Like Destination Imagination, PLP also implements Blue Sky. In PLP we have two exhibitions, the Winter exhibition and Blue Sky. Blue Sky has been around for many years however, this was going to be my first Blue Sky so I didn’t really know what to expect.
Our theme this year was empathy. Basically for our project we had to design something that would help a group of people or an individual. The very first thing we practiced was listening to people and what they need, so we did the lunch activity. This was done in partners, and we had to listen to them in order to design them the perfect lunch.
Moving on, the topic for Blue Sky was the Sustainable Development Goals. Theses are a collection of 17 goals set by the United Nations. The issues they cover are over social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice. In groups we chose which topic we found the most interesting. My group chose Responsible Consumption and Production. This could be environmentally, for example, reducing plastics, waste etc.
In my group was Hannah, Claire and Sofia. Our group struggled to come up with an idea. Our first idea was to reduce packaging in fast food restaurants. This wasn’t going to work because a huge aspect of our projects this year, was we had to implement them. We kept the environmental theme however, in order to implement our product, the school seemed like an easier place where we could do something.
Our group split in two and I was working with Sofia. We thought a lot and needed to come up with an idea fast!
This is where the LAUNCH cycle came in. The LAUNCH cycle is the process we took to get our end result. So what is the LAUNCH cycle?
L- Look, Listen & Learn
A- Ask tons of questions
U- Understanding the process or problem
N- Navigate Ideas
C- Create a prototype
H- Highlight and fix
LAUNCH to the world!
L – Starting with look listen and learn. This is all to do with listening to your client. This involved research, so Sofia and I asked students what environmental issues they think our school faces. A common answer was the paper towels. In our school we go through a lot of paper towels per day. This was definitely an environmental problem that was attainable to accomplish.
A – Ask tons of questions. Sofia and I decided to base our project around reducing the paper towel usage in our school. To do this we needed to get a lot of information about how many paper towels are using in the school. We interviewed the janitor at our school. He was very helpful and was able to tell us how many paper towels we use in a day/week.
Our school goes through one of these every week!
We asked him many other questions about the paper towel they use and what kind it is. We also found out that one box of six rolls costs around $35. This is a lot of money per week for the school. So not only is this an environmental problem but we could save money by using less.
U – Understanding the process or problem. In order to fix this problem, we needed to think of how we could get the school to use less paper towels. On average people use 2.5 paper towels every time they wash their hands. We also saw that by the end of the day, the paper towel bins in the girls bathroom were over flowing. Something else we did was we researched how much it would cost the school if the school bought an energy efficient hand dryer.
From this graph you can tell that the school would save a lot of money by perching a hand dryer. It would also be more environmentally friendly. For the paper towels we had to transport them and to make one ton of paper towels 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are used.
N – Navigate ideas. Now that we knew and understood the problem we had to start thinking of ideas for our project. Basically we had to come with a way we could encourage people to use less paper towels. An idea that we came up with was to set a goal for the school. We decided to make a paper towel bin for the girls bathroom that would encourage students to use less paper towels.
C – Create a prototype. To creating our first prototype, we had many stages. The first was designing our product. In this process I was in charge of designing the bin and Sofia did the research about the paper towels. To design the bin I used Sketches Pro.
In the design I decided to cut out the tree and make it clear, was so students could see how many paper towels were in the bin, and you could also easily track our progress. Also this meant I could draw the line of where we wanted our goal to be.
Here are a few messy drawings for the frame:
H- Highlight and fix. The next step was to get feedback actually create our design. We got some feedback on the design and fixed it then we were ready to start building. Sofia and I made our prototype from scratch. Neither of us are particularly engineers although I think we did a really good job making it.
We made the bin out of wood and we needed to figure out how we were going to make the box. To make the bin we used wood, jigsaw, table saw etc.
The first step was to make a frame for the bin. From Rona we had to buy the really long pieces of wood so we used the table saw to cut the wood. This was very difficult with only two people however, I was so proud of us because to be honest I didn’t think we were going to be able to make this.
Something else we had to do was to revise where the goal line was. At the end of a day at school, we poured the paper towels from the over flowing bins into our bin. We drew a line where the paper towels were and labeled it “where we are now”. We then drew a line under it and that was where our goal was. This was hopefully going to reduce the usage of paper towels by 50%.
Here is our finished prototype in the girls bathroom!
Time to launch our prototype! Our final task in the LAUNCH cycle was to implement our product. Since we only made one bin, we decided to put the bin into the girls washroom. We talked to the janitor and he approved. We made two posters to put on the bin so people knew what we were doing. We left the paper recycling bin in the girls bathroom for a full day. Honestly I wasn’t sure if it was going to work however, when we came back at the end of the day, the paper towel line was just under our goal!!! I was so happy that we actually managed to reduce the paper towel usage! After our experiment, we asked a few class mates if they thought our bin was actually reminding them to use less paper towels and they all said it was!
Finally the day of the exhibition arrived where we present our projects to parents, family, teachers etc. Like I said at the beginning, each group was categorized into UN Sustainable Development Goals. The younger grades also were put into groups. For exhibition night all the grades in the same category we going to be in the same room.
Everyone in my room:
We teamed up to make our room represent our theme. Our topic was Responsible Consumption and Production. All the projects in my group were all to do with recycling and making a more environmentally friendly community. We decided to decorate our room with a forestry theme to represent the environment. This included having plants, lights off, calm music etc. Of coarse we needed to have food for the visitors. Sofia, Hannah and I were in charge of making cookies. We were told that all food and beverages had to be related to our topic. The cookies were homemade (reducing store packaging).
Some pics from the exhibition!
Overall I would say that Blue Sky was a success, all the groups did a really good job with decorating the rooms and executing their projects! I think Sofia worked really well, and we did a really good job with our project since we didn’t have a lot of time. I also learned a lot about the paper towel usage in our school and I think it is cool that Sofia and found a solution to reduce the paper towel usage. We also figured out that it would be more beneficial for the school if they got a hand dryer.