Day 2 - AYSF 2011

Mon, 2011-08-22 13:50 -- Team Canada-AYSF

On the second full day of the 4th APEC Youth Science Festival, Minuoja had the activity “Atomic Energy”, and I had the activity “Water Rocket”. I learned some tips on how to effectively build rockets to be stable and aerodynamic. These included having a heavy nose on the rocket so that it brings the centre of mass forward, and having fins on the back so that it will stay stable. I put a Canadian flag sticker on my rocket because it was going to represent Canada.

Later in the day, the water rockets were launched, and they went nearly seventy metres! What an amazing experience!

- Benjamin

Today, was the first day for the camps! I was participating in the atomic camp and was very excited! After breakfast, we sat in rows with our group. For some camps, the groups had to go to another location, but my camp took place at the Sirindhorn Science Home. After doing some simple activities, such as our clapping cheer, we went to the room where our camp took place. We had to fill out a questionnaire about our knowledge of atomic energy. Afterwards, we were separated into teams (I was in the purple team) and the staff explained what the Office of Atoms for Peace (which hosted the camp) was and introduced themselves. They also explaine what we were going to do during the camp and that at the end of it, the group with the most points would win.

First, we did some ice-breaking activities that were pretty fun! The goal of this was to get to know each other. During the second game, I was chosen as the kindest person in the camp and had to go in front of everyone - I was so shy! Then, we listened to a presentation about atomic energy and nuclear power plants entitled: "Atoms are all around us." It was interesting because I acquired so much knowledge by listening and by taking notes.

Next, we had a great activity where each team had to choose a member (my team chose me) to wear the protective suit that people working in contaminated environments wear. The team had to hide 2 sources of radioactivity. My team chose to hide one in my hair and the other on the bottom of one of my feet. Then a member of another team had to use radiation detection equipment to find where the material was hidden and they got points if they found it. It was really fun and intellectually rewarding at the same time. A member of the pink team was chosen to search for the sources hidden on me and found the one hidden under my feet, but missed the one in my hair, so we were very happy! I won a small pillow (Thai devil, very cute) because I participated in the game.

At lunch, my friend, P Fai, showed me how to eat in the Thai way, with a fork and a spoon (they don't use knives). We also ate longan (a very juicy and succulent fruit). Then, we went back to our camp.

In the next activity, we had to do a rally with 5 missions. Before the missions, we had to tie two balloons to ourselves and protect them. At the end of the rally, the staff members would count the number of balloons each team had preserved and give points to the team who had conserved the most. We (purple team) went to our 1st mission and were separated into groups of 4. We had to transport a "radioactive" bottle to the controlled area and put it into the shielding box as quickly as possible by using an elastic with four strings that were attached to each of us. During the mission, we had to help each other to safely transport the radioactivity to the destination and learn to work as a team in a genial and effective manner. To get more points, we had to punish ourselves by putting makeup on our team-mates, it was very amusing.

At our 2nd mission: "Recognize the proper shields," we had to use chopsticks in a relay to pick up sources of radioactivity (represented by different types of balls) and then place them in their appropriate shielding material (3 water buckets on the table representing paper for alpha, wood for beta and lead for gamma particles). It made me learn the basic information regarding radiation, how to be properly protected against certain radiation, the properties of different types of shielding materials - and to LEARN TO USE CHOPSTICKS!

Next was the mission "Clogging 'em." Our group had to develop a plan to clean up radioactive material, represented by tennis balls, as quickly as possible. It was a mission where we got wet, which was hilarious.

In the next mission, we had to guess the word that one of our team members was given. All the words were related to atomic energy and reminded us of the lectures the staff members had given in the morning.

The final mission was "Rescue the hostages." We were divided into two groups: hostages and rescuers. I was a rescuer and we had to use a radiation detection meter to perform a source of radiation search in a controlled area. If all hidden sources were not recovered, the hostages were prosecuted. Our group found all the sources and won a lot of points.

The missions were over and so was day one, but before leaving, the staff counted the number of balloons we had preserved and also explained the activity we would be doing the next day - creating an "Atomic Society," a fictitious city based on the creative input and imagination of the participants. We would have to work together and design our own city, which uses and regulates nuclear energy. To prepare for this activity, each team had to create (within the Tuesday deadline) a draft of our atomic city. Our purple team went to the cafeteria, brainstormed a bit and then wrote down our ideas.

We had a little bit of free time, so we ate a small snack and then went back to the Convention Centre where we visited the small stores on the 2nd floor. During dinner I sat with an Australian girl named Anna. She was very friendly. My Indonesian and Thai friends were also there.

After dinner, we had a social get-together and Science Foresight Workshop: "Together We Can" - a brainstorming session among APEC youth science representatives where the objective was to come up with new ideas on how science, technology, and innovation can contribute to sustainable development. We had to record our ideas of how the world would be in many years by drawing it. We drew a big earth and then added all our ideas, it was very beautiful and colourful. Then, we went back to our accommodations.

- Minuoja