Alternative Energy Workshop in Strezhevoy
Alternative Energy Workshop in Strezhevoy
December 2010 [Strezhevoy, Russia]
On December 17 and 18, 2010, High School #1 in hosted a SEED workshop for students and educators from seven schools in the city of Strezhevoy. The subject of the workshop was alternative power sources. The workshop facilitated a major knowledge acquisition, raised environmental awareness among participants, and demonstrated how to form an appropriate approach to studying and addressing environmental issues, climate change and search for alternative power sources. It promoted teamwork skills and encouraged participants to employ their ability in solving regional problems.
We live in an area where oil and gas constitute the major energy sources. However, we realize that fossil fuels may be replaced with alternative energy sources that, by contrast, are inexhaustible. Alternative energy may make both air and water on our planet cleaner. Participants of the SEED workshop in Strezhevoy worked within the framework of the theme Alternative Power Sources. Three teams consisting of students and teachers from seven schools—Energy, SES, and SET—set out to face the challenge on their own. Over the two days of the workshop, students and educators joined forces in coming up with an alternative to oil and gas in the city of Strezhevoy.
The teams were to learn the GoGo Board program and develop and present a model of a device operating on alternative power sources. It was also a golden opportunity for biology, geography, physics, and chemistry teachers to learn and practice the Learning While Doing teaching method.
The weekend comes to an end. What would you do? Go to a movie theater, have a quiet family dinner, or watch some TV with a cup of hot coffee? Or be adventurous like those who cannot live a day without finding a way to acquire new knowledge. Who are these insatiable minds, you may ask. They are you, of course! They are those who came to our educational workshop!
Perhaps it was all a bit confusing at the outset. And align="center"we perhaps encountered some problems at the start… but can anybody really do without them? Problems are an integral part of our life, and SEED workshops, like this one, teach us how to cope with them.
So, what did we have for breakfast? For breakfast we had two video clips that clearly and intelligibly explained to us what SEED was about and introduced us to the problem of energy saving on the planet. Then we split into teams and, just as it should be, devised everything a team needs—a motto, a name, and a logo.
Then we had a brainstorming session—sketching ideas and generally assembling our thoughts. Then we had a lunch—or rather broke for tea. Biscuits, tea, and coffee satisfy hunger, and exciting work satisfies a hungry mind. After tea with biscuits, we moved on to our project stations where we developed, invented, crafted, and improve our designs.
Photos taken, ideas put in rough drafts. The teams are happy, volunteers tired—these are the indicators that it’s time to wrap up for the first day and have some rest.
We will meet again in School # 1 tomorrow, and each team will present its mini-project to the other workshop participants.
Story contributed by Maria Nosova
The second day of the workshop was pure, intensive work. Everyone ran around with a smart expression on their faces, picking out things in the “Warehouse,” soldering things together, programming, and so on. Teachers suddenly turned into children—they found it impossible to just sit and observe things from a distance.
The Energy Team
Close-knit and friendly guys from the Schools # 2 and # 5. Every person on the team made his or her special contribution to the collaborative project. Sasha and Ruslan are the “techies,” shouldering probably the most difficult work. They are quick-witted and resourceful.
Sonia is a generator of ideas. She is an extraordinarily bright girl. Victoria is a person who keeps her promises. She does her job properly and always completes it. Dzamilya is an extrovert—she is cheerful and does an outstanding job of maintaining a good team spirit. Elya is a girl with a rare ability to express her thoughts clearly, formulate the team’s tasks and priorities, and defend her viewpoint. She is the pillar of the team.
And, of course, we had two absolutely indispensable leaders who are never tired of helping and supporting their students while seamlessly directing the team’s work. They are our teachers—Lyudmila Anatolievna Avershina, and Oksana Vasilyevna Serebrennikova.
Project Topic: EcoHouse—The House of the Future
The Energy Team came up with a plan that would help save energy, especially during the New Year season, when energy consumption is the highest during the year. The team built a model of a residential eco-house where indoor lighting, heating, and other energy consumption units operate using solar and wind power.
The SET Team
The harmonious SET team consisted of students from the Schools # 6 and # 7. Full of ideas, the teammates started their work first thing in the morning. Nadia and Sergey were in charge of cutting and gluing things, Zhenia and Serezha fixed wires to their structures, and Vladislav and Demyan started on the most important item—the design of their future machine. They never paused but worked and worked. Perhaps their diligence will pay off and they will become the most famous scientists of our time!
Project Topic: Pressure is Light
The team designed an engineering model powered by alternative energy sources. Wind power was one of its focuses. The students suggested that their model would be ideal for non-residential buildings (garages, cellars, country-houses, etc) and in makeshift camp conditions.
The SES Team
The SES team consisted of students and teachers from the Schools # 5 and # 3. They worked on the idea of how to save power at home. They theorized that every apartment could have a hydro power plant of its own. Interesting, isn’t it? Andrey and Ivan worked on a presentation, while Maxim and Semyon built the model. The educators in the team, as expected, managed the team’s work, and the girls—Olga and Veronica—elaborated on the model’s design. No doubt they’re just as active at their school, seeing that they were invited to the workshop!
Project Topic: Saving Electricity at Home
The team suggested that heat and the movement of water in the pipes could be used as an alternative power source.
Workshop Participants Share Their Impressions
It was generally agreed that the workshop was a big success. Everybody liked everything about the workshop: an opportunity to meet new people, grasping useful and fascinating information, working in diverse teams, working with volunteers, timely coffee breaks and, of course, the results of arduous work. Workshop participants became a close-knit family, so it was decided to set up project groups like these for the city’s research conference. The workshop attendees expressed their firm opinion that such events are vitally important to the prosperity of the city.
The intellectual agility and industriousness of both students and teachers deserve considerable praise. The objectives that were set at the start of the workshop were met by the end of it. Over the two days the participants learned about environmental issues, the hardware and software capabilities of the special GoGo board, designed and assembled functional models, prepared presentations using software that was new to them, and defended their projects in front of each other.
“I liked the first day very much! It is thrilling to invent something new—many thanks to our volunteer crew for their assistance!”
“At the onset everything was a bit confusing, but as the work progressed, we finally got it and could work something out! We have to say good-bye for now, but we would rather stay and go on with work…”
“It has been an extraordinary day… because it’s exciting to try things out and learn something new!”
“I’m very glad it all started in an unusual (for me) format. I enjoyed working with my teammates.”
“Everything started with people saying clever things. And it’s good that it didn’t end there.... In fact, everything held lots of motivation for me, and I want to resume my work as soon as possible!”
SEED is a sprout that grows without the end,
We’ll introduce you to GoGo, my friend!
We won’t build thermal or hydro or nuclear plants in the city.
Together we’ll steer a different course:
We’ll find a brand new power source,
To save all the nature around us
And live in a world free of CO2 gas!
“I liked the way children worked!” commented Tatyana Anatolyevna Vakina, the SEED workshop organizer and the SEED program coordinator in Strezhevoy. “On the first day you could see surprise and alarm in their eyes: students and teachers didn’t know how they could possibly do it and how energy problems could be solved in such a short time span. On the second day I saw that everybody was really focused and efficient. It's mesmerizing to observe how teams worked!”
“I was a bit nervous at first, but then we got to know each other and things became a lot easier. It was a great event—I liked it a lot!” (Demyan Slavinskiy, School # 6)
“The event was truly amazing. Workshops like this promote creativity, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication between students and educators. The more often events like this take place, the better.” (Mrs. Shestakova, biology teacher at School # 6)
“I liked everything! Workshops like this should be held more frequently. They facilitate communication between children.” (Mrs. Antonova, physics teacher at School # 7)
“I liked the event. I learned what SEED is about and gained invaluable practical experience. Events like this should be held more frequently! (Nadezhda Stepanova, School # 6)
Workshop Guests Give their Feedback
The workshop was attended by the Gifted Children Program Coordinator and Chief Expert at the Innovation and Methodology Section of the Department of Education in Strezhevoy.
Mrs. Alina Vladimirovna Arbuzova:
“I am positive that the work that has been started is worth continuing and that more workshops like this should be conducted because they help us clearly see how energy can be saved by using alternative power sources.
“In the beginning, things were hard to understand for new participants because they were asked to address a global challenge. Some students felt that they lacked sufficient knowledge to implement their ideas. However, as the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Here each team had six heads to it! That’s why students worked six times better. I liked the results of their work a lot!”
Tatiana Ivanovna Verbich, Head of the Innovation and Methodology Section at the Department of Education, addressed the children and their teachers as follows:
“This workshop is a new phenomenon, and I came over specifically to see what would unfold down here. I would like to say that a real miracle took place in the conference hall of School # 1. New stars appeared in our sky of science. The future is ours! We will be impatiently waiting for you at the next research conference. Please come over and surprise us with your research work! Create a foundation for the economics of our city!
“I would like to thank all the workshop attendees. The workshop was not done in vain! Special thanks to the staff and volunteers from the School # 1 and the workshop organizers, Mrs. Vakina and Mrs. Zaripova. Mrs. Arbuzova and I really enjoyed watching what you are doing here. The city needs workshops like this, and I would like to see more attendees present at them in the future.
Thank you for your work!”