DAY 42: DIY With Science

By Hossam Serag, Cairo, Egypt, 21 October 2017

At this Day of Learning, we were 17 enthusiastic educators who share, learn and explore different methodologies to think creatively, and build something unique with science. I will introduce some of these creative thinking techniques and teaching strategies.

Introduction about Science Crafts Story by Hossam Serag

Introduction: Science Crafts’ Story

One day Iwas giving a science workshop for kids, and the sequence of the workshop was helping kids to understand the science concept first, then they make a hands-on project as a real application on the science concept, after we discussed the science concept I gave the kids some random materials. I asked them to make a real application with those materials related to the science concept. Then I gave them a hint “you have to see those materials from another perspective in order to use it creatively” which is the key to achieve this task, they tried different methods to build the project. And after the kids finished and built their own projects. I heard one them yelling “ THAT IS THE BEST THING I EVER DID IN MY LIFE”.

It was something to me to hear that from a kid, I felt that he loved that experience of learning. It shows me that we learn not just for getting high grades, certificates, and publish scientific papers!. We learn sciences to use them in our life, and solve every single problem we have with sciences.

Me and friends founded Science Crafts (science-crafts.com) 3 years ago as a start-up to provide and design creative science projects for kids. I spent 3 years designing science projects and toys for kids, and through this great journey, i used to see things like surrounding materials in a different way to be able to create creative projects. That skill helped me to solve my daily life problems. And the Day of Learning was a great chance to share that skill with others and help them to build something creative.

Some of Science Crafts’ Projects

Lateral Thinking & Creative Thinking

At the Day of Learning, we were 17 enthusiastic educators who share, learn and explore different methodologies to think creatively, and build something unique with science.

We started to learn about “Lateral thinking”, Which is a methodology of thinking in which we challenge our usual assumptions to get more information and create new ideas. Here is it and example of Lateral thinking: If I asked “What can we do with an A4 paper?”. Our assumption is that we use paper to write on it, and that is true but it is time to challenge our usual assumptions, we have to think about using paper in anything expect writing on it.

We can use A4 paper to teach math, it has a rectangle shape, fold it it will be a triangle and you can event talk about Angles and parallel lines. papers came from wood, wood came from trees, and trees have cells, and that is biology. if someone came to you and wanted to understand aerodynamics, don’t panic, just hold 2 A4 papers, fold one of them and let them fall, the folded one will fall faster because of the low air resistance, and that is physics and aerodynamics. you can separate two substance using paper, and that is chemistry. We can demonstrate basic engineering with an A4 paper, and finally we can use papers to write on it!.

Creative Thinking Techniques

Throughout the day We figured out creative ways to use papers in physics, chemistry, math, art, engineering, and biology and that happened when we challenged our assumptions and saw the paper from another perspective. that skill needs practice by doing and creating great things from simple materials.

One of the great methodologies to practice creative thinking, is a Japanese Art called “ Chindogu”, which is a funny way of practicing creative thinking, we were trying to connect and combine any two things together and make weird things. If we combined an umbrella with a men tie, we will get a tie has an umbrella. And That was a great funny way to practice creative thinking.

Another way to think creative is to ask an open-ended questions. May be asking questions is one of the missing arts. If you asked a child “ hey; could you build a creative chair for me?”. He will think within a certain frame because you put boundaries by saying “chair”, but if you want to give him a wide space of creativity, you can just say “hey could you build something creative to set on it?”. in that way you asked an open-ended question, and that will open a door of creative ideas.

Lateral thinking changed my mindset for good. When I combined lateral thinking, creative thinking and sciences together, I created unique things and solved many of my daily life problems. As the participants did in the Day of Learning.

participants learning about Lateral Thinking & Creative Tinking.

DIY With Science

Each one through the day of learning was trying to build a balanced standing man just with certain materials, it was a real challenge. We were divided into 5 groups and started to share what we have to solve this challenge, we discussed the science of balanced objects, center of mass, material properties and we used creative thinking techniques to complete the challenge.

participants succeeded in completing the challenge
Hossam explains how the balanced man project works.

Teaching Strategies

After they built their projects, we started to reflect what we did on Education. We discussed the best teaching strategies to teach kids those skills and encourage them to do DIYs with science.

We talked about Project Based learning, Problem Based Learning, and STEM education which are all teaching strategies aim to achieve two main objectives, the first objective is to give children the needed Knowledge, and by knowledge we mean all sciences. The second objective is to help children gain thinking skills, which called the 21 century skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, and critical thinking.

Science is an effective tool to make our life much easier. And by Combining thinking skills with science together, we can build and create creative things and DIYs. And solve our daily life problems.

Thanks for Age OF Wonderland for giving us this opportunity to share our experiences with such great people. And being part of 100 Days of Learning.

Group photo of all the participants in the day of learning.

About 100 Days of Learning

Age of Wonderland 2017 presents 100 DAYS OF LEARNING, a global learning event to exchange valuable life experiences with peers. Doers and thinkers from around the world — innovators, scientists, engineers, artists, designers, social entrepreneurs — are invited to share their personal stories, ideas, and practice, not to be found in textbooks. Aim is to rediscover knowledge, challenge beliefs, and exchange life lessons with others. To make the world a better place, we need to embrace change on an individual level, and inspire others to do the same.