Nanaimo Christian School student Mesha Loots, 12, crafted shelter students could use if they were stranded because of an earthquake. The exercise was part of the Global Day of Design last Friday when students thought of the problems they could face with an earthquake and found solutions. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/NEWS BULLETIN

Students put problem-solving skills to the test

Nanaimo Christian Schools take part in Global Day of Design

Nanaimo Christian School student Nathan Faganello dashes for safety as he drops sodium into a vial of vinegar.

A flame pops out of blue-colored liquid before it explodes with a bang.

It’s the sound of success.

Faganello and his group at the school experimented with flare communication during the Global Day of Design last Friday, when students were challenged to think of problems and solutions if ‘the big one’ stranded them at school.

It’s the second-time Nanaimo Christian School has taken part in the Global Day of Design, which aims to inspire students to create, make and build, the event’s website shows. This year the school went bigger, expanding from an event done by a single course to all students from grades 6 to 12.

Students had two hours to come up with a solution to a problem, either around preparing for an earthquake or reacting to one. Some looked to create art therapy to keep children occupied after a quake, while others worked on a lever system to pull debris out of the way, shelter and an adjustable brace.

Teacher Alex Toews, who introduced the event at the school, said part of what the world needs in the future are people who can think and problem solve.

“Problem solving is one of the most sought-after 21st-century skill sets for employers,” he said. “We are throwing a problem at them and they have the freedom to be creative and try to tackle any problem they can think [of].”

Josh Patience, teacher, said staff could have done a scenario like life on Mars.

“This is like well, the earthquake is going to happen, how can we kind of work towards a problem that’s real and relevant?” he asked.

Faganello, 16, said his group originally wanted to do something with a radio but didn’t have the right pieces, so they looked at doing a signal flare. A teacher helped them experiment with different sizes of sodium in vinegar and he thinks his group found its solution.

“I didn’t know how I felt about it at first, but being in it I think it’s a really cool experience,” he said about the Global Day of Design. “Being in grades in our classes we’re kind of segregated a little bit, but I think it helps bring us all together.”

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