Inspiration came from
In September, a super typhoon Mangkhut causes a lot of devastation all over Hong Kong. The serious aftermath reminded students of the safety of stray animals, and they were worried if their shelters were destroyed or not.
What social problems do you solve?
Stray cat problem is a ubiquitous issue in Hong Kong. It is common to see stray cats being abused, eating unclean food and living in a filthy place. Nonetheless, this problem is always ignored by the public. Seeing the cats suffer from threats in the streets, the students decided to tackle this problem by building an Eco-friendly cat house. It also raises awareness of students about the root of stray animal problems, and hopefully the project will be useful for public education.
Inside the cat house, the safety of the cats will be well guarded by offering areas for them to play, eat and answer the call of nature. On the other hand, the highlight of the house is the eco-friendly facilities, which includes a solar panel that provides electricity for a heater, an automatic pet feeder and the water recycle system. In the recycle system, rainwater can be converted into drinking water to maximize the use of natural resources. As for the house materials, the students decided to use bamboo, red wine boxes, newspaper and red wine corks to provide a comfortable and cosy living environment. Students get a chance to understand more about green living and learn how to use recyclable materials.
How do we start from 0 to 1
The students visited a pet supplies store to figure out the basic equipment in a cat house, like toys for scratching, cat litter for collecting excreta, automatic water refiller, etc. A guest who is experienced in raising cats was also invited to give a talk, so students could have a glimpse of the daily routines of cats and estimate the size of the cat house needed.
The challenge we encountered
- Little understanding of the routines and needs of cats --- most students have no experience in keeping a cat before; some students even thought that cats can open the door by themselves, the cats can't see without light, the cats go up by walking up stairs only but not jumping
- Not much concept about what are Eco-friendly materials and how to apply the raw materials in reality --- for example the students don't know that newspaper can keep things warm. However, they did not think of its possibility to be used in the cat house.
- Lack of experience in designing from brainstorming to the final product.
The resources we needed
Materials: red wine boxes and red wine corks
Expertise: for installing solar panels, for setting up the water collection system, for designing and building up the cat house
Money: for buying solar panels and cat food
Thank you cards
Thanks you for Watson's Wine has been donated some red wine boxes and red wine corks for us to build our eco friendly cat house!! The students were so excited and they drew some thank you cards for Watson's Wine!!
Starting to Build Our Red Wine Boxes Cat House!!
Before we build our wooden cat house, we need to redesign it... as the material change. After redesign, we create a prototype for our cat house by using paper cardboard with presentation.
Using the wooden red wine boxes to build the cat house by refering to their sketches. During the progress, they need to fix some of their design - learn by mistake.
We are learning the basic wooden technique for building our cat house from our school worker- Man Gor. At the same time, they are learning the sewing technique for making the cat toys.
A Visit to Solar Panel Company - EcoSmart (http://www.ecosmart.com.hk/zh_HK/)
We were invited to a visit a local solar panel company to learn how to incorporate solar panel technology into our DreamStarter project. Students were thrilled about the visit and they were given a chance to build their solar panel mini car!! We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude toward EcoSmart for their kindness and support!
who are we
We are grade 3 to 5 students from St. Hilary's Primary School. We are determined to combine arts and science ideas together, and bring innovation to the reality.