[RRI Good Practice] The Venus (Venera)

What is the good practice about?

NGO Bozon has taken 26 high school students to participate in the STEAM project. The project was executed through workshops on software development, popular scientific texts writing, recycling, art, music, acting and astronomy from September to December 2022. It included two public lectures and a theatrical performance. Workshops were held in the Catholic School Center, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Dom Omladine (an institution for youth activities). This project was implemented to increase the interest and accomplishment of students on entrance exams in faculties of natural sciences and engineering and submitting to low-demand occupations, causing youth to flee the country.

Why is this initiative needed?

The organisers identified various problems:

  • Lack of interest in science that leads to bad accomplishment on final exams and on examinations on engineering and science faculties. This then leads to a problem where the majority of students avoid certain science fields and then can’t find appropriate jobs, while the labour market is still looking for engineers.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina was involved in PISA testing in 2018. Out of 79 participating countries, Bosnia was in 62nd place. After that we spent two years in a pandemic where health issues, technical incompetence and various other reasons to not attend school from home only made things worse for students that already were not good at science.

The organisers thus decided to combine the incompatible, such as fine art and LED lighting programming, or astronomy and acting. Through art, they packaged science and presented it to students. And they like it and even want a lot more science, as was shown through their comments in questionnaires.

What are the main objectives?

The global goal for the project was to train all young people from the area of the city of Banja Luka completely free of charge in the fields of STEAM (S - science, T - technology, E - engineering, A - art, M - Math). The specific goals were:

  • All participants can contribute to environmental care through correct waste recycling
  • All participants will be introduced with light-emitting diodes and their efficiency compared to other light sources, how to connect and control them in a circuit using embedded system programming
  • All participants can learn to create and express their role in a theatre play, design the play, costumes, scene, music and a screenplay
  • All participants can learn to correctly form and present their work and research, hold public speeches, solve problems in a teamwork and conflicts
  • All participants can pass a general astronomy course, use references and literature to select important information and deduce a conclusion and develop critical thinking
  • To film the theatre play and make it replayable when needed

Overall, the results were:

  • Increased interest in STEAM as an occupation or a hobby (as demonstrated by a questionnaire and discussion with students about their interests)
  • Increased ecological awareness (the students have participated and will continue to participate in waste classification because the organisers have placed appropriate containers for waste classification in schools and the most responsible will be rewarded in January. The focus is on paper and plastic (plastic bags, bottles, packaging containers, etc.)
  • Improved text-writing skills and critical and creative thinking (most of the texts have been published on the project web-site, organisers will continue with the publications)
  • Learned embedded system programming skills (students created software whose purpose is to change the colours of LEDs easily)
  • Expressing and developing ideas, managing teamwork which can be seen through performance (students recorded the whole performance and made images of the whole process of working on this project)

What are the main activities?

The project implemented the following activities:

  • “The Embedded System Programming workshops” (14 workshops, technical support was provided at the premiere and software was created, even two texts were written in that area and published) where the students worked on programming the LED lighting (LED strips), connecting them to the circuit, placing them on the stage, then creating software that allows the light to change in accordance with the change in the frequency of the sound in the desired colour. Also, one of the tasks was to place the LED strips on the pictures. A “Physics workshop” as support to “The Embedded System Programming workshops” provided explanation how diodes work, what is p - n connection, explanation about connection between colour and temperature, colour and voltage, etc.One student who likes fine arts drew a work diary (the link is in the link section) and drew pictures of Venus and the Earth, and LED strips were placed on those pictures (the picture can be seen on the link from BOZONA's Instagram page).
  • “The Astronomy workshop” where the participants got acquainted with the origin of the Solar system, with the planet Venus, its characteristics, the Oort cloud, the Kuiper belt, asteroids and comets, concepts such as nebulae, supernovae, etc. Additionally, two public lectures were held: Cosmic Environment and Climate on Earth and Universe in Brief.
  • “Soft Skills workshop” which was connected with astronomy, fine art, music, theatre, etc. The participants were trained to write popular scientific texts. Most of the texts have been published, other texts will be published in the following period. In the classes, the topics were agreed upon and then in the following classes, comment on the texts were provided, explaining how they should be, what to exclude, what to focus on, etc. The students also worked on public speeches, etc.
  • “Waste Recycling workshop” where participants learned about waste recycling, its importance, advantages, etc. Two public lectures were held. A comparison was made with Japan. Cooperation with local companies for paper and plastic recycling was achieved. Bins were placed in three schools and containers were already in two. Participants are motivated by the prize to participate in the collection of waste classification. Also, the bins have already been emptied once at the Catholic School Center in Banja Luka. Awards for the most valuable diplomas will be awarded.
  • The Performance. All knowledge about Venus (astronomy), music, visual arts, writing texts, then programming components was used for the technical support of the show. The participants worked on learning how to express themselves and behave, how to prepare for their role, they worked on developing a script, etc. The premiere was held on 14th December 2022. The performance was filmed (filmed and edited by the participant), and one participant photographed the entire project with a camera. Two students decided to be part of a music band and they composed, especially a girl, she composed two songs and wrote texts. She played the keyboard and he played the guitar. They worked as part of the theatre.

Through all the activities, the participants were trained to understand what kind of future awaits us if we continue to destroy the planet, i.e. if we continue to pollute it. The organisers and mentors also pointed out the quality of the air in Banja Luka and the fact that without science there is no survival, and all of this is shown in the play even in a slightly humorous and ironic way. The participants also worked on the development of critical thinking, on teamwork and individual work where they depend on each other, they worked on empathy, understanding scientific terminology, respect for diversity and its advantages, the importance of renewable sources, environmentally friendly materials, etc.

Who is involved?

The project included a project coordinator and an assistant project coordinator, the students, their schools and seven mentors.

Can this good practice be replicated?

The desire for zero waste can also be spread through lectures/instructions like a virus, but a good virus. The play can be performed and played. Considering the work diary, links to texts and lectures, everything can be repeated even online, although live is always better. The software can be used and displayed and also the workshops can be conducted individually.

Further links:

Relevant RRI keys: Ethics (in R&I), Public Engagement (for R&I), Science Education, Open Access, Open Science, Open Data

Type of practice: Dedicated plan, strategy document (e.g. Gender Equality Plan, Open Access Strategy, etc.), Promotional activities/events/campaigns, Publications/promotional material, Strategic & action planning, Good governance, Organisation of info days, workshop, seminars, etc., Organisation of training, webinars, Peer learning/mentoring, software development, raising awareness about material recycling, connection between science and art, work on science communication, promoting science between youth

Target groups: youth (children, pupils), students (up to Master level), the general public, person on the street

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by POLICY ANSWERS Project support on January 11, 2023
Modified on January 11, 2023