy that it worked.
Paria V. & Kayla A. – tied for 1st place – 7th grade
What was the title of your project?
“Water on the Go: Creating an Emergency Water Filter”
Why did you choose to do this project?
We set out to create a water filter that could be used while hiking with available water, so we wanted to find out how much cleaner you can make dirty water through a mechanical process. Also, there is a shortage of clean water around the world due to natural disasters and human-orientated events, and this process could possibly allow for places around the world to have drinkable water.
What were your results?
We measured our results using a TDS meter. The TDS meter measures parts per million (PPM) of dissolved sediments in a substance. In our first trial, we had a starting PPM of 311 and a resulting PPM of 273. In our second trial, the starting PPM was 357, and it resulted as a PPM of 303. In our third trial, we started with a very high PPM of 493, which is close to the highest contaminant level and highly dangerous to consume. The resulting PPM was 343, which was a very significant change. It brought water with an almost max contaminant level down to the same PPM as tap water.
What was the best part of your experiment?
The best part was testing each layer before putting it in the filter to see how it would filter dirty water on its own. The layers we used were two pieces of foam on each end, then a starting layer of charcoal, then sand, then small rocks, and lastly, a final layer of charcoal. These layers were separated by a small layer of straining fabric so they wouldn’t mix. We decided to add another layer of charcoal, because we found that it was the best filtering factor. Something interesting we found was that when you pour water onto activated charcoal, at first it will sizzle and bubble. Afterwards, the water started to run clear, showing that the charcoal did a lot of the work. The activated charcoal strips out the toxins and odors in the water. The sand and rocks removed the larger sediments before reaching the last layer of charcoal.
What was the process after you figured out your layers?
We drilled a hole into the cap of a bottle and cut the bottom off. We then sealed a coupling into the drilled hole with waterproof silicon to ensure it wouldn’t leak. Next, we attached tubing from the coupling to the main filter and in the middle placed a valve. The valve starts and stops the water flow. This part of the mechanism does not affect the results of the filter, but it does make the filter easier to use.
Did you have any complications when working on your project?
It was hard to drill a hole in the bottle cap, and it was hard to get the cloth pieces in the tube. We also had an unexpected trial when testing our filter when the PPM actually increased, meaning the water got dirtier. This was a result of us not compressing the layer enough, so the sediments got stuck in between the layers.
If you could do this experiment again, what would you change?
To improve our project we could add either a solar panel pump or a hand pump. This is because our filter was a bit slow because of the many thick layers. This would pump in the water, making it faster and more convenient. A hand pump would be added in case a large amount of clean water is needed in a short amount of time. We could also add a stand because it took two hands to hold the filter. If a stand is added, then the filter would be completely automatic and convenient. These add-ons are not necessary for the filter to work in case of an emergency, but they would be very helpful.
Final filtration process