Throughout the past week over 700 children from all over the Central Denmark Region have been designing solutions to address the challenge: “Transport – focusing on cars” as part of the Aarhus 2017 Design to Improve Life Challenge.
This year, students were specifically asked to tackle air pollution caused by the transport sector – a prevalent issue identified in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Cars, as one of the most popular modes of transport, produce the most CO2. Students were therefore encouraged to focus on how they can make cars ‘greener’ or how vehicles or transport systems can be used more efficiently.
Some examples of the submitted designs include solar-powered buses, electric cars made from inexpensive recycled materials, a car that runs on organic plant material, and a method of capturing and reusing CO2 for growing crops. Click here to see all the amazing solutions.
“Last week we visited three classes in Hedensted – they were all in the middle of building their prototypes and we were really impressed by many of the solutions,” said Simone Søgaard Jacobsen, Design to Improve Life Challenge Project Lead. “The kids used the term of ‘Design to Improve Life’ and sustainability really well when they presented their solutions.”
“We love to work in this way,” said fifth grade students Najda and Mette from Løsning Skole, who particularly enjoyed working more independently. “Teachers no longer watch over our shoulders when we work – they rely on us more.”
Aside from giving the students crucial design-based skills to solve real world challenges, the project has brought some extra significant benefits, says Hanne Enemark, a teacher at Løsning Skole.
“We have many children at the school who come from disadvantaged families and they’re often behind on more traditional things, like being able to read and write,” she said.
“In this project there’s room for them to use their HEADS AND hands in a different way, and that means everyone can participate.”
This is the second time these classes are participating in a Design to Improve Life Challenge. Last fall, they designed solutions to address local issues related to climate change, specifically, ways to reduce flooding in their local communities.
The juries will now assess all designs and select 20 finalists who will participate at the Battle event on October 13th. On the day, the winning team will be crowned, and two other prizes with be awarded based on an audience vote and team spirit efforts.