After spending the last few days getting to know the Rwandan team members, today was spent selecting and planning the workshops which will be presented to the schools which we will visit. We tended to focus our workshops on areas of engineering which we know are studied in the University of Rwanda, such Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mining Engineering and Electrical Engineering. In addition, we showed the other team members our donated workshop resources from STAR Refrigeration, UofG Biomedical Engineering Department and the Ingenious Circuits! Project team.
Our aim was to make the workshops as interactive as possible and we were able to draw upon the experiences and previous knowledge of the UR students in order to make the information relevant to the high school students. For example, focusing the architecture workshop on efficient land use to help relieve the problem of a rapidly increasing population. Having recent high school graduates present, we were able to address questions that are likely to be asked by our participants, which helped us to gain a well-rounded impression of how our workshops would be received.
We are going to develop our ideas even further tomorrow, but the tentative list of workshops for this year are as follows:
Civil Engineering: matching types of bridge designs to their appropriate use and explaining why, followed by a competition to see which team can build the tallest and strongest tower out of straws and tape (similar to our Civil Engineering with Architecture workshop from last year, with more emphasis on the engineering side of things).
Electrical: learning about the importance of series and parallel circuitry, and then looking alternative ways to create electricity (e.g. solar panels, biomass)
Cooling: Comparing the difference humidity makes to air temperature, and discussing how this can be used in relevant applications (e.g. preventing food from spoiling) using STAR Refrigeration’s donated whirling thermometers and psychrometric charts.
Architecture: Discussing proper land use to promote conservation of the environment whilst providing sufficient housing, and learning how to construct different elements of an architecture model from pre-cut shapes.
Mining: discussing the importance of mining and the vast range of products which arise, as well as the stages involved in the mining process.
Sound in diagnostics: Illustrating how sound waves can be used to diagnose malaria from a blood sample, and discussing why this is an important technology (using Ingenious Circuits! prototype kit, designed by Dr. Melanie Jimenez).
Paper diagnostics: Cheap and simple methods of diagnosing diseases, including malaria. Also comparing different types of testing devices including pregnancy tests, and discussing why having reliable but low-cost de-skilled testing equipment is important in Africa.
Light in diagnostics: Based off current research in diagnosing lung problems such as infection and cancer, the workshop demonstrates how use of optical fibres can enhance imaging of lung tissue.
The whole day was really productive and we managed to get through all the workshop ideas in a fair amount of time. We have agreed to split the workshop groups into fewer and larger numbers of team members, giving each workshop more brains to develop it and more experts to be able to run the workshop. This means we are more flexible in terms of our possible workshops each time we visit a school and allows more team members to learn about each topic in depth.