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Feb 21, 2019

Starting strong in 2019!

Group of Yiya teachers share their work with Samso
Group of Yiya teachers share their work with Samso

We are less than 2 months into 2019 and already Yiya has accomplished a variety of exciting projects and built some key new partnerships!

 

O&P-UG Tech Camp 2019 in Gulu!

In January, we supported our partners at Oysters & Pearls – Uganda as they ran a holiday technology camp in Gulu, Northern Uganda during the school break for secondary students. The camp was inclusive of sighted and visually impaired students. Both students and instructors came from all over Uganda to participate in this exciting camp, which covered robotics, prototyping, video game design, software development, website development, and assistive technologies for the blind.

The Yiya team worked to help prep instructors for the Tech Camp ahead of time (running trainings for them in both December and January) and then stayed on-ground at the camp to support teaching on an everyday basis. We encouraged instructors to keep their technology lessons R-E-A-L: by having relevant content, energizing games, active group work activities, and always keeping the classroom learner-centered.

We were so excited to be able to support the instructors in this way and were very impressed at their openness to teach in innovative, hands-on new ways to ensure that they engaged all their students!

 

A New Partnership!

In January we also solidified our new partnership with Impact Designs, a brand new organization that is working hard to promote edible insect farming in Uganda. We will be working on-ground to help their team research and experiment with the prototypes for the freestanding farms in which the edible insects will grow.

Our first task of 2019 was: finding the mealworm in Uganda! We are still hunting for it at various poultry and cattle farms in the countryside. So far we have found the lesser mealworm, which is a very good side that its cousin is not too far away. We will keep you updated once we locate it and begin prototyping the mini-farm containers.

We are hopeful that these edible insect farming containers will be the technology for Term 2 in our Yiya partner schools! Farming and consuming edible insects will be a huge boost in building resiliency in the food supply for agriculturally-based Northern Uganda. It will help local communities be more resilient in the face of increasing drought and famine being brought about by climate change in the reason. Edible insects are a great source of nutrients and protein and have very minimal water or food needs!

 

Renewing Yiya's School Partnerships

In February we met with the administrators and Head Teachers at our partner schools to renew our partnership and address any concerns or challenges that they perceive in our implementation of the Yiya program, as well as brief them on our planned program activities for 2019.

Head Teachers continue to be very excited about the Yiya program. Their only complaint was that our program is not large enough…they want all the students at their schools to receive the Yiya engineering lessons!

We reassured Head Teachers that we are working hard to empower teachers so we can reach more students throughout their schools. We also shared with them that we’ve discovered through our M&E surveys that even the non-Yiya students at their schools are demonstrating impacts from the Yiya program. We attribute this increased impact to our increased focus on teachers and changing their methodologies in ALL their classes, not just the Yiya lessons.

We are proud to report that 100% of our Head Teachers reported on their surveys that they would be very likely to recommend that our Yiya R-E-A-L teaching methodology be included in the Ugandan national curriculum in order to improve STEM education. In addition, 100% of Head Teachers said they would recommend the Yiya program to other schools. This is the highest compliment a Head Teacher can give and it was great feedback to our team that they feel that the Yiya program is indeed improving STEM education in their schools!

 

 

Jumpstarting 2019 School Year with our Partner Teachers!

After re-affirming our partnership with Head Teachers, we had an equally exciting workshop with their respective Yiya partner teachers. This workshop began with Yiya teachers engaged in an activity based on the American reality TV show: the Amazing Race, where they accomplished a variety of STEM education tasks, competition-style, to remind them of the many ways to make STEM lessons engaging and relevant to their students!

They also practiced teaching STEM lessons to one another and gave each other feedback on how to make their lessons REAL. Teachers practiced using our Yiya teaching checklist after teaching, which they will complete once per week during the school year. We are hopeful that this teaching checklist, which will be completed both before and after a teacher teaches a lesson, will induce behavior change amongst teachers and increase the number of lessons in that are hands-on, relevant to students’ lives, and learner-centered. Checklists have been shown to improve skilled performance in fields as wide-ranging as medicine and aviation, so we are really excited to see if they can be equally impactful in education!

We will have results of this teaching checklist experiment late in Quarter 2 and we will keep you posted.

Please find below our 2018 Annual Report!

Practicing teaching with the Yiya checklist
Practicing teaching with the Yiya checklist
Yiya Teachers in the Amazing Race!
Yiya Teachers in the Amazing Race!
Singing a song about Newton's Laws!
Singing a song about Newton's Laws!
They've crowned their STEM king
They've crowned their STEM king
Teaching is more fun with active energizers
Teaching is more fun with active energizers

Links:

Nov 30, 2018

Time to Shine!

A student explains how their gravity light works
A student explains how their gravity light works

In early October, we held our second annual 2018 Yiya Interschool Engineering Competition & Community Showcase, hosted by St Katherine’s Secondary School in Lira, Northern Uganda.

It was an exciting, action-packed day, full of engineering, technologies, and fun!

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SHOWCASE?

After working hard as engineers throughout the whole school year, all Yiya students and teachers in our 6 partner schools came together to display their prototypes to each other and to the wider community.

This year we had 21 teachers and 260 O-Level students (9th graders) participate in this event! The gender breakdown was 143 female students and 117 male students.

Each team first participated in a technology showcase, displaying prototypes ranging from bike-powered phone chargers, gravity lights, hand sanitizers, low-cost miniature greenhouses, gravity-powered drip irrigation systems, organic pesticides, to their processes for cultivation of IMOs. The creativity and range of designs in their engineering prototypes was very impressive to judges and community members who attended the showcase!

After the technology showcase in the morning, all teams participated in a hackathon-style on-the-spot engineering challenge in the afternoon to demonstrate their skills in engineering, math, and science in real-time. This year, teams were challenged to use their knowledge of pulleys and gears and mechanical engineering to design and build a bicycle-powered maize mill! Students took on this challenge with enthusiasm and energy and the results were amazing! 

SHOWCASE OBJECTIVES:

1.    Teams demonstrated how they applied their knowledge of science, math, and engineering to design technologies that solve real-world problems in their communities!

2.    Teams designed and built a technology in real-time! This year they used their physics knowledge of gears, pulleys, and velocity ratios to create prototypes that degrain and grind maize WITHOUT electricity!

We are so proud of the amazing prototypes that teams brought to the showcase. We were excited to see that this year, teams stepped their experimentation up a notch! Most prototypes had been measured against controls, which was a big improvement from last year and shows the kind of rigor students are now employing in their engineering design process. Well done to all teams!

MANY, MANY THANKS!

Big thanks to St Katherine’s Secondary School for hosting our showcase event this year!

Huge thanks to the Yiya field team for managing the many logistics involved in such a big event, as well as to our star judges who took great care to learn all about teams’ prototypes before coming to their final decisions.

Special thanks also to our diligent Yiya partner teachers, who worked tirelessly all year long to support engineering at their schools! They are an inspiration to our students and to us!

AND THE RESULTS ARE…

The final winners were:

1st Place – Archbishop Orombi Secondary School

2nd Place – St Katherine’s Secondary School

3rd Place – Lira Town College

THANKS TO THE YIYA COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT!

Last but not least, a very special and warm thank you to YOU, our generous Yiya community, for making all these activities possible through your kindness and your support.

On Thanksgiving Day especially, we give thanks for your generosity and faith in our team! 

From our Yiya family to yours: Happy, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Students working on on-the-spot challenge
Students working on on-the-spot challenge
Students explaining low cost greenhouse
Students explaining low cost greenhouse
Judge Phyllis with students from St Katherine
Judge Phyllis with students from St Katherine
Drip irrigation system
Drip irrigation system
Bicycle-powered maize grinder
Bicycle-powered maize grinder
Aug 22, 2018

Oh the things you'll CREATE!

Measuring the supports
Measuring the supports

Term 2: Agricultural Engineering

It has been a busy Term 2 in our partner schools in Northern Uganda! At the end of Term 1, we concluded field research with local farmers in the community and narrowed down the technology of choice for Term 2 to be organic pesticide. 

Our partner teachers are a strong, creative, and passionate group of educators! When we brought the idea of organic pesticide to them, they had an innovative idea. They requested free reign to work with students to use agricultural engineering to design an agricultural technology of their own choice. We agreed and told them: the sky is the limit!

Now at the end of Term 2 we are so excited to present the various technologies that our partner schools worked to develop over the past few months. Some schools decided to stick with organic pesticide and some designed a much different technology...

 

Cultivating Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs) at St Katherines Girls School!

Students and teachers at St Katherines tackled the issue of soil infertility (and the resulting plant vulnerability to crop disease) by using agricultural engineering to cultivate indigenous microorganisms (IMOs). The application of IMOs has been shown to aid in mineral extraction and help with waste decomposition, as well as to boost the immunity of crops to various diseases.

Under the guidance of their teachers and our Yiya field team, St Katherines students researched how to cultivate IMOs. They designed a process for how to grow the IMOs in a small forest behind their school, and built the apparatus that would house the IMOs and their food. After a few weeks, they had great growth and harvested their first generation of IMOs! They have now begun experimenting with the application of this first prototype to their school crops! You can read more about IMOs and how St Katherines students developed their technology on our Yiya blog here.

 

Rapha Girls Secondary School and Bright Light College innovate affordable greenhouses!

Lira District in Northern Uganda, where our partner schools are, is a semi-arid region that suffers drought, with only intermittent rains during planting seasons. To tackle this challenge, our Yiya teachers at Rapha Girls School and Bright Light College designed an agricultural engineering unit that was centered on teaching students to create an affordable greenhouse that they can promote in their communities to help their parents grow crops even during the long stretches of dry season.

These small, low-cost greenhouses made from locally available resources trap water released during the evapotranspiration process of plants. They prevent water from evaporating so that the plants inside the greenhouse can reuse it once it has condensed back into the ground.

In this unit, students researched the water cycle by conducting experiments to test how much moisture different plants release during evapotranspiration. Click here to see video of these experiments! Each team of students at these two schools has built the first prototype of their own miniature greenhouse, which they will test next month once all greenhouses are complete!

 

Archbishop Orombi Secondary School and Lira Town College formulate organic pesticide!

Teachers and students at Archbishop Orombi and Lira Town College guided their students to apply their knowledge of science, mathematics, and agriculture to design a technology that solves the problem of crop pests. They created an organic pesticide which utilizes natural ingredients such as onion, garlic, neem, chili pepper, dish soap, as well as other local herbs to repel common pests. Students worked in groups to experiment with the bacterial and fungal-killing properties of the different ingredients they planned to use; then they harnessed those properties to create their organic pesticide. You can see students in action here!

Throughout this unit, students followed the iterative engineering design process of experimenting and prototyping until they came up with a high-quality product.  Our partner teachers and the Yiya team supported these students throughout the engineering design process and then helped them make connections to local farmers around their schools. Students shared their final prototypes with these farmers who tried the pesticide samples on their crops. Farmers expressed how impressed they were that students had created such a high-performing product! They found that the student-formulated organic pesticide, when sprayed on crops, repelled many common crop pests.

 

Getting ready for the competition!

We are so proud of our Yiya partner teachers and students for all their hard work this term using agricultural engineering to design and create technologies to help farmers in their community. We are especially impressed with how teachers have taken the lead and stepped up to design their very own engineering lessons, with the Yiya team moving to more of a co-teaching, support role. What an amazing group of empowered, motivated, and talented educators who are truly committed to radically changing their communities through the hands-on, REAL education they provide to their students! 

As we enter Term 3, our schools are now focused on testing and improving their prototypes to prepare them for the 2018 Yiya Interschool Engineering Competition & Showcase, which will be held at St Katherines Girls School on Saturday, Oct 6th!

weighing ingredients
weighing ingredients
measuring ingredients
measuring ingredients
harvesting IMOs from pots 2
harvesting IMOs from pots 2
opening the IMO boxes
opening the IMO boxes
building the greenhouse
building the greenhouse
hammer and nails
hammer and nails
measuring 2
measuring 2
mixing ingredients
mixing ingredients
making a plan for their first prototype
making a plan for their first prototype

Links:

 
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