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Explore plus

Purpose

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

Partners

News

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.

 

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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