The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is organising the Nordic Nord Start Climate Change Competition in autumn 2021. The competition is part of the programme of Finland’s Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2021. Organised in cooperation with the LUMA Centre Finland’s StarT programme, the competition aims to gather children, young people and adults, from early childhood education and care to higher education, to brainstorm concrete means for the fight against climate change.
The Nord StarT competition aims to showcase what kinds of visions Nordic children, young people and young adults have about climate change mitigation and to present examples of how to curb climate change. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in and a growing concern about climate change. In addition, young people are more socially aware and active than they have been in over two decades, and they want concrete action and solution-oriented climate debate.
It is possible to enter the Nord StarT competition with projects or practices where different age groups and educational levels are working together. Schools, groups, clubs or any other set of children, young people or adults can enter the competition with a good learning practice or project where children and young people show how to fight the climate change. Teachers, instructors and educators play an important role in the creation of teaching practices.
Nord StarT aims to strengthen cooperation and the sense of community among the Nordic countries, to develop sustainable development pedagogics and to promote curriculum-based activities. The competition is designed for all educational levels from early childhood education and care to higher education.
The competition is already underway, and it is possible to enter projects and practices for the competition till 3rd of January 2022. The competition will culminate at the Nordic Conference, and the award ceremony will be held on 9 February 2022. Read more about Nord StarT and how to enter the competition on the competition website.
Would you like to get support for designing your own project-based learning unit in line with current research into science education?Would you like to discuss and share ideas with teachers from other countries?
If you answered yes than this is an opportunity just for you. LUMA Centre Finland, a network of Finnish universities, offers a free online course on project-based learning (PBL) for teachers and educators from early childhood education to upper secondary schools.
The free online course “Project-based learning and the theory behind it – create your own project!” is now open. The course is designed to support the participants in the creation of a project-based unit that is in line with science education research, and you will learn about the essential features of PBL. It takes about 25 hours of work and four to five weeks to complete the course. Sign up to the course by the 8th of November!
The course is a part of the StarT programme. In StarT students learn together by carrying out interdisciplinary projects related to science, technology or mathematics. The programme offers support to teachers implementing PBL in their teaching.
Want to know more? Please click on the links below.
The LUMA Centre Finland invites everyone to take part in the public voting of StarT. Videos of the projects and best practices of StarT 2019-20 have now been released on our Youtube channel. Have a look, get inspired and vote for your favourites!
The StarT programme was launched in 2016 by the LUMA Centre Finland and their collaborators to support the implementation of interdisciplinary project-based learning in accordance to the newest national core curriculum of Finland. StarT is aimed for learning communities ranging from early childhood education to upper secondary schools.
StarT is exceptional as everyone learns together as a learning community by carrying out phenomenon-based and cross-curricular projects. The main goal of StarT is to strengthen the interest of children and youngsters towards mathematics, science and technology. Furthermore, in StarT different learning communities share their best educational practices.
The long-term goal of StarT is to establish the collaborative StarT model into the annual activities of schools and other learning communities. The StarT teams consisting of children and youngsters from kindergartens, schools, extracurricular groups and homes share the joy of learning in the national and international StarT community, which consisted of over 600 learning communities from 40 different countries in 2019-2020.
We have now published videos of the StarT projects and best practices that the learning communities have produced on our Youtube channel. The videos celebrate the joy of learning and share the excitement of students’ discoveries!
The goal of the public voting is to share joy and ideas but also to make it possible for everyone to participate. Everyone can vote simply by giving a like for their favourite project or best practice video on Youtube from 16th of March to 5th of April!
Have a look at the videos, get inspired and vote for your favourite the latest on the 5th of April!
Voting pays off as your likes will be considered when the nominees for the International LUMA StarT Awards 2020 are chosen by the StarT jury. The winners of the public voting will also be awarded with a diploma at the international StarT gala. The international StarT gala is the grand final of StarT every year, and this year it will take place in Espoo on the 4th of June 2020 as a part of the international LUMAT symposium.
The photo of the article: the winners of the national public voting in Finland in the projects category in 2018-19, MERENLAULU (a song of the sea) project by Äänekoski high school. Watch their project video here
The biannual “International Dialogue on STEM Education 2019” conference takes place in Berlin 5.-6.12.2019. This year the conference focuses on the role of science, technology and mathematics in education for sustainable development during early years education. The central goal of the conference is to bring together initiatives and experts to discuss how STEM education can empower children to contribute to creating sustainable societies. The keynote speakers are Professor Dr Ilan Chabay (Head of Strategic Science Initiatives and Programmes and Scientific Project Leader of the GSSF and KLASICA projects at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies) and Dr Ha Vinh Tho (Former Programme Director of the Gross National Happiness Centre Bhutan and Co-Founder of Eurasia Foundation). Read more about the conference here.
The StarT programme organised by LUMA Centre Finland was invited to the conference as an internationally distinguished example of an initiative that empowers children to use STEM in solving issues related to sustainability. The conference sought out exemplary initiatives from different continents and StarT was chosen to represent Europe together with another initiative. In StarT children and youngsters get to create authentic solutions to issues in their own environment, and as such develop the skills and self-efficacy required from them to be able to contribute towards sustainable societies. However, StarT focuses not only on young people but also on teachers, whose exemplary best practices are shared through the programme.
StarT will host a workshop at the conference, and in accordance with the motto of StarT the topic will be “sharing the joy of learning”. As such, the workshop focuses on the special expertise of StarT: different ways to share the best practices of teachers and the project work of children and youngsters. In classrooms all over the world, innovative ideas are constantly emerging from small things. But for these innovations to turn into the foundation for global changes, they will need to be brought out of the classrooms for others to see and discover.
Join in for the next StarT season
You can participate in the international StarT 2019-2020 competition now (participate here). Teachers can participate in the competition by describing the projects they have carried out with children or youngsters, and/or the best educational practice of their learning community until 14.2.2020. The main prize is a trip to Finland. The StarT themes 2019-2020 are:
The internationally awarded StarT competition is organized annually by LUMA Centre Finland, a network of Finnish science and technology universities. Everyone from around the world is welcome to participate in StarT (register here for StarT 2019-20) to get support for carrying out interdisciplinary project-based learning and to share their science, technology and mathematics related best educational practices and students’ projects. However, in a few countries StarT is organized on a national level. These countries are our partner countries and they have a national StarT office that supports the participants locally in their country.In our partner countries the participants register and report their work directly to their national StarT office that organizes the selection of the national best projects and best practices for the international competition.
In StarT 2019-20 our confirmed partner countries are:
Would you like to organize StarT in your country?
So far we have had participants in StarT from over 40 countries. We are always on the lookout for new partners from countries where there is no national StarT office yet, so if you would be interested in organizing StarT activities in your country, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In our partner countries the local StarT office does the practical arrangements and dissemination of StarT. As a result, the participants can have local support in their native language and local StarT events, such as StarT Festivals. We will provide you with the materials that you can translate, and the framework and schedule for the process.
What does a national StarT office do?
Everyone wanting to participate in StarT from our partner countries reports their work and registers to their national StarT office, and a national StarT jury established by the national StarT office decides the best national project teams and best educational practices that will participate in the international StarT competition. Last year the LUMA Centre Finland awarded the winners of the main prizes of the international competition with a trip to Finland to receive their awards at the annual StarT gala.
As a national StarT office you can also organize a national StarT Festival in your country, where teachers and students get to present their projects and best practices with each other. In 2018-19, Estonia, China, Jordan and Turkey organized their own national StarT Festivals. In Finland the local LUMA Centres organized 10 regional StarT festivals in 2018-19. You can read below the comment of the representative of StarT Turkey, Nilgün Erentay, about the Turkish StarT Festival:
“There were many… many students and teachers coming from very far distances by buses with huge parcels, thousands of materials in the early morning of the 27th April, Saturday. There were also parents and public from İstanbul visiting the stands all day long. There were even middle school students coming on their own from far towns in order to set up their stands and make their presentations.
During the certificate ceremony in the afternoon, the hall was so crowded with students and teachers that many people had to stand.We realised 30 workshops, educational presentations and science shows in the classrooms during the festival. There were also many science shows at the stands in the garden. There were 65 project exhibition stands from several schools across Turkey.
We received the thanking letters from teachers afterwards. They point out the fact that the students need such opportunities to expose their efforts.”
The delegation of StarT Jordan handed a certificate of appreciation for the Director of LUMA Centre Finland, Prof. Maija Aksela for the fruitful collaboration between the Jordanian Innovation for Creativity Development Association and LUMA Centre through StarT. Photo from the LUMAT Symposium 2019 in Jyväskylä.
If you got interested, contact us at email@example.com for more information!
The International LUMA StarT Gala took place on the 6th of June 2019. The LUMA Centre Finland awards annually three internationally most distinguished science, technology and mathematics related projects by children and youngsters, and three teachers’ best educational practices at the StarT gala. This year the winners came from China, Jordan, Portugal and Finland. The Director of LUMA Centre Finland, Prof. Maija Aksela and the Chair of the Board of LUMA Centre Finland, Prof. Jan Lundell, handed awards at the gala. Read more about StarT here.
In the winning projects students created e.g. a flash flood alert system, researched the question “When do children feel healthy and happy?” and created a drone from a scratch to enhance its design and function. The winning best educational practices showed how to make use of childrens’ questions through an interdisciplinary approach and how to combine the teaching of statistics, ICT and languages into one project. When assessing the projects, the StarT jury has focused on innovativeness, interdisciplinarity, collaboration and creativity.
The International LUMA StarT Awards were awarded for the third time this year. The internationally awarded StarT programme has been organized by the LUMA Centre Finland, a network of Finnish science, technology and mathematics universities, since 2016. So far we have had participants from over 40 countries. In 2018-19, 900 learning communities, 2300 teachers and 25 600 children and youngsters have participated in the StarT programme. For the competition we received this year 640 projects and 250 best practices from 17 different countries.
“StarT projects are a terrific way to learn skills and abilities of the future world. To plan, to design, to achieve and to evaluate the outcome of a StarT project is a way to learn to tackle global challenges for a better and more prosperous world. It is the StarT of a curious mind needed to create clever solutions.”, Prof. Lundell,the Chair of the Board of LUMA Centre Finlandcommented.
The public’s most voted favourite projects and best practices and the most active country of StarT 2018-19 were also awarded at the StarT gala. In addition, the Finnish National StarT Awards were handed.
Winners of the International LUMA StarT Award 2019
Best projects by students, in alphabetical order:
“Flash Flood Predictor”, students Omar Shishani, Omar Abu Salem and teacher Omar Shaheen. Zarqa University Schools and KG, Jordan
“Health week project”, students Anele Ganusauskaite, Sofija Ganusauskaite, Simas Kudarauskas, Paulius Kvedaras, Izabele Trotaite, Arune Navickaite, Gerda Sezenytre, Saule Kasparaviciute, Dziugas Siautkulis, Jokubas Garlauskas, Elze Bartkeviciute, Liepa Morkunaite, Kostas Korsakovas, Akmeja Tilvikaite and teacher Rasa Jurgeleviciene. Šiaurės Licėjus, Lithuania
“Reinventing the drone”, students Vilhelm Toivonen, Arimo Gustafsson, Niilo Viheriäranta, Aapo Leppänenand teachers Johanna Halme, Jari Latva-Teikari and Kaarina Ojasti. Tampereen lyseon lukio, Finland
Winners of the International LUMA StarT Education Award 2019
Best educational practices by teachers, in alphabetical order:
“The Great Starry Sky”. Minyan Lu, Guifen Qian, Jie Chen, Jinxiang Liu, Xufeng Suna and Naihua Wei. Wanhong Primary School League, China
The LUMA Centre Finland would like to invite schools, kindergartens, extracurricular activity groups and families from all around the world to share the joy of learning with us! In StarT, teachers’ best educational practices and innovative project-work of children and youngsters are shared and celebrated internationally, with awards and publicity. What is more, along the way we offer our participants support for carrying out interdisciplinary project-based learning! Click here to learn more about the support we offer.
In StarT, children and youngsters carry out interdisciplinary projects related to science, technology or mathematics in groups. The international StarT has two categories:
projects by children and youngsters (3-18 y.o.)
best educational practices by teachers (or other instructors/parents)
The topic of the projects can be anything you can think of, as long as the project has a link to science, technology or mathematics. The StarT project themes for the upcoming year have been chosen to support participants in carrying out projects related to technology, mathematics and natural sciences. What is more, the theme “My LUMA” leaves it entirely up to the participants to choose their project topic. In the assessment the StarT jury will consider the equal representation of all themes among the nominees of the main prizes.
Sustainable development (eg. climate change and circular economy)
Mathematics around us (eg. mathematics in art and statistics)
Technology around us (eg. “This works!” a moving device, artificial intelligence and robotics)
My LUMA (topic free of choice)
The StarT projects are reported in the form of short videos and learning diaries at the latest in February 2020 (see the more precise schedule here). Teachers’ best educational practices are also reported as short videos and as written descriptions that serve as a “recipe” for other teachers to implement their best practice.
The project and best practice videos are shared globally through the international public voting on Youtube. The international StarT jury will decide in spring 2020 which projects and best practices will be awarded with the honoured International LUMA StarT Awards (projects) and International LUMA StarT Education Awards (best practices). In 2017, 2018 and 2019 the main prize included a trip to Finland. The grand finale of StarT is annually the International LUMA StarT Gala, where awards are given to the most distinguished teams.
Learning communities participating in StarT are also encouraged to organize StarT Days, which are events where the students and teachers share their work with their local community. StarT Festivalsare bigger events, where the work of young people and teachers is shared and celebrated on a regional or national level.
The primary objective of StarT is to implement a new, interdisciplinary and collaborative StarT way of working and thinking to schools, based on research and in accordance to the newest core curriculum of Finland. The StarT process is easy to fit in your own plans and tailor suitable for you, and it is aimed for all levels of education from all around the world. In StarT, every child is a star through teamwork – welcome along!
The International LUMA StarT Award nominees have been chosen ‒ get inspired by the top-quality science, technology and mathematics projects and educational practices from all around the world!
The LUMA Centre Finland is proud to share the top ten best educational practices and projects carried out in learning communities across the world in 2018‒2019. The videos of these twenty nominees introduce educational practices worth noting and present inspiring ideas for carrying out interdisciplinary project-based learning in schools and kindergartens. Have a look and let the videos of the top contestants of StarT inspire you!
The International LUMA StarT Awards will be awarded for the third time at the University of Jyväskylä on the 6th of June 2019. In StarT learning communities from all around the world share their interdisciplinary science, technology or mathematics related projects and educational practices with us,and we at StarT share them with the rest of the world. This year, we received altogether 640 projects and 250 best practices from ca 20 countries. The StarT jury has now decided the final 20 contestants continuing to compete for the International LUMA StarT Awards, and the public chosen their two favourites.
The nominees for the International LUMA StarT Awards 2019
The StarT jury has now made their decision on the International LUMA StarT Award nominees out of the projects and best practices that made it to the international public voting. StarT has two award categories: 1) International LUMA StarT Award, which is given for the top three projects by children and youngsters 2) International LUMA StarT Education Award, which is given for the top three best educational practices by teachers. The StarT jury has chosen ten nominees for both of the award categories, and the final winners of the awards will be chosen from the nominees by the honorary StarT jury. The members of the international honorary StarT jury are this year:
Chair: Prof. Maija Aksela, Director of the LUMA Centre Finland
Dr. Jun Wang,Vice Dean of the Faculty of Psychology from Beijing Normal University in China
Dr. Angela James, Senior Lecturer in Science Education from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.
Secretary: Anette Markula, International Project Manager of StarT
As such, the nominee videos are the international top twenty videos reported to StarT 2018-2019, and they convey exemplary science, technology and mathematics related educational practices that take use of an interdisciplinary approach, and promote collaborative learning and active learning in general. By watching the videos everyone can benefit from pedagogical innovations created across the world, and make use of the inspirational ideas and exciting methods for carrying out project-based learning.
“ASPAR T-2”, Niğde Akşemseddin Bilim ve Sanat Merkezi (Talha Talip AÇIKGÖZ, Alperen KAHRAMAN), Turkey
“Caring for pets- intelligent feeding appliance driven by web of things”, Suzhou Jinchang Foreign Language Experimental School (Yilin Wang, Shiwen Min, Yuxuan Lu, Zejun Zhou, Zhaojun Xie, Yuxuan Ou’yang), China
“Flash Flood Predictor”, Zarqa University Schools and KG (Omar Shishani, Omar Abu Salem, Omar Shaheen), Jordan
“From the acorn to the oak”, Rokiskis Senamiestis Progymnasium (Afanasjeva Austeja, Bunevicius Augustas, Saccani Matteo, Sapagova Samanta, Semenas Kajus, Truksnyte Urte, Vasiliauskaite Emilija, Vasiliauskaite Fausta, Vasiliauskaite Kamile, Zavarskyte Karina), Lithuania
Remember: registering as a learning community for the StarT 2019–2020 starts in May!
StarT is organized annually, and we invite all learning communities from daycares to upper secondary schools and extracurricular activity groups to share their best educational practices and projects related to science with us! Registering for the StarT 2019–2020 starts in May, and you can find more information here. Registering does not bind you to anything, but instead you will receive additional support and inspiration for carrying out exciting interdisciplinary project-based learning in your learning community. Welcome along, everyone!
The international public voting of StarT 2019 was ongoing on our Youtube channel from the 18th of March until the 7th of April 2019. During this time everyone could share the videos and give likes for their favourites. Based on the number of likes and times the videos have been viewed, we are proud to announce that the favourites of the public 2019 are…
The project “ASPAR T-2” by Turkish students from Merkez, Turkey! Congratulations to the students Talha Talip AÇIKGÖZ and Alperen KAHRAMAN from Niğde Akşemseddin Bilim ve Sanat Merkezi! Congratulations also to the supervisors of the project, Ertuğrul ÖZAR and Cüneyt AKYOL! Watch their video below:
The best practice “Theatre for science” from GD-GSR (gestion déléguée du groupe scolaire la Résidence) learning community form Benguerir! Congratulations to the implementers, Fouad El Haski, Hachim Mortaqi and Rachid Wahabi! Watch their video below:
The “ASPAR T-2” project was carried out by a group of innovative upper secondary school students from Merkez, Turkey. Students Talha Talip and Alperen wanted to improve the design and functionality of wheelchairs, especially for disabled people without for example fingers or hands. This is how the students describe their project:
“The aim of the project is to provide disabled people who cannot control wheelchairs (with no fingers and arms) with the use of wearable technology to control the wheelchairs without needing help from anyone else. At the same time, we aimed to enable people with disabilities to move without needing others in the face of wheelchairs, door sills, ramps and pavements in public transport. In this context, using the wearable technologies, it is ensured that the wheelchair is controlled with sensors that detect arm movement. While doing all this, the interdisciplinary approach in the fields of software, design, mechatronics, robotics and science has been focused. In the process, ideas were gathered from various experts and non-governmental organizations.”
“ Theatre for science” is a best practice in which students take humankind to court for causing climate change. The events in the courtroom are displayed in the form of a play, and the students have prepared for the play by exploring the “scientific debate on the controversy of global warming and water depletion” and creating arguments based on scientific evidence. Watch their video to learn more about this inspiring way to approach climate change and scientific debate in classrooms! The teachers have also shared a report describing their best practice which you can access here.
Also the rest of the videos gained an admirable number of views and likes, and we at StarT are really happy to see that the public voting is serving its’ purpose: sharing the discoveries and innovations created by both young people and passionate educators around the world! Hopefully the videos have helped you by offering plenty of ideas and inspiration for carrying out project-based learning in your own learning communities! You can still see the rest of the videos on our Youtube channel (click here for teachers’ best practices and here for students’ projects).
Once more, a big thank you for everyone for sharing your great pedagogical innovations and wonderful projects with us and the rest of the world, and for participating in the international public voting!
The winners of the LUMA StarT Awards will be published in the International LUMA StarT Gala 2019
Next step in the StarT 2018–2019 is the announcement of the twenty nominees that continue on to compete for the main prizes of StarT. The StarT jury consisting of several people is now busy making their decision on the nominees, and they’ll consider your votes when making this decision. On the 16th of April 2019, we will announce the 10 best project nominees and 10 best educational practice nominees. From these 20 nominees, the honorary StarT jury will make the final decision as to who will receive the awards of the international StarT 2018–2019.
As such, please note that even though being named as the public’s favourite or a nominee is an incredible achievement and truly something to be proud of, it does not mean that the group has won the grand prize (the International LUMA StarT Award or Education Award). The International LUMA StarT Award will be given to three project teams and the International LUMA StarT Education Award for three best practices, and these six groups are the ones that will be winning the trip to Finland to receive their awards in the International LUMA StarT Gala.
The International LUMA StarT Gala is on the 6th of June 2019 in Jyväskylä, Finland. The gala is free of charge and everyone is welcome to participate in it. Unfortunately, we can only cover the travel costs of the six teams receiving the International LUMA StarT Awards, but everyone can watch the livestream of the gala online. Read more about the gala and find the links to watch it here (the link to the livestream of the gala will be added later). ‘
Also, remember to register as a learning community to the StarT 2019-2020 from May onwards! By registering you will receive additional information and support for carrying out StarT projects in your learning community.
This year the selection of Finnish teachers for the European Science on Stage Festival was carried out through StarT – read more below to get to know the Finnish team!
Science on Stage Festival 2019 will be held from 31 October to 3 November 2019 in Cascais, Portugal. Science on Stage (=SonS) festival is the largest European educational fair for STEM teachers, and the biennual festivals gather together around 450 primary and secondary school teachers from 33 countries. Just like in StarT, also in SonS the idea is that teachers get to share their innovative STEM-related educational practices with other teachers. At the festivals the teachers share their work in a fair, workshops and performances. You can read more about SonS here.
The Finnish Science on Stage jury chose the following best practices in a two-phased assessment process to represent Finland in SonS Festival 2019:
Kalevala goes science, Joutsan yhtenäiskoulu
Kalevala goes science turns the national epic of Finland, Kalevala, into a series of science projects. The teachers thought that literature always plays a secondary role in interdisciplinary projects, and decided to take the national epic of Finland as the starting point of their science-related inquiries. Their approach produced extraordinary research projects as students researched the scientific basis for the mythical stories of Kalevala. Can you really make an instrument out of the jaw of a pike, and would it actually be possible to live inside an animal’s stomach?
Kindergarten Piilometsä participated with a best practice describing their educational approach that focuses on using inquiry-based approaches in which role play and outdoor learning are central. The children get to know about different topics by role play: if space is the topic of the day, they will naturally build a space station out of snow and act as the astronauts there. An important part of the activities in Piilometsä is also taking learning activities outside to the area surrounding the kindergarten.
Young people learning statistics, Keminmaan keskuskoulu
Statistics is everywhere, and it plays a major role in research. It is also a great starting point for an interdisciplinary research project. The teachers at Keminmaan keskuskoulu have worked with their best practice for years and are still excited to see the students’s research projects every year. Their best practice is also easy to carry out in any school, as all the stages of the best practice can be carried out by using Google’s free of cost services. Students create a questionnaire with Forms, do the maths with Sheets, prepare a presentation with Slides and write their report and an article for the local paper with Docs.
Exercise, well-being and measuring course in Teacher Trainer school, University of Jyväskylä Teacher Training School
It is so much more interesting to learn about well-being, human biology and conductivity when you can make measurements from your own body! Keeping this thought in mind, the teachers at the Jyväskylä Teacher Training School created this interdisciplinary course for their upper secondary school students. During the course students measure things from their own bodies with modern sensor technology and their phones, and use the data to learn more about the studied phenomena.
The video of Exercise, well-being and measuring course in Teacher Trainer school is not available as the best practice did not proceed to the selection of the StarT nominees 2019.
The Finnish SonS jury
The Finnish SonS jury consisted of the following people:
Prof. Maija Aksela, Director of the LUMA Centre Finland
Outi Haatainen, PhD Candidate, National StarT Project Manager, LUMA Centre Finland
Irma Hannula, PhD, member of the Finnish national SonS Committee
Teijo Koljonen, Counsellor of Education, Finnish National Board of Education, member of the Finnish national SonS Committee
Anette Markula, International StarT Project Manager, LUMA Centre Finland
Kalle Vähä-Heikkilä, teacher at the Lauttakylä upper secondary school, Finnish SonS representative 2017
Congratulations for the winners and thank you to everyone who participated in the selection from Finland by sharing their best educational practice with us in English!
Photo credits: Young people learning statistics
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