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Smart Hands report: Learning week in Cluj, Romania

The pupils and teachers from secondary schools and the experts on science, design and crafts, from Finland, The Netherlands and Portugal visited the capital of Transilvania in Romania during the learning week from 26th till the 30th of September 2022.

We all were warmly welcomed at the Colegiul National Emil Racovita in the old city centre of Cluj. The pupils got different tasks during the week, lead by Scientifica. The first one was to do a design challenge “How to design an environmentally and community friendly school”. The pupils worked in mixed groups on the challenge using the steps of Design Thinking to teach them to first create a strong concept before designing the final product! During the week they worked on the different steps to finally present their prototypes on Friday morning.

The pupils were inspired by adding more green to the school yard to use for as well food as cooling during hot summers. Also solar panels and rainwater collecting systems were part of the designs. Two groups focused on the interior of the school and presented examples in how to bring more colour into the school to make it a more pleasant place to stay. These are easy to apply so hopefully they can be implemented soon.

To make the week even more Smart, the pupils also learned how to make a TouchCube. Using paper, copper tape, a battery and led lights they created colourful TouchCubes, learning how a circuit board works in general.

So this is the basics of my mobile phone?” One of the pupils said.

For the Colegiul National Emil Racovita it was quite a challenge because all their classrooms are furnished for theoretical learning. So the SmartHands workshops like these ask to think about how to add Hands to their curriculum. For this week, we took over the theater room. Hopefully the school will manage to change one of their class rooms to a SmartHands classroom with some tools and material for the pupils to use.

We are already looking forward to the next Smart Hands learning week in November in Finland! More info on Smart Hands via our dedicated project website.

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