The winners of the international awards of StarT 2018: Jordan, Turkey, Portugal and Finland received awards in the International LUMA StarT Gala 2018

The International LUMA StarT Gala was held on Tuesday June the 5th 2018. Internationally most distinguished science, technology and mathematics projects by young people, and the best educational practices by educators related to the same topics are awarded annually in the StarT gala. This year, the winning teams come from Portugal, Jordan, Turkey and Finland. Congratulations to all the winners! The Director General of the Finnish National Agency for Education, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen, handed the awards. 

The winning projects have provided ideas on how mining accidents could be prevented by programming a safe helmet, and on how students can educate each other on climate change through their own club. One of the winning projects showed how kindergarten children can actively learn about life in Stone Age by creating their own informative and interdisciplinary project. The winning best educational practices showed how to make true real-life connections in secondary school mathematics, how kindergarten children can be real researchers and gave an example of creating a culture of scientific and technological learning in a country. In their evaluation criteria, the StarT jury has focused on innovativeness, interdisciplinarity, collaboration and creativitySee the winning projects and best practices here.

The International LUMA StarT Awards were awarded for the second time this year. The StarT gala is organized annually by LUMA Centre Finland, a network of all Finnish science and technology universities with a common goal of promoting science, mathematics and technology education on all grade levels. In 2017-2018, 500 project teams and 100 best educational practices from 20 different countries have participated in the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland.

“The key to success is curiosity, creativity and collaboration. They are needed to conquer the wicked problems of our times. The participants of the Start projects have demonstrated all these characteristics and skills which will benefit them in all areas of life in the future.” Director General for the Finnish National Board of Education, Mr. Olli-Pekka Heinonen

Find the winners below!

International LUMA StarT Award (best projects by students) 

Click the name of the team to watch their video, comments of the StarT jury below.

Baret_Care”, students Halil Ataberk Bakırcı, Ahmet Efe Bakırcı and others, Turkey

“These students developed a smart helmet, that improves the security and quality of life of workers in special conditions, namely, it can be used to measure gas, temperature and humidity in the environment, to alert the worker when the measured values may threaten their health, to determine the geographical location, to send the location to the server of tracking system, to call a predetermined number in an emergency.”

“This is an excellent example of problem-based design thinking and inter-disciplinarity. The approach and product are very innovative and there is evidence of student ownership of the problem, process and solution. The product works well, and the video can be a motivation for students in other schools.”            

“Very well Limited Project with the clear aim. Working product in the end.”

Project diary by the students

EcoChange”, Agrupamento de escolas de Alcanena, students Bárbara Correia, Catarina Naia, Guilherme Santos, José Coutinho and Maria Farinha, Portugal

“Students predicted a number of small steps, involving local community – aiming to a big change in improving the local environment.”  

“The objective of this project was to raise awareness about climate change and the importance of saving energy. Its hard to concretely measure the results of such project, but many inventive methods were used and the youths enthusiasm and their own ideas for advancing the project were present throughout the process. A lot of co-operation was done with groups of children. The exercise on thinking about different characters usage of energy deserves special credit; it was a great idea and definitely interesting and engaging for the children. The learning diary and video were both well-composed and compact and they gave a good impression of what the process was like.”

“Project shows participants enthusiasm and great interest. “Eco club” and providing educational activities for range of learning communities shows desire to spread knowledge and devotion.  Participants are very active and project is more than school or start project its still ongoing, Project diary is visual and video shows variety of activities included in the project.”                                 

“Student-based activation in school and community.”

Project diary by the students

Jump into the life at the Stone Age: Winter” (Hyppy kivikauden elämään: talvi), Day Care Center Piilometsä, Finland

“A very innovative way to approach learning about the nature and environment at the kindergarten level through prehistoric times.”   

“truly integrated project, and kids involved, inspiring”

“Very interesting approach to the history. Activating children to explore Stone Age.”

Project diary by the students


International LUMA StarT Education Award (best educational practices of instructors and teachers)

Innovation for Creativity Development Association, Suraaya Ayyad, Jordan

“Broad science fair programme for kids and youth”                   

“Excellent idea to create a culture of scientific and technological learning, research, and innovation amongst children and youth in primary and secondary level. Also I applaude the idea to support the childrens’ and youths capacities of scientific inquiry, and problem solving skills to accomplish unique and original scientific projects which inspire them to become innovative scientists in future.”                     

“Nationwide development project. This is also very important sign for youngsters, that also we as a adults appreciate even small students’ steps in science and make possible for them to have  a stage, where to show fruits of explorations.”

MEF Middle School, Simge Sohtorik, Turkey

An excellent example of the integration of school mathematics and community and social responsibility. The project is entrepreneurial and easily replicated by schools around the world. The students appeared to find the project a motivational, creative and educational way to learn mathematics.“                                                                                                                                

“Mathematics is integrated into real life in an innovative way. The students first have a chance to be creative when making their products related to the mathematical theory, and because they still sell the products they’ve produced at a fair, the calculations of cost and benefit become very realistic for the students. It’s also great that the benefits will be given to charity. This educational practice forms a great whole that engages all the students to actually take use of what they have learnt and to bring it into real life in a long-lasting process with clear aims.”

“The project integrates mathematics, arts and crafts nicely as a project that contains knowledge of mathematics useful for all citizens of society. The project seems to have also some other societal aims.”

“The practice is very innovative i.e. many different aspects of the golden ratio were used. It was truly interdisciplinary combining several school subjects. Involving charity work was a good bonus.”                                                 

“Real life mathematics used to learn social and economic skills – and serving community.”

Preschool group Puuhiset Satulaiva, Kirsi Rehunen, Finland

“Enthusiasm, excellent idea, a network of collaboration (professors, parents, library), involvement on various subject-areas”                    

“Excellent example, how storytelling, fairytales can be used in pre-primary education. This is also showing how the boundaries of different subjects can be faded out very natural way.”                     

“This best practice has wonderfully managed to bring scientific ways of working to a kindergarten through a common theme of a story. The group has made use of parents, real scientists, science fairs, field work, and conducted a lot of different scientific experiments that base on the children’s questions. The children are put in the place of the experts in an innovative way, as they’re encouraged to invent new things and even share their knowledge to help another kindergarten group with their work. The scientific working practices and the impressive and diverse activities that this group has done clearly make it one of the nominees.”

“The project introduces innovative and child-centered way to introduce technology education and an important discussion about the image of scientists for pre-schoolers. This kind of discussions can have a positive effect on children’s interest on science.”

The public’s favourites  (read more here) and the most active countries were also awarded at the StarT Gala. In addition, the Finnish National Awards were handed. The programme for the StarT gala can be found here:

Public’s favourite project:

Waste Busters” with their project “Lemna grinder”, students Zeynep Sude Çetin, Bora Özkan, Zeynep Eyüpoğlu, Berfin Elçin, Kerim Berber, Umay Eskialp, Melike Damla Özdemir, Aslıhan Eşkin, Gizem İdil Tunçbilek and Bilgesu Gökçenur. Turkey.

Public’s favourite best practice:

StarT Day in S.O.S. Project Schools” S.O.S. Project Schools, Turkey.  

The most active countries

The most active countries out of the 20 countries participating in the StarT were Turkey and Estonia. Turkey has registered the most StarT projects, and Estonia has organized a national StarT Science Festival.  Congratulations to all the teams from Turkey and Estonia! 

Additional information

  • The composition of the StarT jury 2018 can be found here.
  • Pictures of the awarded teams for the media can be found here.
  • Best of StarT 2018 here (including nominees)
  • Photos from the gala can be found here
  • Watch the gala here
  • Read more about LUMA Centre Finland here:
  • Contact us at

StarT 2018–2019: registration is open!

We want to thank everyone who participated in the gala and StarT 2017–2018, and we are already eagerly looking forward to seeing what kind of StarT projects you create next school year! 

Register as a learning community for StarT 2018–2019 here (registration open until the end of October 2018. Reporting of the projects of children and youth, and the best educational practices of  teachers and instructors starts in November (tbc) and must be done by February 2019. Reporting the work does not require registration but by registering as a learning community you get additional support from us)

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