Towards the end of every scholastic year Grade 10 (Form 3 ) San Anton students eagerly anticipate the Astronomy Night, an event which takes place on the school premises. This year the event took place on Friday 27th May 2011.
The night kicked off with an orientation session where the students were given information about the programme for the night. This was followed by a presentation about the Apollo 11 Mission – The Truth behind the Moon Landings. The presentation, carried out by Ms. Aveline Mifsud (Head of Science Department), Ms Elaine Grech (Physics teacher) and Mr. Jonathan Pace (Physics Teacher), explained the struggles and satisfactions behind the moon landing of the Apollo Mission of 1969 and helped to explain why some conspiracists have claimed that it was all a hoax. Scientific evidence was brought forward to support NASA’s claims that the landings actually happened.
Following this, students enjoyed hot chocolate and delicious cookies prepared by a number of teachers, namely Ms. Mireille Falzon, Ms. Valerie Zammit, Ms. Anna Camilleri, Ms. Lorraine Micallef and Ms. Joanna Borg under the direction of the school’s Home Economics teacher, Ms. Isabelle Depasquale.
It was soon time for the second presentation, this time carried out by Mr.Alexei Pace, member of the Astronomical Society of Malta. The theme of this presentation was another conspiracy theory - Ufology, Crop circles, and the 2012 phenomena. The students were not only intrigued by the subject but also contributed to the presentation by asking questions.
By the time this presentation was over, other members of the Astronomical Society, who are invited every year to set up their sophisticated apparatus on the school grounds, had prepared telescopes powerful enough to enable students to observe Saturn with its famous rings and moons, as well as star clusters and other celestial bodies. San Anton is ideally situated for such an activity as it is not surrounded by urban development and light pollution is minimal.
No summer evening event would be complete without a BBQ and music. Catering for fifty-five hungry students was only possible thanks to the help offered by staff volunteers including Ms. Sonia Silvio, Ms. Christine Naudi, Mr. Ralph Cassar, Ms. Marissa Banavage, Ms. Alexia Gatt. Ms. Mandy Scicluna, Ms. Jo-Anna Farrugia, Ms. Georgette Farrugia and Ms Josianne Cumbo.
The Astronomy night culminated in a challenging space hat competition, where the students were asked to prepare a hat with a space theme. These hats where ‘paraded’ in front of a jury and the best two hats where awarded prizes. This was followed by a space model competition, where groups of students had to construct space models out of recycling material. Despite the fact that the competition was held in the early hours of the morning, the various teams competed with enthusiasm and managed to come up with original and creative ideas. The winning team was also awarded prizes.
It was then time to switch off the lights and catch some sleep. The students got out their sleeping bags and just managed to doze off for a couple of hours. Pretty soon it was time to wake up and head home, tired but happy, after a hearty breakfast.
Once again, the dedication of the staff, generosity of the parents 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 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 putting students at the centre of the learning process.