Saturday, November 30, 2019

Land of Blue Lakes shines brightly in November

In November, our enthusiastic UL SPIE chapter Outreach team headed to Latgale. Latgale is a cultural-historical region in Latvia's east. It is well known for its picturesque nature. Latgale is also called the Land of Blue Lakes. UL SPIE chapter representatives took a chance to inspire students from the Latvian schools which are located relatively far from Riga. 

On the 14th of November, Aglona Secondary School warmly hosted Tatjana and Viktorija. 5th graders and 6th graders learnt about light interaction with different optical materials, and discussed the broad implementation of optical fibers  Moreover, it was the eve of Latvia's 101st birthday, so students used an opportunity to prepare some festive decorations in the form of fireworks. The decorations were made from optical fibers, LED lamps and batteries. Students were excited to make their own design of decorations. The idea of this activity was kindly shared by the Stanford University students. 

Aglona Secondary School students enjoying "Learn & Shine with SPIE"

In the "Learn & Shine with SPIE" lesson, 12th graders learnt about several career options. Viktorija focused their attention on different wide-spread stereotypes about ophtalmologists and optometrists. Tatjana gave interesting insights into researcher's career. Students shared their plans for university studies and discussed their life priorities.

Two weeks later, Tatjana and Viktorija jumped into the car early in the morning and headed to Latgale again. This time Rudzati Secondary School and Varkava Secondary school welcomed our UL SPIE chapter Outreach team. 

SPIE Fashion week in Rudzati Secondary School

In addition to various activities with optical fibers, Viktorija and Tatjana prepared a lesson about visual optics for the 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Students worked in the groups and used eye models to learn about eye anatomy and the main functions of different eye structures. With the help of Ray Optics kit, it was demonstrated what eye refractive errors could be caused by and what kind of optical correction was required in each case. Students actively shared their knowledge about vision and healthcare. 

Students exploring eye anatomy and learning about optometrist career

UL SPIE chapter members spent great time together with amazing students in Latgale. We are grateful to all three schools for a warm welcome and support! 

About "Learn & Shine with SPIE"

Annually, University of Latvia SPIE Chapter’s members invest in STEM education in Latvia by planning and delivering interactive events to children of different ages. This time it was proposed to expand the influence and share good practice with the larger audience by systematic involvement of students. That is how the idea of "Learn and Shine with SPIE" event was born. The initiative of the University of Latvia SPIE Chapter members was supported by SPIE - the international society for optics and photonics.

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