Creya Ignited Minds Challenge, 2013

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Educators, parents and school students are used to a roster of analytical tests such as Olympiads and talent search exams dotting the academic year. On the other end of the spectrum, there are painting and creative contests which provoke the interest of “left-brained” creative children. When a “whole-brained” challenge was announced that encouraged talented children with both, “right-brained” analytical and problem-solving skills and creative skills to participate, it drew the attention of parents, students and schools alike.

Creya Learning’s second edition of the Creya Ignited Minds Challenge (CIMC) was held this year in Bangalore. Teams from 20 different schools across Bangalore city came into the DREAM:IN Center for Day 1 of CIMC 2013. It was “Boot Camp” day, where these teams of six students got trained on design thinking for problem solving and the use of various engineering and digital media tools to build working solutions to the challenge on day 2.

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Sonia Manchanda, Co-founder of DREAM:IN and Nidhi Isaac, Designer, Idiom conducted a Design Thinking session called ‘Design Up’. The idea was to introduce the concept of Design Thinking to the students and to get them to use Design Thinking in a challenge. After a short introduction to Design Thinking, an example of how Richard Turere, a young Kenyan boy, used design thinking to create a device that uses light to scare of lions and other predators, was shown to inspire the young minds. The teams were then asked to design a flying object, keeping in mind that this object would solve some challenge. Once they had finished designing their flying objects, all teams were given kits that had some yarn, paper, balloons, candles, sticks, tape, scissors and some stationery. The teams were then briefed on the challenge – to make a working prototype of the flying object that they had designed. The next hour was filled with excitement as the kids worked together to create an assortment of flying objects. Everything from hot air balloons to gliders were designed. The final part of the challenge was testing out the flying objects. Every team had 2 minutes to explain and demonstrate their creations. Many of the prototypes worked, while some failed, but the key learning here for the children was that failure is the first step towards success. The session ended with a sky lantern being lit and sent up in to the air. At the start of the next day 5 prizes were given to the 5 best performing teams during the challenge. 

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On Day 2, “The Challenge Day”, the participants were shown a video and given their problem statement which was about natural disasters such as the Uttarkhand floods and the Phailin cyclone and asking the student teams to present a “whole brain” solution to mitigate the severity of the impact of the disasters and rescue people caught in them. A tough real-world nut to crack indeed for budding thinkers of 7th and 8th grades! But the young students were not fazed at all, and got to work, applying the principles of the problem solving and design thinking approach that they had learnt over the first day.

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The air was crackling with competitive energy as students wandered around the vast venue drawing inspiration from what their competitors were creating; conferred amongst themselves about their approach and performed research online to understand the different facets of natural disasters. “It was very satisfying to see the positive energy and competitive spirit among the students”, remarked Ms. Rajitha, a Creya Coach. “They took time to understand the problem well and came out with ingenious solutions to the problem statement.”

Judges from Creya and eminent personalities from the city including Mr. Bala Warrior, CEO of Manipal Foundation and Mr. Rishi Vasudev, COO of Arvind Brands walked around, asking questions, guiding students along their Design Thinking journey and gauging the output as well as the approach by students to solve the problem.

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By evening, it was time for student presentations – each team presented their engineering and creative solutions to the issue. The winners of the Creative Thinking Champions trophy were Sri Kumaran’s School, with their short movie that not just touted the features of their engineering creation, but also spread awareness on what societies can do to lessen the impact of disasters.

The Analytical Thinking Champions trophy was shared between two equally competent and worthy teams – Gopalan National School and Vidya Sanskar International School. The Whole Mind Championship went to Sri Vani School whose solution was technically flawless in all aspects – a device that could fly or travel on the ground and drill the ground to rescue people buried under debris.

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The Chief Guest, Mr. Bhat, General Manager of Canara Bank graciously gave the prizes away to the jubiliant winners. He also spoke about the need for developing both analytical skills and artistic skills for facing situations in life and workplace. And so the curtains came down on another edition of the nation’s only “whole brain” championship.

“We look at CIMC as a vehicle to spread awareness of the importance of applying the conceptual knowledge to solving real world problems” said Mr. Venkatesh Datla, Co-Founder and Director of Creya Learning. “Most contests and tests that children participate in only examine a single facet of their abilities, often ignoring the others. But real world problems demand integrated approaches that have both creative and logical facets. The Challenge required students to use their analytical thinking, problem-solving, creative design thinking and innovation skills. The jury thoroughly evaluated the solutions on a wide range of parameters, including ideation, design, construction efficiency, originality, team work and the output to decide the winner.”

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Creya Learning is an innovative education company that focuses on readying children for the real world by training them in design thinking philosophy and equipping them with tools such as 21st Century Skills. Creya’s approach to learning integrates aspects of experiential learning and STEM education.

We, at DREAM:IN look forward to working with Creya on a number of projects in the near future. Stay tuned for updates and news on what will be happening.



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