A creative laboratory at school, what difference does it make? Yes, it allows students to learn about various technologies, work in teams and give free rein to their creativity. But it is also possible for teachers to get young people to think about the objectives of sustainable development. We spoke with two New Brunswick teachers who offer very concrete projects in this direction to their students.
“When it comes to the creative lab, environmental values are never far away. Eco-responsibility, recycling, reuse, home-made, repair are concepts that can be addressed by teachers. In a creative lab, we make decisions, we can make better choices and design more sustainable solutions,” argues Patrick Giroux, professor at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, who participated in the production of the research report. Creative laboratories in schools: inventory, pedagogical strategies and skills.
At a time when the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are increasingly valued in our society, here are two concrete examples.
Creation for a sparkling and lasting Christmas
For the past few years, Renée Duclos, an 8th grade teacher at École Le Mascaret in Moncton, has taken part in the Défi scintillant de l'organization Brilliant Labs / Creative Labs, which supports teachers in the maritime provinces in the deployment of creative laboratories.
The project is simple: recover an old sweater (a toque or a scarf can also do the trick) to make it sparkle for the Holidays. The idea is not to buy one of those ugly Christmas sweaters, which are so popular, but rather to make one yourself.
This project is a pretext for Renée who actually leads her students to reflect on their consumption choices. They first make a census of the origin of the clothes they wear and note the statistics. They then watch a documentary on fashion at low prices, or “fast fashion” in English. Then, they share thoughts on the subject through the Flipgrid app.
“At the end of the day, they are convinced that they have to recycle an item of clothing and convert it into a sparkly item of clothing for Christmas,” says the teacher. Using 3D printers, sensors, sewing machines, they quickly set to work to create their garment. “Some even stay after school hours to fine-tune it! »
Bring light where there is none
For his part, Ian Fogarty is a grade 12 science teacher at Riverview High School, located in Riverview, “the Anglo side of Moncton,” as he puts it, insisting on conducting the interview in French despite his difficulties. “I tell my students to get out of their comfort zone. I must do the same. »
There is no shortage of creative projects for her students, whether in regular classes or in extracurricular activities. One of those that make him most proud is Current-Generation. As part of this project, students design lamps, among other things, which are then sent to countries around the world where the electricity is not as stable as here.
For him, it is essential that young people be able to take part in projects that lead them to solve real problems. “Students realize that electricity is not as stable all over the world. They must design a lamp that can be used by other young people who will thus have light to do their homework in the evening at home. Then they design it from A to Z”, explains the teacher. The lamps can be recharged using a small solar panel which is affixed and which was also imagined by the young people. From one year to another, the project is gaining momentum. The models are inspired by those of previous years.
“Young people have the impression of living in a small province where nothing happens. With this project, they see that everyone can make a difference. And oh surprise, the girls are suddenly interested in science! It was my biggest revelation. This project is full of meaning for them. They don't feel like they're doing techno for techno's sake. They create a solution to a real problem”, enthuses the teacher.
When we spoke to him, he also mentioned two other projects that marry the arts and sciences:
- DNArt : a fresco composed of LED rings representing DNA changing color and simulating the scrolling of a DNA sequence according to the movement of students in the school corridor.
- Leo Project : a candlestick that changes color depending on the emotions of those passing by.
To find out more about setting up a creative laboratory in a school, watch our special file to be published in the coming days (reserved for subscribers to École branchée magazine).
In addition: (Re)read our articles