Once again the Science Department organised its Annual Astronomy Night for the Grade 10 (Form 3) students. The event which took place on Friday 24th May 2013 kicked off with a talk entitled ‘An Introduction to the solar system’. The talk was delivered by Physics teachers Ms. Aveline Mifsud Farrugia and Ms. Elaine Grech, and introduced the students to the main composites of the solar system through audio visual media.
After a short break, a cup of hot chocolate and the now famous ‘spaceship’ cookies, prepared by the teachers themselves, it was time for the much awaited second session. During this session, the school made contact with Dr. Salim Ansari, Head of Information Systems, Communications and Education Support Service at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. During this live link, Dr Ansari spoke about the origin of the universe and about the formation of black holes amongst other things. He also explained the work he is currently involved with namely that of Technical officer of the GAIA Data Access and Analysis System – a spacecraft that should be launched on the 17th of September of this year to compile a 3D space catalogue of approximately 1 billion stars, or roughly 0.2% of stars in the Milky Way.
Next it was time for the astronomical observation. The Malta Astronomical Society set up two powerful telescopes in the grounds of the school and we were able to observe a number of constellations, the Moon as well as the planet Saturn.
The Astronomy Night then continued with a BBQ on the school grounds. It was then time to have fun and relax.
After eating, the students paraded in front of a jury for the Space Hat Competition. The novelty and creativity of the hats prepared by the students was outstanding such that the jury (made up of science teachers) found it hard to select the winners. The most original hat was awarded to student Jamie Brincat Brockdorff who prepared a hat with a flashing light and a helium balloon, whereas the most creative hat was won by student Nathaniel Gauci who portrayed a number of space shuttles zooming through planets on top of a self-designed hat.
The next activity was a space model competition where the students were given a pile of recycled material and had to construct a space model in 30 minutes. Once again the creativity of the students was outstanding. The jury selected the model ‘Ms. Iggy’ as the winning model, designed and executed by student Sarah Cammilleri
Once again, the dedication of the staff and enthusiasm of the students, as well as the varied technical resources of the school made such an event possible through hands-on experience and loads of fun. San Anton Students do not just learn about science, they experience it and live it.
This event is an opportunity for our students to experience science through imaginative investigations and fun activities. Such an event is typical of the San Anton ethos of placing students at the centre of the learning process.