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Students of grade 6 and 7 from five competing schools had participated to create a Nepali Superhuman in the Design Challenge.

Introduction: Why Design Challenge?

  • Platform for engaging students in thinking, creating and applying new ideas and concepts  
  • Letting students think of ideas and create a collaborative environment for them to work in
  • Making and designing prototypes relating to a certain topic or idea
  • Creating real life scenarios for students to come up with creative, critical approaches
  • Moulding students to develop a critical, creative and collaborative perspective
  • Implanting and developing concepts of 4C’s (creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication) in young minds

Design Challenge: Nepali Superhuman – The Initiation

To assess the real life values in students regarding the present scenario of Nepal, this Design Challenge was conducted. The primary goal of this was to see what the students thought about the various problems and their solutions through a creative and critical approach. For this, a  collaboration between Nisarga Batika School and Karkhana was initiated to facilitate a Design Challenge titled: Nepali Superhuman.

As an experiential learning school, Nisarga Batika has been offering an environment for every student, as an individual, to find new ways to learn and develop self-motivated ideas and beliefs for real life issues and challenges. The primary objective of the school is to nurture skills and values that students can carry with them for the rest of their lives. And, as Karkhana also prioritizes in developing 21st century skills (4Cs) in the young minds, by providing them an environment to foster their curiosity and enthusiasm, this idea of collaboration between the two parties was indeed a good one.

 

The concept of the Design Challenge was put forward by the school administration and the idea of this collaboration was born. After an elaborate meeting between the school and Karkhana and thorough planning among the team members, four concepts for the Design Challenge were brought up- (Paper Airplane, Rethinking Bhaktapur, Egg-tangle, Nepali Superhuman). The school finalized Nepali Superhuman as the final topic for the Design Challenge and sent out invitations to schools to bring out competing teams. In the final Design Challenge, students from NCCS, Nisarga Batika, Rajashri Gurukul, Sanskriti International School and Triyog High School had participated.

 

Design Challenge: Nepali Superhuman – The Day

On Sunday, August 20th the Design Challenge initiated at 9:00 AM with the basic introduction of the challenge and Karkhana understandings. After the materials were distributed among the participating teams, a concept of Wildcard Materials was also introduced to the teams so they could add a unique element to their Superhuman. The challenge was a completely hands-on activity as a team member from each team could become a Superhuman.

During the Challenge, the students came up with Superhumans to tackle the ongoing problems in Nepal such as: water pollution, corruption, animal trafficking, natural calamities (such as: flood, earthquakes) among others. As the Design Challenge was not just about letting kids design their own fictional characters, but also to let them brainstorm about the current issues and circumstances in the country. Along with creating their own Superhumans, the teams were also instructed to come up with an interesting back story and also try to create an aesthetically beautiful design for their Superhuman with maximum team effort. Now, let us see some of the Nepali Superhuman ideas brought up by the participating students.

The NCCS team came up with their Superhuman: Elec Wiz, who could generate electricity. The team members: Jenish Khakurel, Anugraha Mahat and Unish Karki came up with a really innovative idea with an interesting back story of a normal guy who once fell into an eel aquarium at a young age.

Similarly, there were two teams from Nisarga Batika School, comprising: Avigya Subedi, Dipanker Awale, Shashwot Karmacharya (Team A) and Rijesh Thapa, Avaya Gurung, Ishan Yadav (Team B). These two teams came up with two Superhumans: Jungle King and Gravity Girl. The Jungle King was a scientist who had powers to turn things into animals. He used this transformative power of his to protect and save endangered species. The Gravity Girl from Team B had lost her parents to an earthquake at an early age. Growing up she got the chance to visit Japan where she got her out-of-the-world power to manipulate gravity and hence the name: “Gravity Girl”.

Samip Dahal, Nikita Ojha and Shreedhar Agrawal from the Rajarshi Gurukul team came up with the idea of the “Shadow Hunter”, a Superhuman who fought corruption using his extraordinary mind reading prowess. In a country like ours, where we face corrupt people in the alleys of Ason and also in the cabins of offices, having a Superhuman like the Shadow Hunter suddenly seems like a good idea now, doesn’t it?  

To add more to the list of interesting Superhumans, we had Ayush Balami Nakarmi, Marcus Bir Yonzon and Avanisha Shrestha from Sanskriti International School, teaming up to come up with the idea of the: “Fantastic Woman”. This Superhuman fought against pollution by killing bacteria and viruses. Aided with many gadgets and ammunitions, she could easily absorb and fight the pollution.

Team Triyog, with Aayush Koirala, Prajwal Basel and Samrat Pant, created the “Waterman”, who had an exceptionally creative origin story. A man working in the Australian Sea Beach (a fantasy place created by the team), was once eaten by a shark and his heart got fused with that of a baby shark which caused the man’s heart to pump water not blood. The team had equipped their hero with a drill, a shield and also a mask. The hero could not only drill out water and purify water but also had a mask to keep himself protected from all the pollution so that he could keep the water within him safe for use.

Seeing the students work so well among each other and come up with ideas this interesting was a really eye-opening and thoroughly enjoyable for all of us present there. Though all of the teams were winners for us and every student present there was a Superhuman, let us see who were the category winners of the Nepali Superhuman Design Challenge:

 

  • The Most Innovative Design: Jenish Khakurel, Anugraha Mahat and Unish Karki from Team NCCS
  • The Best Origin Story:  Aayush Koirala, Prajwal Basel and Samrat Pant from Team Triyog
  • The Best Teamwork: Rijesh Thapa, Avaya Gurung and Ishan Yadav from Team Nisarga (Team B)
  • The Most Aesthetically Pleasing Design: Ayush Balami Nakarmi, Marcus Bir Yonzon and Avanisha Shrestha from Team Sanskriti

 

The main highlight of the day was the team effort and creative concepts that each one of the students there had presented. To see the young generation this concerned about the current problematic scenario in Nepal was also very commendable. At the end of the day, listening to their stories and watching the way their eyes light up while they presented their idea was a magical feeling.

Each child of today is superhuman for tomorrow. All that s/he needs is an opportunity, a chance, to grow.

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