Student participants learned science concepts from the exhibits and one minute of interaction appeared to have a fruitful learning outcome. Teachers recognized that the exhibits would be useful to their teaching after trying out the exhibits themselves and were certain the visit would help students in their academic advancement. Learning in an informal context through the exhibits can occur and that visits to the PSC are useful.
For more than 2 decades, the Philippine Science Centrum presently located in Marikina City has never ceased in offering new features and exhibits year after year. With its internal capacity in interactive exhibit development and fabrication, the PSC has the luxury of producing customized exhibits with locally-sourced materials.
Having a ‘hair-raising’ experience with the Van de Graaff exhibit, mimicking the ‘Matrix Move’ at the Wonder House, making an illusion of floating in the air at the Anti-Gravity Mirror, experiencing ‘airlessness’ of the outer space at the Human Gyro, etc…are some of the amazing ‘moves’ one will experience at the Science Centrum. To the more than 3 million visitors composed mostly of students and teachers who were engaged and got interested in science through PSC’s exhibits, their experience leaves an indelible mark in their psyche. Post-visit comments, blogs and even press releases attest to the visitors’ educational and entertaining experience at the Science Centrum.
How about the other millions of students, teachers and people in all walks of life in the countryside, in the provinces and towns, will they be able to experience the amazing science exhibits in their locality? The Philippine
Science Centrum made sure they be given opportunity to be ‘edu-tained’ by the hands-on science modules. As early as 1995, the PSC mobilized its first mobile exhibition, the Adventures in Discovery – Traveling Science Centrum (AIDTSC) to bridge the gap of distance and bring the Science Centrum to the regions. The maiden exhibition in Lapulapu City, Mactan Island, Cebu Province was a blockbuster wherein the AID-TSC no longer found its way back to Metro Manila – it was bought by the City Mayor to be permanently installed in the city and became the centerpiece of the Lapulapu City Center for Excellence.
The PSC replicated the 40 science modules of AID-TSC and continued to visit other towns and provincial capitals. Due to unrelenting requests and clamor for month-long exhibitions from various entities in the provinces, the 2nd set, “Sci-Fun Caravan” was produced and mobilized in 2002.
After the successful exhibitions of the 2 mobile exhibitions (from 2002 to 2006) and the assessment that the PSC beneficiaries are larger in numbers at the regions, the PFST Board of Trustees decided to redirect PFST and PSC’s resources to assemble and produce 7 sets of mobile exhibitions starting in 2007. It is also targeted to mobilize 9 traveling sets by 2016 wherein 3 sets will be assigned to each of the three major island-groups of the country: 3 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas and 3 in Mindanao.
At the moment, the PSC is right on schedule wherein the 3rd set: “Science on the Move” was mobilized in 2007, the 4th set: “Science Works! in 2009, and the 5th set, “Science Sparks!” was completed and mobilized last year.
For the 3rd set, the packaging design of “pack and go” was introduced wherein the main exhibit is boxed to keep it safe when in transit and its cover when inverted serves as the exhibit stand/platform when in ‘exhibit mode’. The 5th set, aptly known as “Science Sparks!” deals on energy, electricity and the environment. The 6th PSC mobile exhibition which focuses on Electronics and Communications is now on the initial phase of research and development. It is targeted to be completed by the 2nd quarter of 2014. As the number of PSC’s traveling sets increase, the number of students and teachers ‘touched by the amazing and exciting world of science’ also increases.
With 5 sets, the average annual attendance is already at 500,000 visitors. This justifies PFST and PSC’s thrust of exposing and creating interest in science to more students at a ‘faster pace’. From Abra to Samar to Siargao Island and to Lanao del Norte, the mobile exhibitions have already visited 150 towns, provincial cities and capitals with a combined attendance of more than 3.1 million visitors. By 2016, this number is
targeted to reach 6 million.
Producing the 9 sets of traveling exhibitions is PFST’s top priority but keeping the Science Centrum constantly upgraded with new and exciting interactive exhibits is still a ‘must-do’.
The Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST), a non-profit private organization, manages and operates the Philippine Science Centrum and its traveling exhibitions. PFST is recognized by the Department of Education as a vital partner “in promoting and developing scientific and analytical thinking among students and promoting quality science education.
On the other hand, the Department of Science and Technology recognized the impact of the Philippine Science Centrum by directing its regional offices to install its own Regional Science Centrums. DOST accorded PFST the “Outstanding S&T Foundation Award” in 1996 and the GAWAD LIDER Award for Exemplary Leadership – Institution Category in 2007.
The Philippine Science Centrum received from the Association of Science and Technology Centers based in USA the 2011 Roy L. Shaper Leading Edge Award for PSC’s rapid response and recovery during typhoon Ondoy and as an Outstanding Science Center outside of the United States of America.