STEAM EDUCATION IN THE ACADEMY
In MPESA Foundation Academy, there has been a big effort to incorporating lessons and activities that use STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In STEAM workshops, students engage in activities that combine different elements of learning, they experience guided inquiry in which they must ask thoughtful questions, discover answers, apply what they learn and problem-solve creatively.
For example, when students are learning how to make a wire sculpture that lights up must ask questions about how it works, try out different wiring techniques to get the sculpture to light up, think about the meaning behind their artistic creation, learn new terms and experience the creative process, going from a design on paper to a tangible and functional object.
Exposing students to problem-solving skills has really shown a prove of curiosity and creativity amongst our students. STEAM projects give all students a chance to engage in hands-on, experiential learning. Students are often using different materials and tools in order to discover how something works, how to build it and how to fix it. This makes learning a playing field so that all students acquire these crucial skills in a fun way.
Our hands are the principal instrument for the physical manipulation of things, also being the part of the body with most of the nerve endings because of the tactile information they give.
The main use of the hands is to take and hold objects, although exists a lot of derivations due to the versatility and precision of movements they have. Being used as tools to eat, write, communicate through sign language, etc.
In our country, there are few studies on the epidemiology of occupational accidents, among them is a compilation by national occupational safety and health (OSH) profile of the Ministry of Labour which shows that within a year, there are 6023 accidents of which 249 cases are fatal where one out of 13 casualties may undergo amputation.
Apart from accidents, there are diseases that lead to loose of limbs i.e. acute diabetes, infections, and tumors. Records from a local hospital also show that more prevalent causes of limb amputation are trauma (35.7%), congenital defects (20%), infection (14.3%) and tumors (12.8%). According to the American Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from the 2 million Americans disabled workers each year, about 400000 have hand injuries, being the most frequent location fingers (72%).
The hand injuries have an important relevance because they are an exceptional anatomic region with high value, due to be used in almost all the professions or occupations. Any level of amputation leads to a degree of disability that may limit the human to perform basic activities like feeding and grooming permanently.
The aim of our project was to create a prototype of an orthopedic hand which is low cost and effective. Using the new technology of open-source programmable boards and artificial intelligence. The arm will work by detecting voice commands and signals from the muscle which is detected using a muscle sensor, Myosensor. During the development, we worked as a team to gather information and applied individual skill sets. Collaboration and responsibility was the key to our success.
This project has raised sensational attention and has been presented in the National Kenya Science and Engineering Fair. The picture above shows a functional complete prototype designed in our STEAM innovation workshop.
TEAM: Washington Were, Justin Muturi , Amos Okoth ,Peter Ndung’u
WRITER: Amos Okoth.
APP TECHNOLOGY IN STEAM
Application technology has the power to accomplish many things and transforming the world is one of them.
The STEAM app development workshops prepare us for future careers that involve the design, development, and implementation of computer software. We also learn the applications of different operating systems, computer programming languages, and web technologies. Through this workshop, we build skill sets that make us competitive candidates for related career field experiences and possible own creations.
During app technology workshops, we research on problems facing our communities and solve them using the skills acquired from the workshops. Currently, my team, Justin Moturi, and Washington Were we have developed applications to help the motorist in congested cities to find the best routes.
We recently completed a blood transfusion application for iOS and Android that creates a community blood buddies willing to help out during emergencies.
Quinter Gor, form 2, and her team developed Depression 254, an android application to assist people suffering from depression by sensitizing on depression and anxiety and also educates on ways to manage the stigma. Stanley Koigi, form 3, worked around curbing drug abuse in our communities by prototyping an application to educate on the effects of drug abuse.
Writer: Abdirisac Sharmake
MITIGATING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IN STEAM
HE COVIDBYTES APP
The world has experienced several epidemics posing a serious threat to global public health. These infectious viral diseases include the 2002 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic that claimed 800 lives out of about 8000 cases, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic with 18 500 deaths, the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) epidemic that claimed almost the same deaths as SARS, the 2014 Ebola outbreak with 28 616 cases globally.
Currently, the world is facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which was first reported towards the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China. This respiratory disease has now infected more than 2.3 million people across the world bringing total deaths to more than 160,000 . World Health Organization reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had spread to more than 114 countries before it was officially declared as a pandemic on the 11th March 2020. This coronavirus was first reported in Africa on 14th February 2020 and the emerging infectious diseases continue to infect and reduce human populations. Scientific experts on infection diseases rolled out measures on how to curb the spread of this disease one of them was on general hygiene and social distance.
On 16th February 2020, my team and I came together and discussed how we could come up with measures to mitigate the spread of the disease and we agreed on developing an app called Covidbytes. Covidbytes is a cross-platform app tailored in the academy to provide users with knowledge on coronavirus and how to fight it. The app provides all prerequisite information on how to maintain required hygiene, self-tests, statistics, reporting of suspicion to closest health facilities and general public sensitization.
At MPESA Foundation Academy, STEAM education incorporates innovative learning where we get the chance to learn app development. My team and I collaboratively problem- solved and prototyped the application using various platforms such as MIT app inventor and Thunkable. We started by designing the user interface and gathered the infectious disease information from trusted sources such as WHO and John Hopkins University.
The app lets users sign in and go through the COVID-19 general information and preventive measure in an intuitive way. Users can also do a quick self-check such as symptoms and previous contact history. The app also provides a way to report any suspicion to the nearest health and quarantine centers.
Finally, we tested our application over various platforms and devices including iOS, android and web platforms. We presented the app in the Science and Engineering Fair and really caught attention. We look forward to a Coronavirus free world.
TEAM: Beatrice Wesonga, Zacharia Mogambi.
WRITER: Beatrice Wesonga
HARDWARE DEVELOPMENT IN STEAM
MAJISAFI SAFETY WATER TAP
It is known that about 71% of earth is covered with water where 95.5% is the oceanic water mass, however only 2.5% of it is clean water. According to the United Nations worlds demographic statistics shows that approximately 7.8 billion people living on the earth as of March 2020. The numbers are proven to rise everyday. Water is life, and as the population rises there is an enormous demand where-else people lose life and property due to lack of clean water. With the rise in population, industrial pollution and climate change, human being and other living things fight for survival. This projection shows that by the year 2030 we will experience perennial water shortages and there is a need for us to stop wastage of water using all possible means.
Water is one of the most vital natural resources for all life on Earth. The availability 0f clean water always have played an important part in determining not only where people can live, but also their quality of life. The common uses of water includes agriculture, drinking , cooking and most importantly hygienic purpose. At MPESA Foundation Academy, our research showed that each students use at least 5 litres of water everyday where else staff member use approximately 2-3 litres per day. Other uses includes use of water in the firm , irrigation and general cleaning. At MPESA Academy we use tapped water.
However the use of manual taps leads to lose of water due to mechanical fault or human negligence. Water can be dispensed in excess or not well closed. It might not appear big at the first time, but if your tap dripped a drop of water once every second it would take only about five hours for you to waste about 4 litres of water, that is enough water for an average human to survive for two days.
So what can be done to stop this? As always the answer, for this, lies with improvement in technology. In the Academy, STEAM education engages us in problem solving by applying our sciences and technological concepts. We collaboratively came up with a solution by designing smart taps to replace the traditional manual taps. This will not only save water but also have a healthier lifestyle since we don’t have to operate the tap with our dirty hands.
During this time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, one of the measures includes hand hygiene. This is one of the key benefits of the Majisafi sensor taps. Tap users are not required to touch the tap with their hands at any point during the hand-washing operation. This means the Majisafi taps will completely stop infections due to cross contamination.
The Concept behind the Majisafi automated tap is very simple. We used an ultrasonic sensor which detect the presence of human within a stipulates range, in our case we set the parameter to 1 meter.
When the ultrasonic detects presence of a tap user, it sends a signal to an Arduino microcontroller which then opens a direct current valve that dispenses the water.. The device is cheap, can easily be maintained and installed
For the device to work, we also had to code the microcontroller using C++ computer programming language which is part of our learning activities in prototyping workshops. After a few trial and errors our prototype worked perfectly and received credits in the Engineering Fair.
PROJECT TEAM: Mike Junior, Jacob Malonza,Tony Ochieng
WRITER : Tony Ochieng