In the Canary Islands traffic accidents are the most relevant cause of mortality among 15 to 24 year olds.
Our challenge: use physics to make drivers aware of the risk on Gran Canaria roads by performing an entertaining role-playing game.
This is the second time our comprehensive school is participating in Your Ideas Your Initiatives. On this occasion we have extended our study focus beyond our locality and have investigated the reasons for traffic accidents on the entire Gran Canaria island. Our challenge has been to use physics in order to raise drivers' awareness about risks while driving. Traffic accidents are the most important cause of mortality among young people aged 15 to 24 in the Canary Islands.
We studied the problem of traffic accidents by performing an entertaining role-playing game. In it, we are journalists, camera operators, screenwriters and presenters of an important regional television network and the Regional Ministry of Transport of Cabildo de Gran Canaria has asked us to record of an audiovisual document in order to reduce accidents on the island's roads. The best documentary will get the Cabildo contract.
We designed the logos for the television networks and our accreditation cards. We studied the main causes of traffic accidents in Gran Canaria:
-There is hardly any rainfall and when it occasionally rains frequent traffic jams and accidents occur because of the recklessness of some drivers and the state of roads and sewers.
-The terrain: Driving through the mountains of Gran Canaria can be a challenge, as narrow winding roads require extreme concentration.
-The nightlife: The main economic activity in Gran Canaria is sun and beach tourism. As a consequence, there are large areas of leisure activity where alcohol and drug abuse abound, and this implies a great risk to driving.
-Rallies: Several rallies are celebrated. The great passion for this sport in the Canaries has the result that drivers sometimes exceed the speed limits and confuse the road with a racing circuit.
In our English class we exposed the main driving problems on Gran Canaria in a digital mural.
In addition, in our Scientific Culture Studies, we studied the effects of drugs on driving and how the reaction time varies under the effects of drugs and alcohol.
In the subject of Physics and Chemistry we analyzed the problems as seen from the point of view of physics:
-Calculation of reaction distances, braking and stopping for sober and for drunk drivers driving at different speeds.
-Calculation of the maximum braking force on dry and wet roads varying the coefficient of friction.
-Calculation of maximum speeds in curves.
We explained the operation of the safety belt using Newton's three laws and then we calculated how the impact force and acceleration on a driver varies when abruptly braking, with and without a seat belt and for different speeds.
Also, in Physics and Chemistry class, we used the SCAMPER business creativity technique to find solutions to the challenge posed in the role-play, that is, to reduce traffic accidents on the island.
Firstly, we prepared, recorded and edited the documentary scripts. Next, we tried to raise awareness about the main causes of Gran Canaria accidents, explaining the role of physics in different situations with our interpretation. There are all kinds of documentaries: some of them are aimed at an adult audience with a more serious style, others follow the humorous style of YouTubers but without renouncing scientific rigor; there are also interviews with pedestrians, children, healthcare professionals, etc.
Lastly, in Music class, we made publicity trailers for the documentaries.
The documentaries have been published on the comprehensive school Facebook account where there is a competition for a public prize; in this way, we have managed to spread our work among the population of the municipality.
Creativity, critical thinking, the use of digital tools, teamwork and interdisciplinary action are the main features of this project which has undoubtedly made us reflect on the need to promote appropriate behaviour on the road.
The impact of the activity on the students has been evaluated. The activity has made us conscious about driving risks.
The survey of students to evaluate the project shows the following results:
-More than half of participants say they have talked about this project with friends and family.
-Most respondents say that we now understand better the purpose of seat belts and the risks of not using them. We understand the difference between driving on dry asphalt or wet asphalt and the reasons why one should slow down in curves.
-We are aware of the dangers of not respecting speed limits and the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
-Finally, the majority of students state that this school project has made us reflect on the appropriate attitudes for driving.
Becoming the main figures of our learning and studying while resolving new problems has led us to internalise what we learned and to develop critical thinking.
"Running with a car is not as fun as it seems ... My perspective has changed a lot. I'm a rally fan, I love it, and I thought that when I got my driving license I would drive fast. I'd take that energy out. I'd take my anger out. But now I realise that is of no use". Keila Mendoza 4º ESO C.
We want to show the reflections of our schoolmate Keila because they display perfectly how gamification in this learning experience has motivated us to reflect on some wrong ideas that we had.
Beyond a doubt, education fulfills its objective: to transform the world and to improve it.