Date

sep 2021 – ongoing

Location

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Overview

Why is it important to understand energy and energy sources? Is renewable energy practical? Will we be able to find sustainable solutions to the significant challenges of the 21st century? 

After many discussions and days of research, we decided to open a public debate about these topics towards the young people in Romania, precisely from Cluj Napoca.

Thus the Lumen project was born, proposing a set of experiential educational kits that support ‘home’ or a school education and encourage the students to take the initiative in the learning process. 

At the basis of this proposal, we felt the need to contribute to the development of a civic (action-oriented) and ecological (action-oriented and education) awareness about energy consumption and its effect on society and climate change

From October to December 2021, we invited 60 high school students and 2 teachers from Tiberiu Popoviciu High School of Computer Science and the National College “Emil Racovită” to participate in a series of online workshops and ask them to help prototype the educational kits.

Under the big umbrella of renewable energy sources and addressing 4 general topics – energy transformations, wind energy, solar power and efficient homes – we guided them to choose their individual learning scenario and take ownership of the learning experience. Being divided into teams and with the help of mentors, the participating students were able to conduct hands-on experiments, use scientific research methods to investigate topics that interest them and give feedback on the proposed activities. 

After this first step, we want to develop the kits further, make complete lesson plans and materials lists available online and replicate the kits in order to facilitate the workshops in other Schools from the Cluj School Network.

What do participants say:

I liked this workshop, it seems to me that the kit was very well thought out and that it had everything you needed.

student - 9th grade

Why aren’t these sustainable energy resources used more?

student - 9th grade

I learned from this workshop what the properties of electricity are, especially the fact that one can generate electricity from mud. I didn't know that!

student - 12th grade

The Experience

After months of preparations, online workshops, talks, and mentoring, we had a final face-to-face meeting with all students participating in the Lumen Project.

Together with teachers Corina Toma and Ariana Văcărețu we discussed all the educational experiments created, the difficulties encountered, as well as the overall workshop experience.

We are very happy and proud to present all the bright creations and insightful inputs made by the students – from microbial batteries and small electromagnetic generators, to electric safari cars with solar roofs and smart, sustainable homes of the future. 

We applaud all the students and are grateful for them taking part in this project and for showing sustained curiosity, knowledge, skills, and excitement towards working together in understanding how to make a positive difference in the world around them.

The Workshops

Solar Safari

Within the Solar Safari workshop, students were asked to come up with design solutions for a small solar car and experiment with different materials and designs.

The starting kit contained a motor, a solar panel, 2 wheels, a glue gun, 12 wooden sticks, and some tape.

For one month they brainstormed, sketched, planned, built, and tested their prototypes. It was great to see their attention to detail, the trial and errors, the workarounds, and the teamwork that went into these models. We congratulate them on their impressive engineering or soldering skills as well as for the collaborative process, as family members and friends joined in with practical design solutions.

We got some impressive builds from everyone, featuring 360• solar panels, furry chassis, solar batteries, and switches.

Energy Design

Energy Design was about energy forms and transformations. It was about researching alternative energy sources and making LED’s power up.
With a focus on electrical energy, students experimented with building a small electric generator and a microbial battery. These small-scale wins got them thinking about big-scale possibilities and hopes for the future.

This workshop was based on activities developed by www.magicalmicrobes.com, www.kidwind.org, www.amasci.com We want to thank Lect dr Mircea Anton from the Environmental Science and Engineering University for his support.

Energy Design

Energy Design was about energy forms and transformations. It was about researching alternative energy sources and making LED’s power up.
With a focus on electrical energy, students experimented with building a small electric generator and a microbial battery. These small-scale wins got them thinking about big-scale possibilities and hopes for the future.

This workshop was based on activities developed by www.magicalmicrobes.com, www.kidwind.org, www.amasci.com We want to thank Lect dr Mircea Anton from the Environmental Science and Engineering University for his support.

Future Cities

This workshop was all about role-playing. Students were asked to get into the roles of energy engineers and imagine the sustainable houses of the future.

The brief: design the house of the future which has technology that answers to three different topics – technology that makes the house be energy efficient; technology that helps the house source renewable resources and ultimately technology that makes the house comfortable to live in.

We are very proud of the results: a combination of practical, inspiring, and well-done solutions, some really cool visions of what the eco-friendly and sustainable houses of the future could look like – from self-sufficient energy systems with rotating solar panels , vertical wind turbines integrated in the house architecture, to water and waste management systems, green roofs and landscapes.

Windtastic

Between January and February we will have our last workshop – Windtastic – with the teachers from the Cluj School Network. Preparations are already on their way.

We want to thank Michael Arquin from @KidWind for sharing all his knowledge and work with us. He dedicated more than 15 designing and perfecting classroom activities around renewable energies, focusing on wind power. More on his impressive free resources here

Windtastic

Between January and February we will have our last workshop – Windtastic – with the teachers from the Cluj School Network. Preparations are already on their way.

We want to thank Michael Arquin from @KidWind for sharing all his knowledge and work with us. He dedicated more than 15 designing and perfecting classroom activities around renewable energies, focusing on wind power. More on his impressive free resources here

Comming Soon

We are working hard to refine the lesson plans and materials lists and make the workshops available online.

Partners
With the support of:
Educational Partners

The project is implemented with the support of the French Embassy in Romania / French Institute in Romania.