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Explore plus

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EXPLORE+ is a 2-year educational project (01/06/2021 – 31/05/2023) that will create a new methodology for school educators and cultural pedagogues to jointly develop transdisciplinary and creative learning interventions. These interventions take the form of multimedia exhibitions and participatory cultural programmes. Targeting young students and citizens, the methodology activates inherent curiosity and creativity and makes use of exercises of scientific exploration, collective co-creation and creative expression to develop new skills related to STEAM, creativity, critical thinking, social learning, and learning-to-learn. The main aim is to establish an original and innovative work methodology that equips young people to come up with own creative solutions to societal challenges related to science denial, disinformation or other anti-intellectualism issues that trouble European communities.

EXPLORE+ consortium gathers a group of educational centres, schools, musea, science centres and municipalities with the objective to pilot mutually-beneficial cooperation models between school, cultural spaces and civil society to

  • innovate formal learning processes via "creative exploration" pedagogies that foster transdisciplinary teaching in cultural and social contexts
  • equip students with creativity and STEAM skills that empower them to become innovators
  • consolidate pedagogic tools and methods that equip a community of educators and cultural pedagogues across Europe to cooperate with each other and build partnerships between education, culture and wider society for sustainable development and active citizenship purposes.

EXPLORE+ engages 150 students and 80 educators/cultural pedagogues as participants an co-creators in the development of its methodology and activities, that include 3 peer-learning sessions and study visits, 3 interdisciplinary exhibitions, and 3 public science fairs including 3 info sessions about the EXPLORE+ methodology, toolkit and MOOC course.

All project members come from cities who have been, are or will be European Capitals of Culture.

Full project title: Creative exploration of curiosity for innovative transdisciplinary, STEAM and social learning
Project identification: 2020-1-DE03-KA227-SCH-093721
Projekt No.: VG-227-IN-SN-20-24-093721

Project results:
Booklet with toolkit (English)
Booklet with toolkit (German)
Booklet with toolkit (Portuguese)
Booklet with toolkit (Latvian)
Booklet with toolkit (Romanian)

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Workshop concepts Museu Zer0



Final conference in Timisoara, 19th May 2023

The conference took place in the FITT building (Youth House) and was organized by Timisoara City Hall. The purpose was to disseminate the results of the project "EXPLORE + creative explorations of curiosity for transdisciplinary innovation, STEAM and social learning".

Launched in the autumn of 2021, in Chemnitz, Germany, the project included joint training and mobility events, which aimed to develop local and regional policies in the field of education, but also to increase the level of involvement of young people in movements that promote European youth goals. Activities included study visits, the development of STEAM educational activities, and science fairs. Collaborations between schools, cultural agents and civil society have contributed to the development of a toolkit as an open source of learning following the STEAM model. STEAM model is an educational method that uses science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as access points for the development of dialogue and critical thinking of students.

During the final dissemination conference, both good practices from the countries participating in the project and useful information from Timisoara were presented, focusing both on the aspects of support – including financial ones – granted by the municipality of Timisoara, through the structures created specifically for this purpose, and on the practical aspects, at the level of training of young people, by combining theory and science with experiment and practical applications.


Multiplier Event in Cesis, 12th May 2023

Data-driven Decision-making in STEAM fields

Within the framework of the Erasmus+ project “EXPLORE+ creative exploration of curiosity for innovative transdisciplinary, STEAM and social learning”, together with project partners from Faro (Portugal), Timișoara (Romania) and Chemnitz (Germany), methodological materials have been created for educators and they will have the opportunity to explore them and try during the workshops which will be organized during the multiplier-event.

During the multiplier event there were invited more than 50 teachers from Cēsis city, Cēsis district and other regions from general and vocational educational institutions. These were teachers who are teaching STEM and Arts subjects who wanted to explore new methodologies and teaching approaches on how to teach science and arts subjects in an integrated and more innovative way. Teachers were invited using schools' official e-mail addresses and social media posts created by Latvian project partners.

During the multiplier event teachers attended the presentation from EXPLORE+ project partners form Latvia - Friendly Appeal Cēsis State Gymnasium and Cēsis City Council - to get to know information about the goals of the project and outcomes created during the project - methodological toolkit and self-directed professional development course for teachers (MOOC) - and practical suggestions on how to use these materials during the teaching and learning process with students. Participants also got the possibility to explore the MOOC webpage and take printed versions of the toolkit with them to bring it back to their schools. Participants also were informed about the project EXPLORE+ webpage www.exploreplus.eu where they can find all the materials and download digital version of the toolkit and get the access to the MOOC.

After the presentation of the Erasmus+ project “EXPLORE+” and Space Education Center teachers attended practical workshop during which they created the space rocket and tested it for different measurements, for example, weight, form of the rocket ect., to make data-based decisions about the improvements to create the best possible rocket. Teachers used different materials offered by workshop organizers, for example, paper, scissors, glue, plastic tube ect. which can be used also during the lessons and that is how they tried one of the lesson plans which is included in the EXPLORE+ toolkit.

After the workshop teachers gave oral feedback to the organizers of the event about their experience during the workshop. The main comments were that it was really practical and useful and they already know the topics according to Latvian national curriculum to which they could use an approach like this - data driven decision making in teaching STEAM subjects.  

EXPLORE multiplies answers for present and future - Multiplier Event in Chemnitz, 25th April 2023

'By the way: Do you remember Pythagoras's theorem and what you need it for in life?' With these words, Graziela Hennig opened the projects Multiplier-Event "EXPLORE" on 25th April 2023 in Chemnitz/Germany hosted by the  Deutsches SPIELEmuseum (German Games Museum). She's the responsable person for it at the project carrier organisation  solaris FZU. Since she's a mom, she knows the situation when she asks her children 'What was your school day like?' and they just answer 'Good' with poor motivation - without any further explanations.

That's why the project EXPLORE+ is needed - to research and develop innovative learning methods in order to not only teach pupils and students knowledge but also create their excitement on it and thus keep the information sustainably stored in their heads.

At the Multiplier-Event, Chemnitz European Capital of Culture GmbH (Ltd.) and the EU office of the city as well as local players from different parts of the society have been introducing their offer and concepts for the challenges of present and future. The international audience of about 60 people finally voted for the one that had convinced them the most.

The project "GenerationenLandWirtschaft" (Generation agriculture) from Chemnitz gained the highest amount of votes. It offers advanced training and consulting for sustainable agriculture in order to create understanding and give recommended action. The interactive world for learning and experience PHÄNOMENIA from Stollberg/Germany and the city library of Chemnitz that for example presented how to make dealing with maps more fun if you combine it with riddles or informed about digital reading learning concepts were also very popular.

We thank every of our cooperation partners and supporters, the exhibitors and the engaged audience for their contribution! The final event of EXPLORE+ in Timisorara/Romania is planned to take place in the middle of may 2023.


Multiplier Event in Faro, April 2023

The Multiplier Event in Faro took a special form. Under the name "Arts and Sciences Fair" Portugal the event was organized at April 28, 2023 by the Agrupamento De Escolas Pinheiro E Rosa took place in the facilities of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, in Faro, with several exhibitions and activities.
Various workshops and exhibitions have been organized in the time between 24 and 28 April 2023 in the so called program PELE Percurso Artístico Faro and Bienal Cultura e Educação and culminated with a final conference about how to implement STEAM methodology (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in the classroom.

More than 50 teachers and educators, trainers, cultural educators, workers from municipalities and other public interested in developing partnerships for the implementation of STEAM projects from various schools, cultural institutions, and further private institutions attended the multiplier event conference.
The first part of the event consisted in introducing of the project to the Commissioner for the National Arts Plan and the Director of Live Science Centre of Algarve, which showed a great interest for the project and even for a second part of the project.  After a brief overview on the role of arts and sciences for the educators, the participants discussed the importance of the STEAM approach as a way to deepen the curricular learning.
During the second part of the event, the project "EXPLORE+ Creative Exploration of Curiosity for Innovative Transdisciplinary, STEAM, and Social Learning" displayed the results - intellectual outputs. João Vargues, representing Zer0 Museum, presented the toolkit of activities designed to disseminate the learning outcomes and methods of the EXPLORE+ project. The primary objective of this toolkit is to promote and exchange innovative pedagogical practices that foster curiosity, creativity, STEAM skills, scientific literacy, and critical thinking within the learning process. It aims to equip students and community members with the necessary tools to explore their own capabilities, interests, and the relevance of these skills to the local community.

André Lara, representing AE Pinheiro e Rosa, introduced the EXPLORE+ Curiosity- and Creativity-driven Learning MOOC, the second result of the project The online course is an open source and specifically designed for teachers, youth workers, and pedagogues working with science centers and museums. The course draws upon the knowledge and insights gained from three distinct Learning Activities organized in Germany, Portugal, and Latvia as part of the study visits EXPLORE+ Project. It encompasses practical exercises, guidelines, tutorials, assessment quizzes, learning exercises, and a forum for discussions, all focused on fostering curiosity, creativity, scientific exploration, and STEAM principles.

In the third part of the Multiplier Event, have been presented various STEAM practice examples that were tested and implemented by the classes of Pinheiro e Rosa Secondary School and Zer0 Museum throughout this project.

It is important to mention that the EXPLORE+ project was the catalyst for the establishment of a particular regional collaboration, which aims to facilitate the implementation of the "Resident Artist" initiative in schools located in the Algarve region. The program emphasizes the involvement of artists in educational settings, fostering regular interaction and collaboration between artists and schools. The objective is to integrate artistic processes and practices into the curriculum, promoting a comprehensive artistic experience for students.
The special relevance of the project, is also highlighted by this important aspect, namely the official signing of the Collaboration Protocol between the National Plan for the Arts and the Regional Directorate for Culture. The signing ceremony involved Paulo Pires do Vale, the Commissioner for the National Plan for the Arts, and Adriana Nogueira, the Regional Director for Culture.
Multiplier Event Program:
24th to 28th 2023 April

"Science fair" - Exhibition:
- Scientific Posters - Students ES Pinheiro e Rosa
- Scientific Models - Students ES Pinheiro e Rosa
- "Our skin" - Associating the functions of the skin and its tonality, by 4th year EB Vale de Carneiros
Optical Illusions Illustration 9th grade EB Neves Júnior students
"Whisperers of Stories" (Opening 24th April 18 p.m.)
- Maria Flaminga Theatre

27th April
09:30 4th Student Climate Change Adaptation Conference ES Tomás Cabreira - organized by ES Tomás Cabreira in partnership with the Secondary Schools of Faro, Olhão and Loulé

28th April
Conference: "Application of the STEAM Methodology in the Development of Essential Learning in Portuguese Curricula" and addressed teachers, educators, other educational technicians, students (up 9th grade and Secondary Education), as well as cultural pedagogues, artists and scientists interested in working with schools.
The program of the event:
9:00 Reception of participants
9:30 Opening and welcome by Director of AEPROSA, Francisco Soares, and Regional Director of the Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth, Custódio Moreno
9:45 Panel I - The Contribution of the Arts National Plan and Live Science Clubs in the Development of Essential Learning, from a Transdisciplinary Perspective and the Connection of Science and Art through the Use of STEAM Methodologies (Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)

  • Paulo Pires do Vale, Commissioner for the National Arts Plan
  • Cristina Veiga-Pires, Executive Director of Algarve Living Science Centre

11:15 Panel II - Presentation of the Explore+ Activity Handbook and Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) built under the scope of the Explore+ project: Creative Exploration of Curiosity for Innovative Transdisciplinary, STEAM, and Social Learning

  • André Lara, Coordinator of the Project at AE Pinheiro e Rosa
  • João Vargues, Project Coordinator at Museu Zer0

12:15 Signing of a Collaboration Protocol between the National Arts Plan and the Regional Directorate of Culture

  • Commissioner for the National Arts Plan, Paulo Pires do Vale
  • Regional Culture Director, Adriana Nogueira

12:20 Arts and Sciences practical activities
13:00 End of Conference

As part of the program  PELE Percurso Artístico Faro and  Bienal Cultura e Educação the Arts and Sciences Fair took place during the week of 24-28 April.

Cesis "Teach STEM with Space" workshop Moon rover, December 2022

As part of the EXPLORE+ project, a field trip was organized to a school, to test the applicability of the developed learning materials from the Toolkit in the educational process and to introduce them to teachers who could utilize these materials in their classrooms. The materials have been designed in the field of STEAM, with the theme of "space" serving as an engaging element to generate interest among students in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills in school.

During the field trip, a workshop on space exploration and its most significant discoveries was conducted for approximately 25 5th-grade students. In addition, students had the opportunity to create their own cosmic models using project-based learning methods. And after workshop also school teachers learned about ways to incorporate the developed Toolkit materials into their everyday teaching in school.

Creative project presentation, November 2022

On 21st and 22nd October 2022, the German national agency for international exchange and cooperation in the field of school education invited organisations that are engaged in Erasmus+ projects to Bonn, the former German capital. The two-days-event was conducted in order to do networking among the organisations and their representatives, exchange experiences with the projects and create new ideas.

37 organisations followed the invitation, also solaris FZU from Chemnitz as the lead partner of the Explore+ project. As the project is about rethinking established methods, finding new paths and creative solutions, it was presented by the so-called talking poster: Interested people could tap on the element they want to experience more about - by that action, an audio file started presenting more details about that part of the project. So Harry Potter is not magic any more! This method was developed by the Junge Tüftler gGmbH from Berlin.

The event showed a wide variety of project subjects, ranging from the influence of mathematics on our thinking to the question of how a school building should be designed in order to support the learning process.

Museu Zer0 starts Augmented Reality workshops, October 2022

In October 2022, the Portuguese project partner Museu Zer0 started its workshops in Augmented Reality with the artist Alexandre Piedade, in Pinheiro e Rosa school, in Faro.

These workshops are going to happen in the classes of biology, chemistry and geography in this school, in classes of about 20 students, showing them that through this area of Digital Art is possible to learn in a modern and fun way.


solaris Workshops on plastic, September 2022

Between September 19 and 23, 2022 a great, exciting and fun week of the UNESCO School Camp 2022 took place in Chemnitz.

Among the participants were about 50 national and international students and teachers from Germany (Saxony), Poland and the Czech Republic.  
The program included participation in the opening and closing conferences, as well as various activities around the topic of sustainability and education for sustainable development.

Among various speakers were educators from solaris FZU, which provided the workshop on Wednesday, 21st September 2022, and made of this the highlight of the week.

The workshop run under the motto "Sustainability in everyday life - how to deal with plastics" and was divided into two parts:

1. The first part as a theoretical overview showed that plastics are important and valuable, but once it ends up in the environment could cause great damage to ecosystems and living organisms. The aim of the workshop was to inform the audience in general and the teachers in particular, on how the topic can be addressed in school and in the classroom, emphasizing the necessary practical relevance that must accompany the theoretical approach.
Presentation could be viewed  here.

2. In the second part, the practical pone, different synthetic materials have been explored and experiments have been carried out, in order to observe the physical and chemical properties of the material and the impact on the environment.

Brochure: UNESCO school camp 2022 (German)
Review: UNESCO school camp 2022 (German)


Partner meeting in Faro, June 2022

At the end of June, the partners of the Erasmus+ project Explore+ met in Faro, Portugal, for a meeting directed by the leading partner solaris FZU, in order to overlook and discuss the goals already achieved, and to define the course and tasks for the second half of the project. Intermediate results, such as publications about the project, as well as project´s website were examined, and the next steps discussed accordingly.

An interesting project result emerged, for example, from the Portuguese partner Agrupomento de Escolas Pinheiro e Rosa — inspired by the previous activities of Explore+, a new concept for school curriculum, which creates access to science through art, has been created. In the further course of the project, the main task is the finalization of the structure of a learning material set for teachers, educators, social workers and other people working in the cultural and educational sector. In addition, content creation of an interactive learning course, which will soon be integrated via a corresponding platform, was discussed.

The next meeting in Timisoara, Romania, in 2023 will also be the last face-to-face meeting in the project. Explore+ is to be presented there as part of the cities´ European Capital of Culture program and thus reach a broad audience.


Study Visit Chemnitz, May 2022

In May 2022, all the project participants met up for a study visit in Germany, Chemnitz. The meeting was hosted by project lead partner solaris FZU, and among the guests were project partners from Latvia, Portugal and Romania.

The first project day started at the EU office of the city of Chemnitz, where the visitors learnt a lot about the history of Chemnitz, had a small tour of the town hall, and enjoyed the views from the tower over the city.

The next days were spent at solaris FZU facilities, where the focus was the education of children and young people, and project participants were learning and discussing how to embrace various interests of youth in a way that brings positive impact to the society. The guests could slip into the roles of students and experience the learning process first-hand. For example, in Kosmonautenzentrum "Sigmund Jähn" (Space Centre "Sigmund Jähn") the group could test their abilities to become astronauts, as well as try out teambuilding activities, such as archery. The following day participants visited solaris Jugend- und Umweltwerkstätten  (Educational Centre for Youth and Environment), and did some chemistry experiments, created sensors for determining moisture in soil of potted plants, and handcrafted “solar flowers” that rotate, when exposed to sun. At the Deutsches SPIELEmuseum  (German Games Museum), the project team had a guided tour, where they learned some interesting facts from the history of games and saw some unique exhibits. However, the main activity was a workshop with game developer Ronald Hild, with whom the participants created their own games and learned the basic techniques and mechanisms of game development. On the last day of the visit, the group took part in the “Neighbours´ day” at the Mehrgenerationenhaus Chemnitz  (Multi-generation House of Chemnitz) and helped planting an apple tree in its garden. Afterwards, as the last activity before the end of the stay, participants tried out a monotyping workshop at the Chemnitzer Kunstfabrik (Chemnitz Art Factory), and created their own art pieces.

The next Explore+ meeting will happen in June 2022 in Faro, Portugal, where the next project activities and goals will be discussed, before the final meeting in Romania, in 2023.

Study Visit in Cesis, April 2022

How to make STEM subjects fun and more appealing to the youth? It is a question asked in schools and education centres all over the world. To discuss this topic, and try different kinds of STEM activities themselves, in April 2022 students and educators from Latvia, Germany, Romania and Portugal met in Cesis, Latvia for a study visit within the Erasmus+ project Explore+.

Cesis team had prepared an interesting program for 3 days, which included both study and leasurly activities. The study tasks were mostly space-related, for example, creating infographics about the spaceflight Apollo 11, programming “moon rover” robots, or creating handmade space rockets, that were later on shot in the air with pressurized air. These tasks showed how educators can teach mathematics, physics, programming, informatics, while at the same time teaching about space, and touching up on soft skills like presentation of information as well. After the study tasks, came a well earned leasure time. Participants got to enjoy a medeavel feast and a guided tour around Cesis castle, visited a reconstruction of an 8th – 10th century Araisi lake castle, and also saw the building site of Cesis space educational centre. However, the highlight of the visit might have been the Latvian folk music performance by 2 ladies, dressed in national folk costumes, playing Latvian musical instruments.

Afterwards the guests had the opportunity to try out some traditional dance-games. The next project meeting will be hosted by solaris FZU in Chemnitz, in May 2022.

First Study Visit in Faro, March 2022

From March 7th to 9th, 2022 a study visit took place in Faro, Portugal, which was hosted by the Portuguese project participants, and attended by representatives from Latvia, Romania and Germany.

On the first day of the project, all the participants were involved in a warm-up game, which was a special challenge to find graffiti’s and hidden signs in downtown Faro. The challenge was an interesting way to get acquainted with the city and learn about its history, architecture and sights.After the city game the participants headed to the city hall, where the project “MI.MOMO.FARO” was presented to them. Through this educational project school students reproduce modernist architecture buildings of Faro on the Minecraft Education platform.

After the presentation of the project, the team of the project took a boat and headed to the island of Culatra where they were presented with the project “Culatra 2030”, within the frames of which it is intended to install solar panels in most of the fishermen’s boats and island houses.

During this trip, it became vividly clear, how much places like the former Roman luxury villa Milreu or schools of Faro embody history and culture. For example, the Museu Zero, a former food factory that is currently being transformed into a museum for media art and is intended to become an alternative space for artists and other creative people.

On the last day of the project the participants attended the presentation “Culture is the soul of Europe” by Paulo Pires at one of the local schools and learnt about the connection of culture and democracy in Europe. In the course of the evaluation of the three-day trip, project participants discussed further approaches to making culture visible. These talks will certainly be continued in the other Explore+ project meetings. Therefore, the features/behaviour patterns curiosity, exploration and creativity are focused.

Face-to-face Kick-off Meeting Chemnitz, October 2021

The first face-to-face meeting took place on October 21 and 22, 2021 in Chemnitz, Germany, and was hosted by project leading partner solaris FZU. The partners jointly agreed on how to achieve the project goals. Their aim is to develop and apply learning methods, test STEM educational activities, design a manual (toolkit), an open online course (MOOC), and organize a science fair and an international conference. In order to do this all, knowledge and tools for school and cultural educators from the participating countries are to be developed and tested, and each country is free to implement it nationally.

German partner solaris FZU has extensive experience and opportunities in this area because of its facilities for extracurricular child and youth education. For example, in youth workshops about technology, environment and sustainability, an arts centre and a space education centre. However, in Latvia space research is currently made possible for youngsters, by establishing a Space Center and setting up subject-related further learning stations for children and young people.


Graziela Hennig
solaris Förderzentrum für Jugend und Umwelt gGmbH Sachsen
Neefestraße 88, 09116 Chemnitz
+49 371 - 36 85 856
+49 371 - 36 85 510

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