No, this isn’t about History but something about Science. Nothing too heavy; just about Gabby and me and a wonderful repetition of what’s done in the past.
Ages ago when I was in 4th (or was it 3rd?) grade in Marikina Catholic School, I was assigned to a Science project called, “Soil Erosion”. With only two rectagular wooden boxes at hand –one with soil, the other one with soil and plant and a small water dipper, I presented my experiement at the school’s Science Fair. For one whole day, my classmates and I were provided individual tables inside a classroom to set up our experiments for demonstration. When guests, teachers and other students started to pour in, I remember I had to repeat the explanation to my “experiment” several times over. Then came the nuns, teachers and a priest who all held pens and papers, dropped by each table to asked queries about each presentation. I didn’t know it’s a contest, much more I didn’t expect to win as somewhat like, the Best Science Project or so. It’s a pleasant surprise after a long and tiring day at school.
Looking back, I think it gave me the first exposure in public speaking that serendipitously led me to what I do now for a living.
Fast forward to October 15, 2012, Monday, it was time for our son, Gabby to present a Science project in school here in Penang. Nothing specific was assigned to him, only something to do with Science. The 8-year-old boy had so many things in mind. Initially, he wanted to create and bring a model of a head that when lifted, will expose a model of a brain, then he also thought of making a volcano that would errupt and a few more of ideas that he got from watching Science-and-craft-oriented shows on TV and from reading encyclopedia in school. I casually told my family about my “Soil Erosion” project back in my days. Probably because of its simplicity, environmental and social relevance, they agreed on the suggestion. Together, Gabby and I recereated what I demonstrated in our Science Fair back in the mid 80s.
We didn’t have rectangular wooden boxes so we used two plastic pots –one with soil, the other one with a plant.
Although, everything was made in a rush, I had fun helping out Gabby with his project. I prepared a written report about his Soil Erosion; Tina helped me out to simplify the words that kids of Gabby’s age and younger could easily understand. Say, for example instead of using the word, “objectives”, we used “goals” or rather than using the word, “applied”, we used “added” and for ”methodology”, ”procedures”.
Apparently, it’s difficult to explain and demonstrate something that’s new to you and things you don’t comprehend so we made sure Gabby understood what his project is all about before he brought everything in school.
The boy easily grasped everything after I showed him photos of flood and landslides from the web. Gabby saw images from the Philippines that captured effects of having less or no trees in the mountains that supposed to absorb water from rainfall. His reaction was the same as mine.
I instructed him to use plastic and old newspapers as the base of his set up and told him that the roots of the plant in his experiment represent the roots of trees, and the soil in the pots depicts the Earth. Obviously, when he pours water in each pots, the one with no plant would wash down soil particles in an instant.