Robotics and collaboration – One week in Kõrveküla Põhikool with visitors from Greece and Spain

From the 5th to the 13th of May students and teachers from Proto gymnasio Komotinis located at Komotini, Greece, as well as students and teachers from IES Schamann located in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria visited Kõrveküla Põhikool as part of the Erasmus+ project „Through robotics and collaboration to the successful citizens of the 21st century”. The visitors were hosted by local families.

On the 6th of May we visited Endla Nature Reserve with our guests from Greece, where we used LEGO robots to carry out a series of tests and measurements. The visitors were thrilled by the surroundings – a natural bog with plenty of fallen trees that were the result of our hardworking local beavers. Visitors from Spain arrived in the evening. On the 7th of May we had a tour in our schoolhouse as well as an excursion in Tartu city. Everybody learned new things about our school and home town. The visitors enjoyed it immensely. Students form Kõrveküla Põhikool introduced the usage of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots in classrooms. Students created lesson plans that integrated subject matter with robotics. A demo music lesson was conducted where the usage of programming and note sheets created a beautiful musical piece ‘Juba linnukesed’. The workshop that followed was aimed at creating lesson plans that would include usage of robotics in the classroom setting.

On the 8th of May we visited University of Tartu where we learned more about the study opportunities the university offers. Furthermore, we had a unique opportunity to visit the Internet of Things lab. The lab is made up of smart home and smart office environments. Many thanks to Mattias Jõesaar from the Institute of Computer Science at Tartu University. We also visited Tartu Tamme Gymnasium, where we participated in a workshop that focused on electricity. The workshop was organised and conducted by local students. The workshop captivated our visitors interest.

On the 9th of May, we headed to Tallinn to visit Tallinn University of Technology’s Centre for Biorobotics. The centre focuses on conducting multidisciplinary research on the borderline of biology and engineering including underwater robotics, artificial muscles, self-learning and self-adapting robots. This was an exciting visit. We would like to express our gratitude to Gert Tomingas for introducing us to his colleagues and their work at the centre. After our visit, we took a walk in Tallinn old town which the guests also enjoyed. We also visited Energy Discovery Centre, where we could see lightning with our own eyes as well as try out many interesting exhibits on our own. The evening was concluded by celebrating Europe Day at Freedom Square and listening to a speech by Kersti Kaljulaid who is the fifth and current President of Estonia.

On the 10th of May we attended AHHAA’s Science Theatre show that was both spectacular and educational. We also had a chance to explore the exhibition at Ahhaa Science Centre. All the visitors were satisfied with the experience and expressed their opinion that the exhibit was delightful and the centre offered much to discover. The afternoon was spent building remote controlled cars – because of our groupwork four remote controlled cars were made that we could control with our smartphones. A quick racing event was held that everyone enjoyed immensely. It was a lot of fun!

In the morning of the 11th of May we created a robot theatre. Our groupwork resulted in recreating snippets from famous plays with robots. After the theatrics we visited Lähte Gymnasium’s 3D printing room. We were familiarised with product design processes and our visitors got their own robots printed.  It was so much fun that it was hard to leave. Many thanks to headmaster Üllar Loks, computer science and robotics teacher Toivo Reitalu and physics teacher Erich Virk from Lähte Gymnasium. Afterwards we enjoyed splendid Estonian landscapes from Paalalinna lookout which lifted our guets’ spirits. The evening was concluded with a heartfelt farewell dinner. All the local families who hosted the guests as well as our dear guests were united in this joyful event with plenty of samples from local cuisine accompanied with folk music of this region performed by Väägvere folk music band.

On the12th of May we said our goodbyes to the Greeks. Instead of the airport, we headed back to Endla Nature Reserve with our Spanish guests. There we conducted several experiments with LEGO robots and we completed the hiking trail part of which was rather extreme.

On the 13th of May we bid farewell to our Spanish guests.

The week passed too fast. There were many interesting meetings and learning experiences – we learned many things about other nationalities’ culture and traditions. There were many positive surprises! Both our Greek and Spanish guests were happy to have this wonderful opportunity to visit Estonia and they hope to return soon.

Students from Kõrvekül Põhikool Grete Paat, Marta Roosimaa, Triin Visnapuu, Eleriin Ojakäär, Henri Treier and Reigo Joorits and teachers Juta Laane, Annika Teska and Einar Nõmme.

Our Greek guests at Endla Nature Reserve

Happy hikers

Stopping to carry out experiments at the lookout

Europe Day at Freedum Square in Tallinn

Car race

3D Printing workshop at Lähte Gymnasium

Farewell party at Kõrveküla

Lesson plans:

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