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The STEAM Power Project: How do you spark interest in science?

The STEAM Power Project: How do you spark interest in science?

Steam methodology

During a training session moderated by research professors at the University of California, San Francisco, students Dionisio, Vladimir and Nestor answer questions posed to them about the properties of cochineal, the insect from which the natural dye is extracted from two well-known substances, cochineal and repellent. sour. Suddenly, Violetta asked them to open the STEAM bag which sparked a lot of curiosity in them.

The class is in an uproar, more than twenty disciples talking at the same time. They take a jar, beaker and test tube and read out the names of each container and laugh. They touch the mealybug and check its color and smell. They begin to investigate and their faces show excitement and enthusiasm for learning. They are happy.

“We chose chemistry because the main economic activities in Kailuma – the area of ​​intervention of the project – are crafts and agriculture. For this reason, the themes we are going to develop are part of their environment, such as the use of natural dyes for handicrafts,” says teacher Belko.

The teacher appears at the door of the classroom, attracted by the noise of the teenagers, and sees how they play, amazed, with the things they found in the precious bag. He smiles and lets them enjoy the moment.

And it is that this methodology seeks “learning by doing,” that is, it aims to motivate teachers to transform their classrooms with tools that favor their teaching, based on how science is practiced.

Now Dionysio dissolves a teaspoon of vermilion in a cup of hot water and turns red. He had seen this before at his friends’ craft workshop. Vladimir in another cup, mixes vermilion with vinegar and turns orange, oh! he exclaimed in surprise. Néstor combines baking soda dissolved in water and vermilion and obtains a dark purple liquid, and smiles with his comrades.

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After obtaining dyes of different colours, they complete the process by dyeing strips of wool soaked in each pot. The satisfaction of the experience made them forget for a moment the pre-winter cold that froze the waters in this region even in the months of June and July.

“It was a pleasure to see the interest of the students, both primary and secondary, when trying out the range of materials offered to them by San Pablo. Above all, the girls and boys were very interested in actively participating in the challenges and experiences given by the STEAM Power trainers ”, concluded Jorge Aguila, Embassy United States, who also participated in the flight to Cabanaconde.

Arequipa 22 May 2023