October 26th 2022, Russian military strikes the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine. This places an undue hardship on the people of Ukraine and perhaps hinders or shuts down their educational system.
The Chickasaw Middle School students have been challenged to use STEM to solve a world problem. Ukraine’s lack of and need for reliable electricity to run laptops and charge cell phones. If we can keep the lines of communication open, then the Ukrainians can connect with the outside world providing help and hope. This will also allow students to access distant learning opportunities.
The Chickasaw Middle school teacher Brian Copes has been in contact with two Ukrainian teachers, Anna Dudich and Oleksandr Zhuk, both of which have been named as one of the top teachers in the world by the Global Teacher Prize.
Oleksandr wrote to Mr. Copes saying, “Hello! It is difficult now. They are actively shelling the country and my city. We are constantly without light. Educational lessons are difficult to conduct. There may be one lesson in seven being taught. My city is close to the occupied territory. We are use to it and we know that we will win…Now we need a power bank, because every day we have almost no light.”
Anna states, “The internet connection is unstable, but we still have it. We even try to teach between electricity and internet blackouts.”
Without help, Ukrainian education will be the next casualty of war.
Imagine schools around the world working on this project. Students will be video conferencing with one another, talking about their research, or brainstorming how to solutions to issues. We need more collaborative STEM lessons that draw students together to solve world problems.
The immediate focus for this project is Ukraine who have a desperate need, however the need for the Solar Suitcase is far reaching. There are many places around the world who have limited to no electricity. Places like Olvidado Honduras, (Olvidado means forgotten), has never had electricity. Refugee camps around the world, the slums of Columbia, the list goes on and on.
Imagine middle and high schools around the country/world being the catalyst to solve a world problem.
Zaporozhye, Ukraine Before and after the Russian invasion
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