JPA Students win national Math competition

Monday, 3rd April 2017
Left to right: Summ and Kimheng with their 1st place certificates, Liger's robot, 3D printing.

Five students from Grades 11 and 12 attended the 2nd Annual, Cambodia Science & Engineering Festival (CSEF) in Phnom Penh. The CSEF, Cambodia’s largest national Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, (STEM) event, aims to interest Cambodian youth in STEM subjects and promote innovation. During the festival, Summ, and Kimheng finished as the winners of the Grade 11 national math competition.

Grade 11 student, Kimheng, said, “It was a great opportunity to participate in this STEM festival. I was apprehensive before the math competition, as I knew I had to compete with other students from different schools from all over Cambodia. I thought that those other participants were geniuses and there was no way that I could beat them as I don’t have much time to study math in Khmer. Then I realized that I could apply what I have learned in my pre-calculus class to many of the problems and this helped me a lot.

“When they announced the result, I was shocked, as I didn’t expect that we would win 1st place. This made me realize that I shouldn’t have underestimated my ability.”

Reflecting on her win, Grade 11 student, Summ, said, “It was so good to win the competition. I never knew that we Cambodians could build so many amazing technological projects from simple materials.”

Grade 12 student, Srey Phatt, said, “What I liked most about CSEF was that people didn’t just display a poster showing their work, they brought their actual projects with them for us to see and investigate. We were able get involved in educational activities and interact with the inventions on display. Going to this kind of event is so beneficial as we network with a lot of people, and are introduced to enterprises leading the field of technology in Cambodia. The experience has sparked new interests for us all, as well as opening our minds to innovative ideas right here in Cambodia.”

Chaperone for the competition, Ms. Kouern, said, “Many people at CSEF came up to us and asked questions about our students as they were so impressed by their knowledge and interest in science and technology. I was proud to tell them about our school. When the group returned to school, calculus teacher, Mr. Sokcha, reflected, “We gave them no special preparation for the competition, all the credit goes to the students themselves for working tirelessly.”

Congratulations to the students for representing their school so well and thank you to the organizers for bringing this amazing opportunity to young Cambodians.

Dr. Seuss Day

Monday, 27th March 2017

Lower School celebrated Dr. Seuss day with themed food, costumes, and a special assembly. Students enjoyed the day as their beloved author's stories came to life. Lower School department chair, Ms. Norton, said, “Our book themed events are building up a love for reading in our students which will take them far!”

The morning began with students arriving at school in costumes, and enjoying a breakfast of green eggs while surrounded by a canteen filled with ‘Cat in the Hat’, hats, and trees from the book ‘The Lorax’. Following this, teachers and students spent the morning reading Dr. Seuss books, and completing themed activities. Then, it was time for some Dr. Seuss arts and crafts, where students were able to jazz up their already amazing costumes and decorate their classrooms. At lunch they chuckled as they ate some red fish and blue fish. In the afternoon, students joined together for an assembly where the elephant, Horton (Ms. Long in a wonderful costume), read the story of ‘Horton Hears a Who’, to an enraptured audience.

Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Shepperd, said, “The children loved learning more about Dr Seuss and listening for the rhyming words in his stories. Everyone looked great in their costumes, and were so happy to see and hear Horton reading a story. I was very proud of my children for eating all the different colored food. They were unafraid to try it because of their experience with the story, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, where the main character tries the food, and surprisingly likes it.”

Julie, from Kindergarten, said, “Dr. Seuss’ books are really long, but I love them so much as they are filled with so many rhyming words and funny pictures. It was so strange to have green eggs for breakfast, but they tasted nice.”

Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Fernandez, said, “Dr. Seuss has a wonderful way of embracing silliness, encouraging kindness, and showing children how to be them-selves. The students really love his books! We have been learning about rhyming words all year, so the children really enjoyed hearing, and identifying all the silly rhymes in his stories.”

Kannika, from Kindergarten, said, “I loved listening to the story that Ms. Long read to us. She was dressed as an elephant too!"

When discussing the life and stories of Dr. Seuss, a common question students had was, “How can it be Dr. Seuss’ birthday when he has already died?” This question enabled teachers to talk to students about different ways of remembering people for their achievements.

Early Years coordinator, Mr. Crawford, said, “The success of the day was a culmination of lots of work that we have been doing throughout the year. Children dressed as book characters, heard lots of rhyming words, and differentiated between fantasy and reality.”

It was an entertaining and educational day, where students could see their favorite stories come alive, thanks to the hard work of all the Lower School teachers.

A special thanks goes to, Ms. Fernandez, Ms. Long, and Ms. Stewart for organizing everything. We cannot wait for next year’s Dr. Seuss day.

Reaching out to the wide world

Monday, 20th March 2017

Last week, Grade 1 teachers, Ms. Allen, Ms. Bennett, and Ms. Foster took their classes on an excursion to the Siem Reap post office. The trip was part of Grade 1’s Reading, and Language Arts unit ‘Journeys’ where students have been learning all about preparing for a journey and all the exciting things you can see on a journey. In their social studies class they have been learning about how people with different jobs all contribute to their communities. They decided to bring their studies to life by learning how postal workers help us to stay connected.

Fortunately, the three teachers have family, friends and colleagues all over the world, so they arranged for each student to send a postcard to people in many different countries.

Ms. Allen said, “The trip to the post office is connected in so many ways to what we've been learning throughout this year. We had learned how to write a thank you note in December, formatting a letter with the date, a greeting, a message, a salutation, and a signature. So, writing a postcard allowed us to purposefully and meaningfully communicate with a real person in writing. The students wrote something about themselves, and then asked the person they wrote to a question. This way they’ll know that their postcards really did reach someone on the other side of the world.”

In the days before the excursion, students learned how to correctly address a postcard and researched the countries where their postcards were heading. They learned how postcards are collected and sent on airplanes, trains, trucks, cars, and motorbikes and how mail-carriers around the world deliver each postcard to the right person.

On the way to the post office, as part of their ‘Journeys’ unit, students worked in pairs with their bus buddy, a crayon and a clipboard to record the activities of people they saw outside the bus window. They listed jobs they saw people doing and all the different modes of transportation they saw.

Once they arrived, they explored the post office, learning about post boxes, how to purchase stamps and apply them in the correct way, and, most importantly, how to send mail. Once the postcards were ready, everyone lined up and posted them, one-by-one.

Siev Ie, said, “You must remember to put the stamp on the postcard, before you mail it.”

Liheng said, “I sent my postcard to Canada, so it will be very cold by now.”

Premma said, “My favorite part of the day was when we opened the wooden JPA mailbox, and there was nothing inside. Then I sent my postcard all the way to the US.”

Ms. Bennett said, “The students had a great day and learned a lot. At first, they were excited just to go into the city, but once we arrived at the post office, they were fascinated by the different aspects of sending and receiving mail. Mailing their postcards was the highlight of the day.”

Teachers have arranged that every postcard will receive a response from the recipients. Grade 1 can hardly contain their excitement, as this will be the first letter any of them have ever received.

Update! Postcards have already begun to arrive at their destinations. A postcard, sent to Lebanon, has already prompted a reply. When it was mailed, the person working in the post office in Lebanon said that, this was the first letter she had ever sent to Cambodia, in over 35 years of working there.