It was smiles all round at the London regional Big Bang fair yesterday. Students from Ursuline Academy had spent 6 weeks working hard on two separate projects that they entered into competitions taking place as part of the fair. Both projects had been inspired by Practical Action’s Global CREST challenges, materials launched last year.
The school won one of the four main prizes, the CREST award for creativity, and both projects were selected to go forward to the National finals in London next March.
Ortis Deley, a passionate supporter of Practical Action hosted the award ceremony. He was thrilled with Practical Action’s involvement in the event, saying how important it was to inspire young people to get engaged with issues affecting the developing world.
The project by The Sustainables focused on developing materials to use in construction of housing in Bangladesh, using recycled materials and natural resources. The Science Angels project looked at providing a solution to food shortages in Kenya by combining techniques including rainwater harvesting and a special gel to grow seeds with using Polysolar glass in the construction of a new building they named an ‘Agriihouse’.
Rose Russell, the students’ Design and Technology teacher, said the students had benefited hugely by being involved in the project and that practical projects like this were a really effective way of engaging young people with issues around development. She also went on to say how the experience has helped the students to develop important skills such as team work and time management as well as improving their confidence.
13 year old student Floridine Fidegnon-Edon said the project ‘has made me more determined to raise awareness (of people in developing countries) and focus on creating solutions’. When asked what she had learnt during the project she said ‘more electrical information than I thought possible’!!
The students used Practical Action’s technical briefs for information as part of their research for their projects. Jeremy buckle, the Big Bang event director, said that many students he met showed a real interest in doing projects of this type, but until now he was unaware that there was material to support them. He particularly liked the inclusion of the technical briefs as support material and now that he is aware of them is going to be actively recommending our resources to schools.
Fingers crossed for the finals in March :-)