Friday, April 26, 2013

Science Day

Today was my school's annual Science Day. I'm not sure why they call it that, since it is probably more accurate to call it "Inter-Class Competition (in Categories Including but Not Limited to Science) Day". Since I am so rarely in the loop about these things, I knew next to nothing about today until, well, today. My students had had midterms all week until yesterday, so preparations for today's competitions began then, and the bulk of the special events took place today.

Each of the nine teams (divided by homeroom classes: four first-year teams, four second-years teams, and one team that included all thirty-three of the third-years) were given nine "UCC" tasks to accomplish. "UCC" apparently stands for user-created content, but it basically means that the students had to create something in the subjects of biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and other science-y fields, as well as music and English.

I wasn't around to watch most of the competitions, but I imagine that my students were carrying out various experiments, building interesting machines, and programming like mad in the computer lab all day. I heard banging coming from downstairs and snatches of singing and musical instruments coming from upstairs. As for myself, I spent all day at my desk scrambling to finish some lesson plans for next week. Yes, I procrastinated (미뤘어요) and it was kicking me in the butt.

However, throughout the morning, representatives from each team would periodically pop into the English teachers' office to ask us for translation help or to check the grammar for the English UCC, whose objective was to create a short, two-minute video about anything related to science or the school.

After lunch, my three English teacher colleagues and I watched the videos and chose our favorites. My favorite was probably a video by one of the first-year teams that parodied Mythbusters, short clips from which I've been using quite extensively in class recently! I also enjoyed a dramatic movie that compared learning "science" by cramming for an exam versus learning science (i.e. doing experiments and exploring) for the love of it and, of course, my third-years' short film about what would happen if you traveled back in time and murdered all the great Western scientists because you hate having to study their theories for midterms. It was probably inappropriate, but it sure was entertaining. The winning video was a brief and cute PSA against the proliferation of tablets in society: the tablet may be replacing books, notes, and everything else in school, but it cannot replace... toilet paper. "Newer is not always better", cautioned the video at the very end.

Later in the afternoon, I had the good fortune to be able to watch the two winning UCCs from the music competition. The cohort from the third-year team managed to write a freaking musical (in a day in a half!) about the academic scandal in 1962 when Watson, Crick, and Wilkins won a Nobel Prize for their research in DNA but totally did not credit Rosalind Franklin for her ideas which they had used. Wow. The second-year team sang a catchy tune -- which included a hip-thrusting dance sequence -- about how much they love science. It was fun. I'm very impressed with my students' creativity!