Hello again! This is going to be my last blog post for my grade 8 year. Today I’m going to be talking about our final project, our Blue Sky project, that we present at the Spring Exhibition. A Blue Sky project is a special project where we address an issue and try to solve it using the LAUNCH process. LAUNCH stands for Listen and learn, Ask tons of questions, Understand the problem, Navigate ideas, Create a prototype, Highlight and Fix. Here is a video that explains the process:
This year we were challenged to frame our problem and solution using one of the UN sustainable goals and the COVID-19 pandemic. We were supposed to identify a real need and make a prototype to address this need. For my UN Sustainability Goal I chose number 6, which is clean water and sanitation. My inspiration for my prototype came from my Mom, who told me that the local breweries were making hand sanitizer in large buckets and had donated some to the hospital for the staff. When I heard this I thought about how my community doesn’t have hand sanitizer outside of shops for customers to clean their hands before they go into the store and touch products on the shelf. I realized that this could be extended to the UN goal for sanitation in areas where there isn’t clean water for washing hands. If I could come up with a product that could use the large containers of hand sanitizer being made by the breweries, this product could also be used in other areas to supply large amounts of hand sanitizer. The breweries make their sanitizer from a waste by-product of the brewing process, so it is inexpensive for them to make in large amounts and would reuse an otherwise unused by-product.
Here is my LAUNCH Journal that shows how I went from this idea to my final prototype of a large hand sanitizer dispenser.
I’m glad I can show my project in this post because we didn’t all get to show our projects at the Exhibition. For the Spring Exhibition, usually we would be grouped in a room with other students from Grades 8-10 who’s projects were similar to ours. Our room would have a theme and a story to guide visitors through the room to all the different projects, and we would interact with the visitors when they came to see our prototype. But as for most things since COVID, this Spring Exhibition was the same but different.
We were divided into groups of students with similar or compatible UN Sustainability Goals and each group of students was going to have a room. The room was a Zoom room though. We had to come up with a story for our room and a way to interact with the audience and present some of our projects, but we only had 10 minutes to do our presentation before the audience would be moved to another group’s room for their 10 minute presentation.
Our group was the Water group because we had projects from Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation, and Goal 14 Life Below Water. Most of the people in my group were Life Below Water so we came up with a story that talked about how the ocean is being polluted and after each person spoke, we put more objects in a jar full of water that represented the ocean. By the end of our presentation, the water in the jar had gone down, and the number of plastic objects in the jar had gone up. We all had an underwater scene as our backdrop, and were wearing goggles or dive masks. I think our presentation went pretty well. All of the groups had different backgrounds, stories, and ways of interacting with the audience. It was a pretty good presentation overall.
Now I will reflect on the competencies for this project.
Research and Understand: How might I research and understand a problem, process, or challenge using different perspectives? I met this competency when I came up with my original idea to use a bucket as the container for the hand sanitizer. I realized that if I was a store owner, I would not want to spend a lot of money on a fancy container so if I could develop something that could use the original bucket the breweries were using to hold the sanitizer, it would be more cost effective. I also met this when I explored different ways of dispensing hand sanitizer from the container as I had to overcome the challenge of how to get the right amount of liquid sanitizer out of the container without dispensing too much that would be wasteful, expensive and make a mess. That’s when I came up with the idea of a spray nozzle.
Take Creative Risks: How might I use technology to create in new ways? I met this competency when I used Minecraft to make my first couple of prototypes for the container. Looking at these prototypes helped me to see some flaws in my design, like the container on its side wouldn’t allow for all of the hand sanitizer to be used up. My second Minecraft design allowed me to come up with the upright container using a spray nozzle to pull the liquid up, using all of the hand sanitizer.
Revise: How might I see this as a First Attempt in Learning and revise? When I was making my prototype, on my first attempt to use it the spray nozzle wouldn’t work. As I was looking at the spray mechanism, I realized that the water I was using to simulate the hand sanitizer liquid wasn’t coming all the way up the tube from the bottom of the bucket. I realized that the spray nozzle wasn’t strong enough to pull the water up the tube. I was able to revise this by using a power nozzle that has a battery pump in it to pull liquid up in large containers.