YACHANA STEM

 

Day 1

Travel day from Quito to Yachana by bus
– Introduction of facilities and assignment of rooms
– Short hike to see the great Kapok Tree
– Dinner

 

Day 2: Science Day

– Science Park
Hike in the Rainforest to provide students with a basic idea of the magnitude of the tropical forest (3 – 4 hours).
Description: The Yachana Foundation has 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of rainforest. 80% of this is primary forest, meaning it has never been altered by man. All the students will go into the forest with our knowledgeable bilingual guides to learn about the marvels of this ecosystem. Ecuador has some of the highest biodiversity of anywhere on earth and our reserve is part of that.

Introduce three different inventions that students will be able to build together in groups (1 hour).
RAM Water Pump; corn sheller; and Bicycle powered Corn Grinder
Introduce the concept of these inventions first by only providing the name of the machine, then have students imagine (EDP) what the invention is. What prior knowledge do they already have to help them determine what the invention is? How do they imagine the invention is built?
Next, show them the actual working inventions to see what they look like in operation. Have students then ask (EDP) themselves why would these inventions be needed in the local communities? How do they help a farm family?
Students are then assigned an invention they want to build (2 hours)
Engineering Design Process step: Ask and Imagine. Review all of the component parts of a machine; learn the names of the parts.
They will begin planning, know what each part is, how it works and then (EDP) how these diverse pieces will be put together to make their invention.
Each day they will have time to work with their groups in actually building their invention.

Sustainable Agriculture (2 hours)
See free-range chicken and egg production, aquaponic vegetable project, banana circles and the many other agricultural projects.
Description: students will be involved in all of the aspects of farming on the Foundation land. These include raising chickens, gathering eggs, collecting produce from our greenhouses, cutting down a banana tree for a stalk of bananas, pulling up yuca roots to eat, plus much more.

Day 3: Technology and Mathematics Day

– Analysis: launching from the Science Park field trip to begin discussing technology and how it applies in this rural, remote rainforest region.
Discussion Questions
Can be used throughout the day
1) From what you learned at the Science Park, what technology is useful in this environment?
2) What advantages do the local students have over the visiting students from another part of the world?
3) How would you compare technologies in Ecuador to technologies from your home country?

– Students visit a local technology being used (3-4 hours):
Village banks and Microfinance and how these help the farm families.
Talk to the villagers and visit one of their projects financed by their microfinance loan program.
– Groups will be provided with time to begin putting together their invention (2-3 hours).
Engineering Design Process step: Create

Day 4: Engineering Day

– Begin at Foundation Training Center (3-4 hours)
Visiting students discuss with students in the community about life in the rainforest and educational challenges. These local students do not speak English, so an opportunity to practice Spanish.
Discuss with the local students inventions already in use at Yachana and how these can impact their lives.
Show the Chicken Plucker machine and a video on how it works.
– Groups will be provided with time to continue putting together their invention (2-3 hours)
Engineering Design Process: Create

Day 5: Half Day Activities

– Activity 1: Yachana Lost Foods and cooking class (2 hours)
Description: they will learn about the value of consuming natural, organic food and can help prepare these foods in our kitchen
– Activity 2: Local traditional healer (2 hours)
Connection to pharmacies in the United States. “Today rainforest plants account for the raw materials needed to make a quarter of Western pharmaceuticals, more than 120 different drugs (community.lovenature.com).”
Description: all students will have the opportunity to visit a traditional indigenous healer. This custom is still a vital part of the local culture and many continue to use this method to cure many aliments. Students will be able to participate in a cleansing ceremony using tobacco smoke and leaves. They will also learn and sample the local drink called chicha made from yuca.
– Each of these activities is a half day, so one half of the group can do one or the other and then switch.
– The other half of the day the groups are provided with time to finish putting together their invention and testing it (2-3 hours)
Engineering Design Process: Test and Improve

Day 6: Presentation Day

Beginning of the Day
– Present to other students their inventions; explain the various parts and how the invention works.
Questions for Students to Address:
1) Would this improve the standard of living for the local farms?
2) What is its environmental impact?
3) Is their invention applicable back home? Why or why not?

– Then go see the machines in operation.
– Students will take pictures with their picked invention in use to share with others.
o Engineering Design Process: Share
End of the Day
– Star Gazing
o Students are guided to an observation spot to see the constellations.
o Prior to the program, students will download a free app onto phone called Star Chart (see picture).
o When they open the app, there will be a loading page and Star Chart introduction video (after a couple of seconds, you will be allowed to click to pass the video).
o The app will ask for you to set your current location. Click “Update from GPS” and then click “Okay”.
o Once students are in the spot to see the constellations, they will then hold their phones up to the stars for an even clearer picture of the constellations they are looking at.
o The app provides an augmented reality where we the phone moves, it will pick up what constellations and stars the students are looking at.
o When clicking onto a constellation or planet, students will be able to read features on that particular celestial. See the vocabulary below.
ASTRONOMY VOCABULARY
Spectral Class Used to classify stars
Absolute Magnitude Determines how bright a star really is
Apparent Magnitude Measures how bright a star is
Azimuth Direction of a celestial object from true north (0֯ )
RA Right Ascension: east and west directions used in the sky, equivalent to longitude directions on Earth. Measures in hours, minutes, seconds
DEC Declination: north and south directions used in the sky, equivalent to latitude direction on Earth. Measures in degrees, arcminutes, arcseconds

Discussion Questions
*To help your guide create an academic discussion, if needed

1) What is the value or importance of constellations?
(Teacher: Constellations create a map in the sky. Farmers have used constellations to know when to plant and harvest crops. Navigators and explorers used constellations to determine their location).
2) What might happen if there is too much light in an area?
(Teacher: When thinking of the night sky at home, do you see an abundance of constellations? How would you describe the night sky at home compared to here? With outdoor lightning, it is creating light pollution (a source of air pollution) and is responsible for the disappearance of constellations in star gazing observation spots. Light pollution is also affected our sleep cycle and the cycles of nocturnal creatures.
http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/faq-what-is-lp.php

3) How can we fight against light pollution?
(Teacher: Be aware of what lights are on and turn them off when not needed, use motion sensors for outdoor lighting, use efficient outdoor CFLS and LED floodlight, and use low-glare fixtures.

Other discussion points:
-History of constellations and their connection to Mythology
-Why you will see different constellations during the year

Day 7 back to Quito

– Travel by road to reach flight to Quito
– Flight is mid-day. So they can coordinate when their departure flight to the States is. They may need to stay the night in Quito and fly out the next morning from Quito

NGSS:
Topics covered: Earth’s Systems; Engineering Design; From Molecules to Organisms: Structure and Processes; Earth and Human Activity; Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics; Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity; Physics and Chemistry.