Universidade da Coruña
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LEARN PHYSICS AND HAVE FUN

This project has been carried out since the 2015/2016 academic year with first-year students of the Degree in Engineering in Industrial Design and Product Development of the University of A Coruña.

In the project, students prepare workshops on Physics and Responsible Consumption aimed at people with functional disabilities or at risk of social exclusion. We work with 7 different entities, the objectives of the service being different in each case.

  • Cáritas Diocesana de Mondoñedo Ferrol entity, the workshop is aimed at homeless people who are given training to search for work and also to minors at risk of social exclusion in whom a taste for science and critical thinkingt is encouraged.
  • Teima Down Ferrol entity the workshop is aimed at people with Down syndrome. The objective in this case is to promote social relationships with people outside the center and train them in physics for daily life and responsible consumption.
    Videos on Physics and recycling were prepared with the Ferrol deaf association. These videos were requested by the entity to use them in the training of its users.
  • Eume y Ortegal mental health entity, in this case the workshop was directed to people with schizophrenia. These people studied for a higher degree before acquiring the disease, so the idea of a science fair motivates them and distances them from the occupational workshops in which they usually work. In addition, social relations with people outside the center are favored.
  • Alzheimer Ferrolterra entity memory and psychomotor skills were worked through the realization of workshops on the reuse of plastic materials.
  • ASPANAES, which is attended by minors with autism spectrum syndrome, in this case we worked on communication with people outside the center through experiments in physics, engineering, recycling and reuse.
  • ASPANEPS association that cares for people with psychosocial problems, a scientific fair on physics and recycling was held, but focused above all on training in plastic materials, since the entity wanted to open a new line of work on this subject.

During the experiences, surveys and reflections of the students are collected and the evaluation is carried out through a rubric.

From the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the evidence, it can be observed that after the experience the students acquired the competencies of the subject such as learning to prepare a project in all its phases and present it in public. But also other personal ones like learning by teaching or learning from those who are different and finally procedural like solving problems autonomously.
The students involved with people with disabilities or special needs also developed other personal skills such as empathy and solidarity, as well as greater creativity when adapting the materials.

In addition, the students were able to work on the SDGs in a real environment, becoming aware of the needs of society and understanding their role as agents of change and the importance of applying concepts such as universal design, eco-design and sustainability in their future as professionals.

Country: Spain

Year: 2020-2021

Institution: UNIVERSIDADE DA CORUÑA

Person in charge: ANA ISABEL ARES PERNAS

Email: ana.ares@udc.es

# of students: 71

Interaction with beneficiaries: Mixed

Academic Degree: Undergraduate

Discipline(s): Physics | Engineering and technology | Plastics

Community Service Area & ODS: Reducing inequalities | Quality education | Responsible consumption and production