The current school year will bring some changes to the StarT-programme. Due to lesser resources, the StarT-competition will not be organized during this school year 2022-2023. This also means that neither the StarT Gala nor public voting will be organized.
We however encourage you to continue carrying out project-based learning in schools and elsewhere. For help and ideas, you may turn to our material bank as well as our guidelines for organizing a successful StarT day within your learning community.
For support on the project-based teaching at a national level, you can also contact the local representatives of StarT partner countries.
For European STEM-teachers, we are organizing the Science on Stage festival 2024 in Turku, Finland. The application process for the festival takes place during 2023. If you are interested in presenting your teaching practice in the festival, please contact your national Science on Stage steering committee for further information.
The LUMA Centre Finland network awarded the best science and technology projects for children, and young people and teaching practices for learning communities on Monday 13th of June at the International StarT Gala.
The International LUMA Start Awards were presented for the sixth time this year. This year, we finally had the opportunity to gather together after a two-year brake at the Aalto University. It was also possible to watch the gala as a virtual live broadcast. In the gala, the International LUMA Start Award 2022 was presented to the three best natural sciences, math or technology related projects done by children and young people around the world. The International LUMA Start Education Award2022 was presented to three learning communities for best educational practice in relation to the implementation of interdisciplinary, research-based and phenom-based teaching. Winners were awarded in addition to prizes a trip to Finland.
The StarT honorary jury consisting of Prof. Maija Aksela (University of Helsinki, Finland; Head of LUMA Centre Finland), DistinguishedProf.Joseph Krajcik (Michigan State University, USA; Director, CREATE for STEM Institute), and Prof. Marina Milner-Bolotin (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CA; Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy Graduate Advisory Committee) found the choice incredibly challenging due to the high level of practices and projects. The winning projects took off from real questions and thoughts of children and young people. The projects included cooperation both within their own learning community and also with outsiders. The videos and learning diaries of the projects were first-rate and carefully done.
The International LUMA Start Education Awards went to:
The creators of these practices, Korean teachers for STEAM education, Elina Viro, Niina Pahkamäki, Juuso Linnusmäki, Omar Basem Moeen Shaheen, Tamara Ibrahim Suliman Abu Sowaid, Hiba Ehlal Mohammad Bani Domi and Marah Jehad Abdal Razak Alsife had demonstrated interdisciplinary and innovative work in their practices. The StarT honorary jury described the practices as pragmatic, inventive and versatile. The jury valued interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and the active inclusion of children and young people in the winning practices.
The public’s favourites were also rewarded in the gala. Public’s favourites were Disaster Search and Rescue UAV Project – the Servator by Vinschool Education System from Vietnam and Learning based on crisis and disaster management skills by Elementary School Bani Aouf from Tunisia.You can read more about the public’s favourites from our earlier post.
In the 2021-2022 season a total of 847 project work and 750 educational practices took part in StarT. The joy of learning was shared by 1, 486 learning communities, 6, 912 teachers and 325, 126 children and young people. This season has reached it’s end but luckily the new season starts right away! Let’s StarT again and remember that learning is sharing!
Have you noticed that LUMA Centre Finland is offering you a free online course about project-based learning? The course starts on 1st of November 2021 and it takes 4-5 weeks (c. 25 h of work) to complete. You can sign up to the course the latest on 7th of November.
During the course, the participants will design an interdisciplinary project-based unit that is in line with science education research. You can also participate in the course with a ready project idea and use the course to shape it. The researchers from the University of Helsinki will provide you information about good quality project-based learning and the theory of integrated and inquiry based learning.
The course consists of different topics such as Inquiry and scientific practices in project-based learning and Collaboration in project-based learning. The new topics are introduced weekly including learning materials. Weekly exercises support the designing of the project-based unit.
The course is an excellent kick-start for planning project-based courses and multidisciplinary modules and it offers concrete ideas and support. It also makes it easier to participate in StarT!
Would you like to know more? You can find the course’s information page and the online form for signing in here.
StarT is a programme organised by LUMA Centre Finland centered on interdisciplinary and phenomenon-based projects, best educational practices and the joy of learning together.
Everyone can participate in StarT: schools, kindergartens, hobby groups, families, experts, organizations, students and businesses. You can find something for everyone in StarT’s diverse activities. Learn more about the possibilities of StarT here.
The Start Gala was held in June 2020 as a virtual one. In the gala well earned awards were handed out to the most successful project teams and teachers. You can watch the gala here.
StarT’s international community offers support and ideas including a material bank full of fantastic projects and practices from previous seasons and online training led by experts at the university to support the implementation of project learning… And then our flagship, an international competition, to which you can participate.
You can participate in the international StarT competition by describing the projects and/or the best practices of your learning community through our online form. The online form will be open for reporting your StarT projects and/or best practices until the 14th of February 2021.
We are also looking for partners to strengthen the StarT community in different countries. As a partner, you represent your own country in international StarT. Interested? You can learn more about the topic here.
The International LUMA StarT Gala took place on the 4th of June 2020. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the gala was held as a live broadcast. 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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland and Finland. Read more about StarThere.
The International LUMA StarT Awards were awarded for the fourth time this year. Theinternationally 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 2019-2020, over 850 learning communities, 4000 teachers and 41 700 children and youngsters have participated in the StarT programme. For the competition we received this year over 580 projects and 300 best practices from 27 different countries.
Indeed, a very interesting and inspiring task; if every task in our working life was this inspiring
Dr. Erik Fooladi, member of the Honorary StarT jury
In the winning projects students created e.g. a solar-powered charging station for electric cars and raised awareness in their hometown about the local pollution problem. The winning best educational practices showed how cooperation between kindergarten and University of Applied Sciences can benefit both sides. When assessing the projects and best practices, the StarT jury has focused on innovativeness, interdisciplinarity, collaboration and creativity.
I am so blown away by the extensive, exciting and relevant work that the learners are engaged with. Oh my, I really loved working with this…. What a beautiful, learning experience…. It just shows what our children can do, given the opportunity.
Dr. Angela James, member of the Honorary StarT jury
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 2019‒2020. 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!
You could see the effort teachers had put in to the projects and to the best practices. It was also amazing to see the innovations by students that were emerged from everyday life.
A Memember of StarT jury
The best projects and best educational practices will be awarded
The International LUMA StarT Awards will be awarded for the fourth time at StarT Gala on 4th of June. Gala will be organized online this year.
There are 10 nominees in each group:
1. Projects by student teams
2. Best educational practices by learning communities
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 over 600 learning communities shared their projects and practices from ca 40 countries. The StarT jury has now decided the final 20 contestants continuing to compete for the International LUMA StarT Awards.
We got to see amazing and well executed projects and best practices. There were a lot of amazing projects and practices that would have deserved to get among the nominees. Therefore the task was not easy to the StarT jury.
Due to the high quality of the projects and practices. The jury wanted to give recognition also to these projects and best practices. First time in StarT history we want to give Offical recognition of exellence to projects and practices. These earn the visibility and this honorable mention.
“SnakeBot”, Tampereen lyseon lukio, Finland
“Keyzy”, Shaping Your Future (IMR & I-Form), Ireland
“Machine Learning to Detect Forest Fires”, FISTA, Finland
“Low Energy House”, Primarschule Atelier Zwillikon, Switzerland
“Safety improvement of amusement device in Yi Haicheng-”protective shield” of the swing”, Project-based learning group of “Xing Si” School, China
LEARNING THROUGH COLLABORATIVE STORYTELLING VIOLET, THE STORY OF A BUTTERFLY, “an ambassador of sustainability”, Colegoi Valsassina, Portugal
“Yksilöllinen mobiilioppiminen”, Paraistenseudun koulu, Finland
“Interactive means and information technology in the service of inclusive education”, Riad, Morocco
Remember: registering as a learning community for the StarT 2020–2021 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 2020–2021 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!
We have published 92 videos of StarT projects by students and best educational practices by teachers on our YouTube channel. From these videos the public has had a opportunity to vote for their favorite. We hope that these projects and practices have inspired you and given you new ideas how to implement projects based learning to your classroom.
In StarT 2019-2020 there are over 600 learning communities from over 40 countries from all around the world. In the public voting we had 53 projects and 39 practices. All the projects and practices that made it through the preselection to the public voting should be more than proud of themselves!
The international public voting has ended! Public voting of StarT 2019-2020 was ongoing on our YouTube channel from the 16th of March until the 5th of April 2020. During this time everyone could watch the videos and give likes for their favorites. Based on the number of likes and times the videos have been viewed, we are proud to announce that the favorites of the public 2019-2020!
Public voting is serving its’ purpose: sharing the discoveries and innovations created by both young people and passionate educators around the world!
The favorite projects of the public 2019-2020:
The project Improvement of Collection and Processing of Polymeric Wastes in Cities from Ukraine! On the video you will meet Igor who is an ninth grader. He introduces a device for the compression of polymeric waste. Watch the video of project that has been watched 5000 times on YouTube and has over 2100 likes!
Based on the votes (likes) relative to the number of viewers, we are proud to announce another favorite of the public from Jordan! The project A robot that mimics the teacher’s function also known as PIP.01. In 9 months and after 13 failures the students have created a robot that recognizes more than 60 voice commands, not to mention the exploring mode or voice recognition feature. Impressive! Watch the PIP.01 project video below.
The favorite practice of the public 2019-2020:
Public voted also for the best educational practice. Public voted for Chess is a Magic Game from Ukraine! Who would have guessed that there are so many ways to use the classic game chess! This practice is truly magical. Watch the video below.
Congratulations for the favorites of the public!
Also the rest of the videos gained an admirable number of views and likes! 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.
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!
Also, remember to register as a learning community to the StarT 2020-2021 from May onwards!
You and your students can participate in the international StarT by describing students’ projects and/or the best practice of your learning community. Participate now for a chance to get awards and visibility for your and your students’ innovations! There is already 900 teachers and 400 learning communities from 40 different countries registered in StarT 2019-2020.
StarT is a programme that offers support for educators in implementing interdisciplinary and collaborative learning. Project-based learning is a great way to let your students explore interesting phenomena and get exciting real-life experiences of science, technology and mathematics.
1. Projects by children and youngsters StarT projects are made by student teams (3-19 y.o.). StarT projects give teams of children and youngsters a chance to show their expertise, and to make use of their own interests and creativity. To participate we will ask you to share with us a short video describing the project and a concise learning diary.
2. Best educational practices by learning communities A teacher (or a parent or other educator) can participate in StarT by themselves or together with their colleagues also by describing a best educational practice. A best practice is an educational practice or a model that the learning community has tried and found useful in implementing interdisciplinary and project-based learning or their StarT projects. The best practices should have a link to science, technology or mathematics.
By reporting your work you will participate in the selection of the winners of the main prizes of StarT
The winners of the main prizes International LUMA StarT Award 2020(three project teams)International LUMA StarT Education Award 2020(three best practices) will win a trip to Finland to receive their awards at the StarT Gala!
All learning communities that report a project or best practice will receive a diploma of participation.
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:
Teachers from all around Europe travelled to Portugal last week to share their best educational practices with their European colleagues at the Science on Stage festival 2019. The teachers participating from Finland were chosen through the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. One of the Finnish teacher teams placed among the top best practices of Europe at the festival: the best educational practice “Kalevala goes science” by Johanna Eskelinen and Päivi Mustalampi received the jury’s “highly commended” honorable mention.
450 European teachers gathered together at the Science on Stage festival 2019 between 31st of October and 3rd of November. Teachers presented over 200 best educational practices related to science, technology and mathematics. From all these 200 best practices the Finnish “Kalevala goes science” ranked among the best in Europe. The best practice was awarded with the “highly commended” honorable mention by the festival jury. Receiving the honorable mention is an impressive achievement, as the festival featured only teachers who had qualified through a selection organised in their country. In Finland, the selection of festival participants was made through StarT during the season of 2018-2019.
This year the festival was held in Cascais, Portugal, and teachers from 36 countries took part in it. Teijo Koljonen, Counsellor of Education from the Finnish National Agency for Education visited the festival and summarized its nature well:
”Science on Stage 2019 festival provides a variety of inspiring ideas for science projects, the demonstration of different phenomena and collaboration between different subjects for students of all ages. The event also gives teachers the opportunity to make new contacts and plan collaboration with teachers from different countries. I am glad that Finland participated at the festival with great projects again this year!”
Teijo Koljonen, Finnish National Agency for Education
Mother tongue teachers joined to represent Finland at the science festival – interdisciplinarity was at the core of Finnish best educational practices
The best educational practices of the Finnish representatives provided excellent models for the implementation of interdisciplinary teaching. For example, the inquiries carried out in “Kalevala goes science” started off from the Finnish national epic “Kalevala”, the myths of which were broken by the pupils by using science. The audience was amused by the unique research questions such as “Can lingonberries get you pregnant”, and the presentation inspired other teachers to consider collaboration between teachers of mother tongue or literature and science.
“Our project can serve as an opening for collaboration between science teachers and humanists. Many teachers came to tell us afterwards that collaboration between such different subjects has seemed like a difficult task, but that now they have an idea of where to start. We got good feedback for how easily our best practice can be adapted to different countries, and it sounded like it was easy for everyone to come up with a similar literary piece to start working with. ”
Johanna Eskelinen, Mother Tongue and Literature Teacher, Joutsa secondary school
“A tremendously inspiring event! So many like-minded people and new ideas. This festival is full of ideas, from which everyone can develop projects in their own style. It was also great to meet new international colleagues.”
Early childhood education was represented in the best educational practices of Finnish teachers, too. In the best practice of kindergarten Piilometsä called “Play a role and learn”, children play in different roles whilst carrying out inquiries in the surroundings of the kindergarten.
Finland was represented also by Kirsti Koski, Hannu Moilanen and Tom Nevanpää from the teacher training of school of the University of Jyväskylä. In their best practice called “Exercise, Well-Being and Measuring Course in Teacher Training School”, high school students explored conductivity, heart rate variability, breathing and acceleration by taking self-measurements. Check out the course here.
Networking with European colleagues
“Networking plays a very important role at these festivals. The personal contacts created at the festivals are crucial, as they enable international collaboration between teachers. ”
Irma Hannula, Science on Stage Finland
The main purpose of the festival was to bring teachers together to share their good ideas and to create new things together. Finnish representatives were able to network with their European counterparts at the festivals, and much interest was shown towards their best practices.
Teacher collaboration is promoted in SonS also with a category called “Joint Projects”, where teachers from different countries can collaborate on joint projects. One of the Finnish representatives, Kalle Vähä-Heikkilä, was chosen to the festival through this selection. At the festival, Kalle presented a good teaching practice called “Physical properties of snow” in collaboration with his project partner, Iveta Štefancínová from Slovakia.
For more information about Science on Stage Finland contact Anette Markula, firstname.lastname@example.org
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