Since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, Joan Miró School wanted to contribute to the health system. We detected that Hospitals and medical centers needed protective masks/face shields to prevent contagion, so we started 3D printing them using our school’s 3D printer. We faced logistics problems as our schools (and all the others in the country) were closed due to the crisis. However, volunteer teachers undertook to do printing at home. Working continuously, we managed to produce more than 20 masks a day.
See video of the process of making the masks.
After giving these masks to our nearest hospital, we discovered that other hospitals, primary health care centers, pharmacies, and nursing homes, needed protective masks as well. They contacted us to request more masks and thus we decided to expand our endeavor, recruiting more people and equipment to increase production. See photos of nurses at the hospital and pharmacy employees.
We also contacted the Canovelles City Council to request a room to store the masks and to disinfect them with Ozone. For their part, the City Council has been very supportive, giving us a room and even extra materials to use to make our masks.
In this room, we have stored both the masks and the material used to make them (plastic, rubber, silicone, and acetate) and everything is disinfected with Ozone. We run a pickup service where health workers from local hospitals and care centers can come to collect masks as they need them. The room is overseen by two volunteers, both ex-pupils of our school, who manage the disinfection and collection of the masks. See photos of them:
Our endeavor has grown so much that the members of ‘Coronavirus Makers’ contacted us to ask us to increase our efforts.
We are currently still 3D printing masks as well as ear savers, to help avoid the pain suffered behind the ears when wearing a mask. See in the picture the ear savers
At the same time as we were developing our mask production, we contacted all our students by telephone to assess their home situation due to the coronavirus crisis and to ascertain their access to computers and connectivity. As we imagined, most of them do not have devices such as computers or tablets, relying only on mobiles. Therefore, we have created a website, where we design activities that can be done using only a mobile device. Every day, students (from 3 to 12 years old) have access to activities of different subjects to carry out at home. Among them, we have included a STEAM section. Every week we propose science challenges that only call for basic everyday elements, such as water, eggs, and candles so that all our students are able to carry them out.
The challenges are demonstrated via a short video, which we make each week and the students are invited to send us the hypotheses about what they think will happen. We encourage them to do the experiment for themselves and send us photos of it afterwards. The following week, we post another video with the results of the experiment and a scientific explanation of what happened.
Some of the pupils have been so excited by the STEAM proposals that they themselves have recorded their own videos creating their own scientific challenges. They have even simulated a small laboratory and recorded their challenges dressed up with gloves, and protective glasses. See one video here (content in Spanish).
A final year student from the University of Barcelona has also asked to participate in our scheme and currently works with the teachers to generate STEAM proposals.
Though we are living in difficult times education must continue and we must find creative solutions to help our pupils move on and our community to continue strong and healthy!
Author: Laura Sánchez Llanos
Laura Sánchez is a primary teacher and has been at the Joan Miró school for many years. The school is a STEM Ambassador and has recently achieved the STEM School Label Proficient. Laura coordinates STEM activities at the school and establishes the link with the STEM School Label program.