Innovation Hub Promotes Innovation in School
The British School of Bucharest Innovation Hub is unique to our school and provides students with real-life experiences. It promotes innovation in school by bringing together Design and Technology, Mathematics, Physics and other disciplines from classroom learning into a practical, hands-on course. Established in 2016, the Innovation Hub has now evolved to offer both a beginner’s alternative for new pupils and an advanced course for older members.
To enhance innovation in school for students, we also teach several high-caliber extra-curricular courses in the Innovation Hub, as part of the After-school Club Programme. As an example, our popular course Project Zephyr gives students a fantastic opportunity to strive to produce the best electric vehicle from scratch, embodying the spirit of both teamwork and competition. Utilising more professional-grade tools available in the Innovation Hub at school, students craft in metal, plastic, wood, fabrics and many more, learning to use any material that suit their needs using lathes, mills, CNC routers and conventional hand tools.
‘How hard can it be?’”
There is no instruction manual or clear-cut guidebook to follow – instead, the path to success is created by the students themselves. Each group is free to put into practice any design it pleases, which limits the project only to the materials, the pre-provided components (such as brakes, wheels, motors and batteries) and safety considerations. Other than that, the only requirement is that the car looks like a car and works like a car.
Part of the objective is to produce a car chassis, body and drivetrain. The body of the car is manufactured using clay sculpting techniques as well as composite technology (fibreglass and carbon fibre) and various other industry methods. With a final product in place, the teams move on to testing and racing their cars. All the time, teams are encouraged to make improvements, adding whatever they deem worthy to their initial design. Once a team completes their car, the best one is hoisted into the Innovation Hub showroom on the roof of the building being displayed for the next academic year. All other cars are recycled almost completely and reused for the next group of students.
This year, we have purchased additional products to upgrade Project Zephyr allowing students a more exciting driving experience while maintaining the same high standard of safety.
Meet the Innovation Team
Tudor Atanasiu, Founder of the Innovation Hub
“Being curious (and mischievous) as a kid meant it was only natural that I gravitated away from what I was supposed to be doing towards extra-curricular activities involving the sciences. This eventually led to studying Mechanical Engineering at Southampton University. During this time, I figured out two things: awesome capacitor research tends to be expensive and, secondly, the most amazing way to learn engineering is to actually do it yourself. After graduating, I really wanted to give students considering an engineering application a practical sense of what they would learn. What came to mind was the Innovation Hub and I was glad to be given the opportunity to pilot this at BSB. It’s been an incredible journey ever since and I’m really proud of all the students who’ve taken part so far”.
Catalin Dobre, Innovation Hub Research & Development Specialist
“At the British School of Bucharest, I started in the Creative Faculty Department team as a Design and Technology technician in 2014. In recent years, the school decided to establish a new department with the sole focus on invention and innovation in school – it is here that the Innovation Hub is situated. The Design Technology Department and the Innovation Hub at school both allow staff and students to work with new ideas and cutting-edge technology, and all testing is integrated in the practical part of the teaching process. For me, this is my dream job: having the opportunity to work with students in a dynamic environment, where ideas are exchanged and debated, and where the goal is to innovate and move forward. Before BSB, I graduated with a Civil Topography degree and I worked as a prototype mould designer for the Romanian State Mint”.
Daniel Constantinescu, Innovation Hub Research & Development Specialist
“I joined the BSB Innovation Hub in November 2017, progressing my keen interest in cars and mechanics. I came to this project in its early stages and when I was given the opportunity to be part of the Innovation Team I was thrilled to be able to combine my work with my passion. I was recruited to this role firstly for my experience with car repairs, which started as a hobby and developed into a career, for my expertise in handling CNC equipment, and for my patience and my ambition. I thoroughly enjoy working with our students, sharing my knowledge, teaching them and guiding them, as my father did with me and my grandfather did with my father”.
“I was 10 years old when I joined the Innovation Hub at school and, at the time, no one believed me when I told them I was going to build a car – even I had doubts! There was a lot of trial and error at first, and one of the most important skills I learnt is measuring accurately, which speeded up much of the process – we didn’t have to keep doing things twice! I think our determination as a team helped us a lot, and we learnt how to work well together and keep each other on track to achieve our goals”. Anya, Year 7
“I joined the Innovation Hub because I thought the opportunity to build a car and then drive it wasn’t something you did every day at school and I was always interested in learning about new technology and engineering. I enjoyed this process the most: putting the car together and then seeing it ‘come to life’ felt like a huge accomplishment. When we took the car for a spin on the track, it was an amazing experience to drive a car that we had made! I would recommend it to anyone”. Adrian, Year 9
“I really think learning about innovation in school gave me a real boost in Maths and Science lessons by encouraging me to think scientifically and helping my confidence grow. Now if I can think it, I believe I can do it! To me, the Innovation Hub is like a wonderland where any idea can come to life and I am really glad I was recommended to join. Because of the mixture of excitement and anticipation after a year of work, I think testing the car and seeing it work was the most rewarding experience”. Sofia, Year 7
“I wanted to be part of the Innovation Hub at school because in Year 10, we’re already thinking about future career choices and I felt this was a chance to really engage with the practical side of engineering. I soon discovered that planning was far easier than actually building something, which was often tricky and then brought forth new problems we had overlooked. So, I learnt to be patient and thorough in my work over the year. At the end, seeing all the pieces come together to form a functioning car, and knowing we did it on our own, was a really indescribable feeling”. Pavel, Year 10
Innovation Hub News and Articles
A great article in National Geographic reported on the work being carried out in the Innovation Hub. Find out more about the results when children put theory into practice at BSB.
The Innovation Hub is back up and running for another year – more cars, more engineering and more F1 in Schools. The team proudly presented their accomplishments during a visit from the local press. Watch the video!
The Innovation Hub was created to help nurture unique ideas and give understanding to the exciting world of start-ups. Visit our Facebook page.
The Innovation Club will be starting again early in the new academic year. What will they create this year? See Facebook post.
Time for innovation in school and the Innovation Hub team to take the cars for a spin round the track. See Facebook photo gallery.
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