St Margaret College, Secondary School, Verdala  |  (+356) 25985400|smc.verdala.ss@ilearn.edu.mt

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, CCP Science students learn about the healthy benefits of Dark Chocolate

On Wednesday February 24, 2021, Form 3 CCP Science students at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua participated in a Science project about the healthy benefits of dark chocolate. In this Science project, students learned about the history and the production of dark chocolate. This project was organized by Senior Science teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc and was related to the science study unit about mixtures.

The making of dark chocolate is quite a lengthy process which first involves the picking of ripe cacao beans from cacao trees. Then these cacao beans are cleaned and left to ferment for approximately nine days with the help of a yeast-based starter. The cacao beans are then put in wooden boxes or covered by banana leaves to develop their flavour. During this process the appropriate temperature, humidity and ventilation are necessary.

After fermentation, the cacao beans are left to dry and then roasted to acquire a dark brown colour and develop their flavour and aroma. Then the outer shell of the beans needs to be removed in order to get the inner beans called nibs. These nibs are then ground at high pressure to produce cocoa mass (chocolate liquor) and cocoa butter. Sugar is then mixed with cocoa mass and cocoa butter to produce a paste which needs to undergo a conching process.

The conching process involves rolling, rubbing and heating steps until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Chocolate will be smoother if the conching process is longer. Then a stabiliser (like soy lecithin) and additional flavours (like sea salt or vanilla) are added to the mixture. Finally comes the tempering process whereby the chocolate mixture is poured into moulds to cool and turn solid.

Dark chocolate should contain at least 75% cocoa chocolate, as the larger the cocoa percentage, the greater the health benefits. Flavoured dark chocolate is likely to contain more sugar and salt and so it is better to opt for plain dark chocolate to attain more health benefits. Consuming 20g of dark chocolate (two large squares or six small pieces) a day offers many health benefits but a balanced diet is always recommended, as dark chocolate contains saturated fat and sugar.

One of the benefits of dark chocolate is that it is rich in antioxidants and flavanols. The health benefit of flavanols is that they help our body to improve the cells that line the insides of our blood vessels and so reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies show that flavanols in dark chocolate offer some type of neuro-protective benefits and prevention from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Flavanols also have an anti-inflammatory effect which prevents inflammatory bowel disease; they can also protect our skin from sun damage because flavanols improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.

 

Another health benefit of dark chocolate is the fact that cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine which can improve and stimulate the brain function.

At the end of this research science project, participating students discussed the issue of fair-trade in the production of dark chocolate as some workers involved in this market (especially in African countries) are exploited. After the discussion students enjoyed the tasting of a piece of dark chocolate with 75% cocoa.

This project aims to reach three of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:  Good Health and Well-being, Life on Land, and Quality Education.

2021-05-01T08:50:47+00:00 May 1st, 2021|

St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, CCP Science students learn about filtration and how to make a water filter at home as part of their Science practicum

On Wednesday February 3, 2021, Form 3 CCP Science students at St. Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua learned about the process of filtration and how to make a water filter at home as part of their Science practicum. This Science task was related to their Science study unit about Filtration and Separating Mixtures.

After learning the science concept of solubility and insolubility, students were given the task of learning how to separate sand from water through a simple filtration experiment. Then students were encouraged to build a simple water filter at home as part of the ‘Saving the Drop Campaign’. It doesn’t take long to build a simple water filter at home and students were encouraged to opt for recycling material in this science task.

To build a water filter at home one needs the following materials: plastic bottle, tall drinking glass, small stones or gravel, clean sand, activated charcoal, cotton balls or cloth and scissors or knife.

Then one has to follow some simple steps to build a basic water filter. First, one cuts the bottom of the plastic bottle using scissors or knife and place it upside down into the tall drinking glass. The first thing to put inside the plastic bottle is cotton balls or cloth, making a two inch thick layer. Then one adds an inch of activated charcoal as the second layer on top of the cotton layer. As third layer, one adds about two inches of small stones or gravel and then as fourth layer, another four inches of clean sand on top of the gravel. The final layer should be another layer of gravel while leaving a half-inch space from the top of the upside down bottle. Then first tests can be done by pouring some muddy water in the water filter and observing the filtered water dripping down clean into the glass below. It is important to avoid drinking the filtered water unless it is boiled.

For this experiment, students were instructed to test the water before and after the filtration process. Several water filters can also be made using different materials to observe which materials better filter muddy or dirty water into clean water.

The materials used to build a water filter at home can easily be found and it is very important that recycled material is used for this science project. Instead of cotton balls or cloth, a coffee filter can be used and instead of gravel, small pebbles would do just as well.

Each layer of the water filter has a purpose. Large sediments (like leaves or insects) in water are filtered while going through the small stones or gravel, whereas fine impurities are removed by the sand layer. Finally, contaminants and other impurities are removed by the activated charcoal through chemical absorption.

Senior Science teacher, Martin Azzopardi sdc (who supervised this experiment) said: “Teaching Science students how to build a water filter at home is a very simple science task which helps them understand the need to save every drop of water at home and put science into practice.”  

Mother Earth filters water naturally as it is absorbed into the aquifers of the ground. Ground soil filters water from leaves, insects and other debris as part of the water cycle infiltration process. Unfortunately, ground water is being contaminated due to pollution such as household chemicals/products and fertilizers and so it becomes unsafe to drink.

Thanks to this science project, students learn how the process of infiltration works and are encouraged to save water consumption. This project aims to reach three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, and Quality Education.

2021-05-01T08:39:12+00:00 May 1st, 2021|

St. Margaret College Senior Secondary School Verdala Queen’s Young Leaders highlight the selected theme for Commonwealth Day 2021

On Monday, March 8, 2021 St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua, Queen’s Young Leaders Group: Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb and Jayden Degiorgio, together with their teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc (founder of the Verdala Queen’s Young Leaders Group) highlighted the importance of the selected theme for the 2021 Virtual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). As March 8 marks both the Commonwealth Day and International Women’s Day, the theme for this year’s CHOGM is: Women’s leadership in Delivering a Common Future’. This theme was selected because the 54 Commonwealth member countries are connected by deep-rooted friendship networks and committed to recognise women leaders across the Commonwealth, during COVID-19 and beyond. This CHOGM event will put a spotlight on women’s leadership in responding to COVID-19 and charting an equitable recovery. Stories of women from across the Commonwealth who are challenging gender norms through their work will be shared in this year’s CHOGM virtual meetings.

Commonwealth country nations will also hold discussions and seek new ways how to protect the natural resources, boosting trade, and delivering a peaceful, prosperous and more sustainable future for all.

This year the celebration of the union of Commonwealth nations across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe will be held virtually on Monday March 8 without the usual Westminster Abbey service. On Sunday, March 7, H.M. the Queen, who is the head of the Commonwealth, participates in a BBC One programme joined by a number of senior royals. This programme includes a reflection from Denise Lewis, a two-time Commonwealth Games heptathlon champion, and prayers led by the Dean of Westminster, Rev. Dr David Hoyle. In this special broadcast Her Majesty’s lifetime commitment to the Commonwealth is given prominence. Queen Elizabeth II became Head of the Commonwealth in 1952, at the age of 26 and thanks to her efforts, the Commonwealth country nations have grown from seven countries to 54 nation members. Throughout her reign, H.M. the Queen undertook more than 200 visits to Commonwealth countries and her efforts for unity and solidarity are to be admired. St. Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua, Queen’s Young Leaders Group promise their loyalty, prayers and respect to H.M the Queen Elizabeth II as head of the Commonwealth.

This project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:  No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

To note: Photos seen in this article were taken before the Covid19 pandemic.

2021-05-01T08:31:45+00:00 May 1st, 2021|

Reusable protective masks to increase Litter Awareness among our students

Our school aims to engage and educate students on the issue of litter while encouraging them to make positive choices. However, this scholastic year we decided to invest the campaign funds in purchasing three-layered reusable protective masks which we distributed to all Year 11 students. The idea was to raise awareness about the management of litter and waste considering that these masks contain materials that do not recycle and are not biodegradable.

I would like to thank Mr. Ellul (Head of School) for his contribution and support, Mr. Balzan (Art teacher) for doing the logo design that was printed on each mask; and Ms. Grech (Asst Head) for assisting in the logo printing.

We look forward to creating more litter awareness among our students #litterless

2021-05-01T08:15:53+00:00 May 1st, 2021|

Another Successful Story to our Verdala Green Team

We are pleased to announce that although this year was an extraordinary year, due to the COVID19 pandemic, our school managed to place 2nd in a YRE International Video Competition.

We are all very satisfied with this achievement and of course, all this was possible thanks to great teamwork and communication.

To make up a professional, effective, and meaningful three-minute video, was not an easy task.  But thanks to our hard work and dedication, we made it!

Yet, the school committee in charge of Informal Education Events would like to congratulate the students:  Katriel Zahra (11.8),  Kylieanne Apap (10.7), Annastasia Darmanin (10.1), Aceline Grixti (10.1), Martina Magro (10.2) and Maruska Pulis (10.8) for this amazing international success.

Finally, a huge well done goes to ALL other students who all did a great job in article writing, poem writing and submission of other videos.  Many thanks to all educators involved especially Mr Martin Azzopardi who is always willing to contribute with students’ entries.

All together we make wonders!  However, we do encourage all the students at our school, including those who never involved themselves to participate – feel free to contact me if you think you can do something for our environment.  Such lifelong learning opportunities do not come very often in our life and it is amazing how students mature when after they get involved in these projects.  I also encourage students to follow online webinars organized by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) as they help us to reflect further about our environment and how can we contribute for a better living.

We take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for this scholastic year and best wishes to you and your loved ones for the festive season.

“In life, always remember to act to your ambitions”.  

“Go Green and Help Save the Environment”.

Regards,

Ms. Flavia Grima

Committee Chairperson and YRE / LEAF Link Educator

Onor Minister Aaron Farrugia addressing the students

Our School on top during YRE Awards Ceremony

 

Showing most of our students participating during the event

2020-11-27T09:13:43+00:00 November 27th, 2020|

National Young Reporter’s for the Environment Competition: More Great News!

Considering all the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, this year there was a record of submissions as there were 237 entries in total (Malta & Gozo).  It’s good to know that categories this year were varied – apart from the usual YRE and litterless, we also participated in the YREstayshome section, where students had to be creative in reporting from home.  Ms Audrey Gauci (Nature Trust Coordinator) told me that she is very proud of our students as they all did a lot of effort during this extraordinary time while they did a great job!

 

Apart from the successful entries mentioned by Mr Martin Azzopardi, I must share with you the GREAT NEWS!!!!  The video where we interviewed the three Cottonera Mayors and we also did a vox-pop at Vittoriosa Street Market,  ended up placing 1st in the Litterless category!!!!!!  It was worth spending so much time editing and including subtitles to target more audience 🙂

 

Here are the video details:

Video Title (Category 15-18): Litterless Initiatives in the Cottonera Area 

Students involved:  Kylieanna Apap, Katriel Zahra, Annastasia Darmanin, Aceline Grixti, Martina Magro & Maruska Pulis

https://www.yremalta.org/pastentries/litterlessinitiatives-in-thecottonera-area/

 

The other two videos we submitted last May:

  1. Analyzing the Use of Plastics & the Impact of COVID-19 on the Environment (by: Lauren Galea and Aceline Grixti) and
  2. Reflecting on How the COVID-19 Managed to Improve the Environment in Malta (by: Elisa Vella, Annastasia Darmanin, Chanise Mifsud) ended up in the COMMENDED list! 🙂

 

Other COMMENDED articles (category 11-14) carried out by students who all worked in great coordination with me and Ms Juliette Spiteri during the lock down are:

 

Title: Marine Litter (Students: Lauren Galea, Maya Bartolo, Elisa Vella & Chanise Mifsud).

Title: Land Pollution (Students: Kheloud Abdel Razek, Emily Cilia).

Title: Understanding Air Pollution (Students: Annastasia Darmanin, Aceline Grixti, Martina Magro).

 

RE categorizing it’s good to know that – COMMENDED entries mean that they were up to standard and had good reporting.  Finalists are those that were above standard / better than the rest and had a very good chance of winning.

ALL STUDENTS will be given a certificate – Ms Audrey Gauci will be sending them in the coming days.  Prizes are only for the actual winners.

 

I really would like to thank EVERYONE who contributed especially Ms Marlene Gatt who introduced me to her students; Ms Marlene Galea and Mr Andrew Calleja for uploading material on our school facebook page and school website; and Mr Kenneth Abela for his dedication in taking videos and editing.  Many thanks to Mr Martin Azzopardi for his amazing collaboration and support – even though he’s not part of our committee he dedicate a lot of time to assist me in this very interesting fieldwork.  Every year, he puts a lot of effort and thanks to him, we are involving many more students to participate in the YRE and Litterless Campaign.   Also many thanks to Ms Leanne Lewis for accepting to be interviewed about the plastic Christmas tree last December and to ALL THE MEMBERS in the committee who all did their effort from the very beginning of this scholastic year.  I truly appreciate everyone’s effort!  Last but definitely not least, I really would like to thank all the SMT members for their great cooperation and support.  Here I must mention Mr Daniel Spiteri and Ms Lydia Zammit (Asst Heads) for their impressive support.  Honestly I believe that where there is a joint effort and a good teamwork, positive results will come up – no matter the circumstances!  😉

 

I look forward to work with you ALL again next scholastic year!  Meanwhile, I take this opportunity to wish you all a well deserved summer recess.

 

Cheers and take care,

Flavia Grima

Head of Department ICT

St Margaret College Senior Secondary School, Verdala

Cospicua

2020-07-01T20:42:18+00:00 July 1st, 2020|

National Young Reporter’s for the Environment Competition: Wonderful News!

Out of so many participating state/church/independent schools, our School Religion and Science Department students hit once again the top records of the National Young Reporter’s for the Environment Competition as follows:

 

Honourable mention in the category of YRE Article 15-18

  1. Young Reporter’s for the Environment students launch a litter less project campaign in making Paper Roll Angel decorations for Advent and Christmas

by Religion Dept. students: Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb, Jayden Degiorgio

 

Finalists and Commended YRE 2019 – 2020 Article 15 – 18

  1. Applied Science CCP students create awareness about the risks of extra sugar in our daily diets – COMMENDED

by Science Dept. students: Decelis Luca, Zammit Kaylon, Knaan Gaze, Bonnici Raiza

  1. Raising an awareness campaign about breast cancer at school during the Pink October Campaign – COMMENDED

by Science Dept. students: Emerson Bugeja, Daishan Psaila, Jean Vella, Tiernan Fraser

  1. Verdala Queen’s Young Verdala Leaders Group commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Week – COMMENDED

by Science Dept. student: Shaun Portelli

  1. Maltese students join Missio Malta in aid of the Myanmar missionary campaign – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. students: Maya Nussbaum, Sarah Fiorini, Cody Parnis, Jake Chetcuti

  1. A Pro-Life Catholic Irish couple addresses Maltese students who recite the Rosary of the Unborn – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. students: Scicluna Raisa, Bonello Owen

  1. Maltese students commemorate the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation Camp Day – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. students:  Klaydi Borg, Darnoc Mizzi, Grech Carl, Mariema Zahra

  1. Young Reporter’s for the Environment students launch a litter less project campaign in making Paper Roll Angel decorations for Advent and Christmas – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. students:  Miguel Fenech, Jurgen Xuereb, Jayden Degiorgio

 

Finalists and Commended YRE 2019 – 2020 Photo 15 – 18

  1. Do cliffs need doors? – FINALIST

by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun

  1. Halloween pumpkins scaring the cliffs – FINALIST

by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun

  1. Construction waste an eyesore to our natural environment – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia

  1. Baby playpen ends up on Xaqqa Cliffs – COMMENDED

by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun

  1. Burnt Fanta lemonade bottles poison the natural habitat

by Religion Dept. student: Maya Nussbaun

  1. Creaky water pump mills in need of repair

by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia

  1. Humpty Dumpty downfall of a rubble wall

by Religion Dept. student: Jasmin Farrugia

N.B. We were the first school to win the International YRE award with a SOLAR PANEL CAR PROJECT from our School Science Dept. and this year all the 14 Science and Religion YRE project entries are awarded even a project by CCP Science students.

I take the opportunity to THANK especially all my Religion and Science students who collaborated in fulfilling these YRE projects in favour of our local environment.  VERY WELL DONE and PRAISE BE TO GOD.

Also congratulations to other awarded participants from our school which I leave for Ms Flavia Grima to announce. VERY WELL DONE.

I thank YRE National Coordinator Ms Audrey Gauci for her kind help and support and the two foreign correctors who sacrificed their free time correcting our Science and Religion Department YRE project entries.

I also thank Ms Josephine Diacono, Fr Karm Spiteri ocd and school clerks Ms Patricia Farrugia and Ms Lorraine Vella for their kind help and support throughout the whole year, much appreciated.

Finally I thank Ms Marlene Galea and Mr Andrew Calleja plus the editors of the Malta Independent on Sunday newspaper, Sunday Times of Malta and Missio Mata for contributing in the dissemination process.

Thanks in regards

Martin Azzopardi sdc

Veteran YRE school coordinator

St. Margaret College

Secondary School,

Verdala, Cospicua,

Malta

2020-07-01T20:33:56+00:00 July 1st, 2020|

YRE – Photos with Captions

2020-05-30T09:38:15+00:00 May 30th, 2020|