Hosted by SALL , contributed by karountzos on 13 July 2023
The idea of the school project is to raise students' awareness of issues concerning the local community and to propose solutions by creating prototype models using educational robotics equipment and digital tools.
For this reason, an educational robotics laboratory is established at the school where the groups develop their projects during the afternoon hours, with the support of members and agencies of the local community.
The problem to be addressed is related to key characteristics of the local area. Many members of the community are professionals in beekeeping. But they come across many challenges in recent years due to climate change. Local weather conditions have been affected and beekeepers are forced to frequently search for areas with plants that produce more honey so as to move their beehives there.
So there is a need of an idea to help the beekeepers move their beehives in an easy way.
This issue was considered as important by the students after an investigation conducted by school in collaboration with the local Beekeeping association. Also, many parents are professionals in beekeeping and the students' know firsthand the challenges their parents face very often.
The investigation was carried out with interviews of the students to the professionals. The problem to be solved was chosen in an open meeting that held at the school with the participation of the students, professional beekeepers, experts from the local beekeeping association and representatives of the local industry.
Co-creation with societal actors
The role of social actors and the local community was important in all stages of the project.
In particular, the experts of the beekeeping cooperative contributed to shape students' perception about how the weather conditions and plants have been affected by climate change.
The parents that work as beekeepers contributed by highlighting the challenges they face due to the need to frequently transport the bees in different areas.
The technicians-engineers evaluated the students' proposals as feasible or not and suggested the main features of the prototypes to be created by the students.
The local industry undertook the creation of the prototypes for use in real conditions, based on students proposals, so as to provide it as a product to beekeepers of the local area.
The project concerns the creation of a model of an autonomous robot that performs programmed tasks of collecting the beehives and loading them into the transport trucks, relieving the beekeeper of that difficult task.
The prototype models will be developed in the Primary School's STEAM lab using Lego wedo 2 robotics kit and microcontrollers such as microbit, which include sensors and motors. Programming will be done with Scratch 3.
The solution was chosen with the participation of all team members, the students who designed the prototype, the engineers who defined the specifications, the local industry that would undertake the production and the beekeepers who would use the final product.
In the next step, students built real world models of the prototypes using LEGO educational robotics kits.
These prototypes were then tested for efficiency and responsiveness using beehive models.
Then the prototypes were evaluated by professional beekeepers for their usability and improvements were made.
In the end, these prototypes were proposed to the local industry to be used in creating real realistic solutions for professionals.
The involvement of students in the project was an amazing opportunity to understand the stages of creating a new product, from the conception of the idea to the creation of the final product. It also contributed to the awareness of the challenges of beekeeping, which is a common job in the area.
Positive results include the participation of different agencies and members to the working team to address a local problem.
For the local community, the project was an opportunity to recognize the potential of the school as a small center of innovation and extroversion.
The SALL methodology offers a clear collaborative framework and methodology that can support educators to design and implement STEM projects. Future plans include the implementation of similar projects or extensions that address aspects of the local reality. In the following projects, special emphasis will be given on the involvement of more social actors in all stages of the project, from the investigation of the challenges to the final evaluation.