In April, Gloria from grade 11 won the first prize in the 35th Youth Science and Technology Innovation Competition in Shanghai. With the work of ‘The Bluetooth Automatic Flower and Plant Cultivation Shed’, she won the first place among 10,769 submissions from 737 schools in Shanghai. As the largest and most advanced competition in Shanghai youth science and technology innovation, the event is very competitive. Let’s congratulate Gloria on her success.
Details in life and a year and a half of exploration
“The inspiration of the work comes from a small incident that happened in my life. One summer, my family was travelling, and all the flowers withered after we returned home because no one cared for the plants. At that time, I began to wonder if there could be a machine that could perform basic actions like watering by itself without anyone else.”
Because of the minor details, Gloria decided to make a personalized product to solve the practical problems in the modern life.
How to put inspiration into practice? Gloria admits that the process is difficult.
How to balance the habits of different flowers? How to design a beautiful cultivation shed which has the effect of simulated greenhouse? How to transfer data among the fully automated modules? How to trigger the alarm module and make corresponding actions, for example, if the humidity is too low, water jets from pump automatically, etc.?
One question after another pushed Gloria forward.
The cultivation parameters of each flower were formed into a database and connected with external sensors. Use acrylic to make the shed with light transmittance, create the curtain effect with the rotation template, and learn to design data transfer in a programming language. Based on attempts and simulations over and over again, ‘The Bluetooth Automatic Flower and Plant Cultivation Shed’ was successfully completed after a year and a half.
“Through this competition, I found that there are still many problems around us that need to be discovered and solved. A small problem can trigger more profound knowledge that is worth exploring”.
As the age of education 2.0 is approaching, students have more interactions with teachers and more opportunities for self-exploration. The more integrated courses will also help improve their comprehensive abilities.
At NACIS Shanghai, ‘interdisciplinary teaching’ is implemented by teachers in every aspect. Through more connected and creative teaching mode, our teachers provide more opportunities for cooperative learning and thematic learning. With the goal of ‘holistic education’, we are not only committed to teaching knowledge, but also cultivating future active citizens.
Gloria's winning entry came from the business program at school. At first, she didn't plan to participate in competition with a project. In particular, the programming skills required for the project was a challenging area for her. But with the help and guidance of her teacher, she decided to try in the different field.
The daily accumulation helped her a lot.
Her project-based learning experiences in STEAM and science classes made her familiar with the process of building an engineering project. In addition, she has built up self-confidence and qualities to accept challenges during IB learning.
In the technical aspect, she learned the new technologies such as programming languages and sensors during STEAM and enrichment week, which gave her a more interdisciplinary learning experience.
For example, in new campus environment project, the teacher initiated the technological invention activity to encourage students to create some inventions that could make campus life more convenient, and the students produced a series of works such as automatic eraser, intelligent watering and intelligent classroom. These events broadened students' understanding of new technologies and aroused their interest. It is the daily learning experiences that have inspired Gloria to participate in science and technology competition.
Gloria's mentor, Mr. Hope, said:
We tend to have high requirements for innovation, and always hope to inspire some completely different new ideas. But in fact, every positive improvement to the existing life is a valuable innovation. Therefore, we often encourage students to focus on life and take inspiration from their surroundings. As educator John Dewey said: "Education is life".