The Green Online LEGO Inspiration from Bulgaria

Author: Bilyana Yordanova

In the 2020 STEM Discovery Campaign, we are presenting our socially significant project, which we called “The Green LEGO School”. We are the PMGKN Little Robotics team at High School of Math and Science “Prof. Emanuil Ivanov” Kyustendil. We met twice a week at school before school closure and now because of COVID-19 we meet in a virtual classroom.

We have a LEGO Mindstorm robot that we use to accomplish our missions. We work as a team, by trials and errors and getting better. Our team member Vanessa:

“Our team is very positive, it has an age group of 5th – 7th grade classes, which makes it even funnier and cooler”.

We get along with each other very well. All of us аrе doing something that we are good at. “Problem-solving and decision-making are important to us to achieve our goal – learning to allocate our time, our roles, to work together. We get guidance from our mentors. We are very pleased when our missions are successful and we come up with interesting things.”

Our activities

Finding and displaying the environmental problem

We are part of Robotics for Bulgaria initiative and they have challenged us this season to solve a particular problem in the area of settlements. How do we imagine the city of the future and what are its problems?

Please find here more photos of our activities.

What problem do we solve and why is it important?

We decided to work on the global waste problem. Nowadays, our understanding of waste comes down to putting them in bags and taking them out on the street for collection. Nobody thinks where they are going next and how much work and effort it takes to process them. Almost everything we throw away can be reused and recycled, and at the same time, it is daunting how much waste people, especially in Western societies, produce.

In New York, landfills are full and waste that has to be removed. Similar is the problem in Jakarta, where there is literally no more space for waste. Since July 2019, sorting and recycling of garbage has become compulsory in Shanghai, while in Tokyo, the largest city in the world, almost everything is recycled. We can learn from this. But also New York is an example of innovative solutions – a million oysters will be used to clean up the dock there.

We will follow the situation in Bulgaria and in particular in our beautiful and green city – Kyustendil.

Guided by the thought, “Think globally, act locally”, our goal is to start a real separate waste collection at our school, strive for zero waste by contacting a company that will collect it and with the money that we will receive, we will buy supplies for our 3D printer, through which we can make pieces for the robot and STEM projects.

Short description of social work to solve the problem

Analysis: We studied the situation at school and in the area, close to our school and our homes. We monitor the amount of waste that is collected at home, at school, on the playgrounds. Only parts of the playgrounds have separate collection containers. There are no such bins inside the school. Also, not everyone knows in which container, what kind of a waste to throw.

We came to the following conclusions: we need places and bins for separate collection, as well as organising a campaign to spread information among our community.

We were eager to partner with Ecopack for their “Recycling School” campaign. We have a desire to visit their educational centre.

What we did?

In the period of 17 February – 16 March 2020:

– We met with Mrs Silvia Petrova, a long-time biology teacher at our school, and discussed waste and separate collection possibilities. She shared good practices with our older classmates in reducing the use of plastic and the use of biodegradable substitutes. We had a lesson with our classmates to explain the labels and how to collect separately. We contacted Mrs Mariana Petkova, Manager of Public Relations and Communications at Ecopack and explained our initiative. We were sent 20 cardboard boxes for separate collection and promotional materials – posters and many interesting books. They will be of great help to us when we return to school after quarantine. We also contacted the mayor of the village of Slovokoshtitsa – Mrs. Venera Ilieva, who told us about how they collect separately in the village and use the collected money for local useful initiatives. We made contact with a company in our city that deals with waste collection. After we return to school, we will meet and discuss with their representatives how to collect waste separately at our school and use the profit from waste for the needs of the school. We are planning a meeting with representatives from Kyustendil Municipality.

And now that the school is closed and we are at home, we have a lot of interesting initiatives to continue our mission. From 16 March to now:

  • We took an online initiative to create presentations on environmental topics and thus celebrated April 22nd – Earth Day. We invited our classmates to do projects and presentations on environmental topics.
  • We created a blog. We uploaded news, interesting facts and students’ projects to the blog.
  • And the most interesting thing is that we made as a team with STEAM initiative – we recorded a song virtually and we made a video of the song “You’re beautiful, my forest”

Future plans: start a real separate waste collection, launch another “Zero Waste” online information campaign, enrich the blog’s resources and translate it into English and Russian.

We believe that through our actions and initiatives, we are forming an ecological culture and an active vital position in relation to the global problems that humanity is facing.

The tagline for this year’s campaign is “Innovative Trends in Education”. The main goal of the STEM Discovery Campaign is to showcase the magnitude of the efforts teachers and other people interested in STEM education make during the academic year while using learning resources and engaging their students in educational activities promoting STEM.

Green Online School – Green City – Green Planet!

Say YES to STEAM, say YES to separate collection!

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