🧠 HACKATHON! (vol.2)

During the first month of the new school year we took a chance with SEQ and the Green Elementary School 🌿 – ŽŠ s MŠ Brodňanská near Žilina – to organize Hackathon vol.2! 🧨

We paired up with the school coordinator for the Green Schools program and together we have chosen 8th graders as the perfect fit for this event.

To start our Hackathon  journey, we first looked into the topic of DESIGN THINKING.
Ever heard of it? 🙂
That is how great ideas can be born!

source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-design-thinking-simple-words-nandkishor-more

We aimed to follow the structure of design thinking, shaping it to our needs and capacities.

At first we took some time to understand what might be actually needed in the area that the kids live in.
According to that, we were thinking about what kind of environmental challenges bother them personally. Is there something they feel is lacking, non-functional or could be improved?
The class has split up into groups of 2-3 students and started to define the specific problem they would like to address and quite fast, after pointing out the target issue they have started brainstorming their ideas for solutions.

Diverse range of issues were in the plenum, from river, water dam and forest pollution, through plastic waste disposal errors, climate anxiety to tree planting needs.

Once the brainstorming phase was done, we jumped into focusing towards one solution and started to prototype the processes and mechanisms how to treat the issue.

This phase was slightly challenging for us, but also a lot of fun, since we have been through several clashes of students’ visions of how things should function and how they actually do.
It was quite refreshing for me, as a facilitator, as well, to doubt the system processes in this way, broadening my perspective by the opinions of our students on how easily municipalities should be reachable and people naturally engaged in problem solving.

When the strategy was born, we moved towards specific plans – steps to take, finances, people to reach out to. One of the conditions was to create a real-time budget for this project, researching existing solutions, materials, contacts, funding options and companies to help.

The phase of testing and implementing was not our case, but the students had to think about them, how would they perform it and who would help them in doing so.

Each team has created a ppt presentation of their idea and project plan which they shared with us at the end of the event. We have invited younger students to witness the presentations and maybe get inspired 🙂

Together with the representative from the Green School and the class headteacher we have formed a committee, listening to all the presentations, holding the floor for questions, discussions and feedback.

After careful examination, we have picked three winning projects, based on their originality, how real their solution is, research level, budgeting and their presentation.

🥉 The third place was taken by a forest clean-up initiative strategy, connected with tree-planting and reaching out to companies upcycling the waste, in order to create something useful from the cleaning initiative outcomes.

🥈 Second place was taken by a project focusing on climate anxiety and supporting green impactful solutions, by creating an online movement and platform –  connecting people by their passions. They would share viral tutorials and organize workshops in their respective fields, which are considered “not-eco friendly” but they see a deep meaning in it for their lives. By sharing the content, they would raise money – used for high-impact environmental solutions, such as waste filters for factories, etc – lifting their climate anxiety from the impact their hobby/job has on the environment.

🥇The first place project focused on water pollution prevention. The team has pointed out a problem of their village river bringing a lot of waste to the main water stream in the region.
Their goal was to create a filter system that would prevent this waste from entering the river flow and also raise awareness in the community. Their project was executed on the best level, well budgeted and thought-through to the smallest details of contact persons, existing solutions, materials and helpers needed.

All our winners were rewarded with a gift card to a Martinus Bookstore chain. 🥇🥈🥉
And the class has won financial support for their Green School activities. 🎊

Congratulations! 🎇

On top of that good work, we went out for PLOGGING in the village area near the school! Took the bags and did some good deeds during a lovely sunny walk.

All in all…
A group of young minds 🧠 evaluating their views on the environment they live in and its sustainability. 👀 Picking a problem that seems urgent. ❗ Creating solutions. 💭Budgeting. 💶
Presenting final projects. 🗣️ Cleaning the community environment 💪

The strongest message we have received from this action was the feeling that even being a school kid, I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. My voice matters. My actions matter.
Let the youth know they CAN make a difference. 🙌 They are capable. 💪They are heard.❤️

This Hackathon event was a part of the “GreenYOUthCHANGEMAKERS” project by Slovak Eco Quality and UniGrowth Development center from Armenia, funded from the European Union funds of Erasmus+ network.