It’s an educational program designed for kids from 5 to 12 years old to teach them key knowledge and competencies in biology to improve their conditions of living and make them actor of their environment resilience.
With the help of 3 coordinators and 6 tutors, we are training teachers so that they can perform 4 workshops for kids. During 2 sessions of 3 hours, we learn them basic knowledge about digital fabrication. Then, we organized 4 sessions of 3 hours. Each session is a specific workshop. We train them during 3 hours in a week and the next week we assist them when they replicate the workshop with their students.
The current program is designed to sensitize kids about mosquito dangers. It’s made of 4 workshops :
- in the first one, kids design and print in 3D the different forms of a mosquito to be able to recognize them
- in the second one, they rub their hands in a plaque to see later the proliferation of bacterium
- in the third one, they build a bacterium and a virus to simulate with light the contagion
- in the last one, they simulate the bacterium hacking to illustrate how science, by modifying genes, can prevent mosquito to spread diseases
Technologies usedElectronics Laboratory, biology & chemistry Computing & softwares 3D printing
- What’s the project story?
In January 2017, we built in Lima the Openbiofab community to gather people interested to apply digital fabrication in science. Until the devastating flooding caused by the coastal El Niño in June 2017, we investigated science application for fun but this event changed everything. Members of our community helped victims living in Carapungo and what we discovered there deeply shocked us. Kids without potable water, the proliferation of mosquitos in the stagnant water, insalubrity… Among the solutions provided by volunteers, we didn’t find any for these problems and especially for the kids. Together, we decided to create the H2STEAM program to tackle Humanitarian and Health issues with projects for kids based on STEAM methodology. We designed workshops and tested them during the FAB13 in Chile last year and it was a success. Even kids younger than expected understood the instructions and were able to describe the key principles we taught them.
- How the workshop was useful?
The reputation of Fablab Lima enabled us to gather people in this project (employees and volunteers of the Fablab) and to provide us with knowledge and tools in digital fabrication. The Fablab network also gave us the opportunity to participate and to win the CHEVRON STEAM award last year in FAB13. Its media coverage and the financial prize of 5000$ was a great help to develop the program.
- What’s the project’s greatest success so far?
The pre-pilot made between Abril and June 2017 in the college of Carapungo was a success. It was harder than expected to involve teachers, parents, kids but eventually they asked us to come back for the pilot and we received a great support from the director who expressed his confidence and gratitude.
- What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?
We thought that technology will be the biggest challenge but we couldn’t be more wrong: the social acceptance and people involvement was the most difficult. The lack of confidence in social initiatives was huge so we put most of our energy to convince them of our intentions and their benefice. We identified 3 key practices for social projects : 1. you cannot design social program remotely: you need to design it within the key users, in their living conditions 2. you must get the support of leaders. In our case, we had the support of the director of the college and we tried to earn the support of the influent association of parents (the APAFA). 3. you must create a selection or you need to put a small fee because free workshop doesn’t create adhesion, people need to feel privileged and involved.
- What’s your vision for the project & next steps?
Based on the feedback gathered during the pre-pilot, we improved the program for the pilot which is about to start in October (2018). We also aim to organize an event, called “Feria de sciencia” (science party), to enable kids to share with their family and friends their projects and knowledge. We are working in a documentation to make this project replicable for everyone and we are in discussion with other colleges interested.
- How can anyone interested can contribute to the project?
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to replicate it in your city or if you want to improve it with us. We also aim to design a new program to teach kids how to make potable water. All the help is welcome!