During the past month in my science class, we have been working on a project called Engineering Brightness. This project is about light poverty in the Dominican Republic, and how some people have only up to three hours of electricity today. It makes life extremely difficult for the population. We as a class took the responsibility and decided to fund raise and actually make LED lights to send to the Dominican.
A big part in this was our contact in the Dominican in Santo Domingo. We had continues Skype calls with a private school there, and were in contact with two teachers; Eladio and Dennis. Our first Skype call with them helped us figure out what we were actually going to be doing, and the severity of the actual situation. That was the very first step in our journey. Next, we formed our groups. I was interested in raising awareness about the situation, and to fund raise to support the groups who were going to be actually building the lights. I found a group who was interested in the same things as me, and together we started to create our plan.
One of the next things that happened was we spoke to Mr. Fogarty and his class in New Brunswick. They helped us with where to start, and he helped guide us to where we needed to go with this project. He also sent us a box of an example circuit board and light shell. That was when our class started to be motivated with this project.
Here is a video clip of Sabrina from my group talking to Mr. Fogarty in New Brunswick.
Within my group, we decided to get involved in the community. We wanted to find away to share this idea of light poverty, and to help fund raise as well. At first, we wanted to maybe visit city hall, but then we thought what better way to connect with our community with other schools in our community. Our first destination was Pitt River Middle School. We set up a meeting with their leadership team, and started to build our connections. We discussed our ideas and explained to them what light poverty was. A few days later they contacted us to confirm that they wanted to help us.
Bellow is our presentation that we used when visiting other schools.
Our next step was to plan and organize an event with Pitt River. They came to us with the idea of doing multiple school visits of all our south side schools in Poco. We started to plan that, as well as a bake sale. We are still in the process of going on the school visits, and the bake sale will be held in two weeks.
Throughout this experience, we all learned new and valuable skills that we can use in life. For starters, how to communicate with others. This project has made us talk and present in front of large groups of students, and how to express our ideas in the best way possible. Another thing was how to create a presentation, as we had to do many of them. Lastly, we learned what a difference we can make. When I first saw this project, I thought to myself, what can a bunch of 14 year olds do! But surprisingly we can accomplish anything if we put our minds to it. I felt like we met our learning goals, as we took important lessons out of this project, as well as we managed to accomplish our main goal, which was to raise awareness and communicate with our community about light poverty.
As for collaboration, we were very successful. We have made connections with multiple schools in our district, and we have presented our ideas, and are even having fundraisers with Pitt River. I also felt like the Skype calls were very successful. It was a very easy and effective way of communicating with places around the continent! It gave us such inspiration and motivation to make the needed difference in our world.
I feel that most of our plans went successful. One thing we could have worked on could have been our time management, as before we knew it our semester was ending! One thing we did really well on was stepping out of our comfort zone, and presenting to different audiences.
I feel like connection based learning is something every class and school should be a part of. It is innovative and a great way to give students the opportunity of creativity, and to develop skills that can be used for the rest of your life. It takes classroom work and turns it into an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. I know that Connection based learning has impacted my life and I will never forget these experiences. It shows how one small person’s impact can go a long way. It has also taught me never to give up and to try new things, push yourself because you never know what could happen.
All pictures were found on our One Note class notebook, Mr. Robinson’s blog or taken by me.