In May, the Middle School Student Council at the International School of Brussels organized a Hand-a-Thon workshop in a joint venture with eNABLE France. The challenge of the day was for students to assemble twenty 3D prosthetic hands for children in need across Belgium and France. All hands were printed by ISB's Design Studio using a wide array of filaments and codes provided by eNABLE France.
To support this inaugural event, three young recipients with congenital malformations and their families joined in the day. These honorary guests were essential to the incredible momentum and provided an invaluable support to the student builders. Together the children, older and younger, engaged in meaningful discussions and an impromptu soccer game giving an added sense of purpose to the workshop.
During the afternoon, students worked in pairs to assemble a prosthetic hand with a superhero or cartoon colour scheme. In spite of the expected and unexpected obstacles encountered, the teams rose to the challenge and all twenty prosthetic hands were successfully built. The connections made between the builders and the young recipients were priceless and gave these Middle School students a heightened sense of responsibility. The results of this day were not only distributed to those most in need but also directly benefited the children the students had come to know throughout the day. Our special guests, 5 year-old Alexi was fitted with a hand he had previously drawn, and 8 year-old Sacha chose to take home a hand he had helped build during the workshop.
Thanks to eNABLE France, students were able to engage in a worthwhile activity and to positively contribute to a relevant cause. During this real-world experience, the students reinforced their design and problem solving skills and the empathy they felt throughout the process laid the foundation for deeper and more meaningful learning. Through authentic exposures such as the Hand-a-Thon, students can be empowered to make tangible contributions to authentic issues and to develop invaluable life skills.
ISB is preparing students for a world that will require innovative solutions to problems that we have yet to identify. Students will need to know how to devise creative responses to these challenges. The skills of creativity, problem-finding, problem-solving, design thinking, communication and innovation lie at the heart of ISB's learning programme and will be the key to this future.
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