In Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, a total of four Newton Rooms have been established in one large building.
An entire floor in the STEAM Innovation Centre is dedicated to the Newton Concept – two of the rooms are standard Newton Rooms, each with a lab, amphitheatre, and large classroom. One room is built to teach the aerospace module Up in the Air with Numbers and has three flight simulator panels. The fourth and final room is a Newton Room adapted for younger kids aged 3-6, with lower furniture and increased floor space.
VARIED ROOMS. In addition to two classic Newton Rooms, one room is built to teach the module Up in the Air with Numbers, which requires flight simulators, and the fourth room is for young children.
All photos: STEAM Azerbadjian and FIRST Scandinavia
The partner in the establishment project, STEAM Azerbaijan, is a non-profit educational project supported by the Ministry of Education in Azerbaijan.
This is the first time FIRST Scandinavia has established four Newton Rooms in the same building, and the managing director of FIRST Scandinavia, Stian Elstad, is proud of the result:
"This has been a large and exciting project for us. We have never before established four Newton Rooms in the same building, which also houses an innovation centre. This highlights the need for good operational planning, in addition to the logistics involved in getting everything in place in the building.
Maggie Skjelbred from FIRST Scandinavia was the project manager, while Ole Morten Mortensen led the establishment of the physical spaces.
Started already in 2019
FIRST Scandinavia met with representatives from Azerbaijan during the Bett Show in London in 2019, where the Newton Concept and Newton Rooms were exhibited.
“STEAM Azerbaijan contacted FIRST Scandinavia in the spring of 2021 with floor plans and information about the brand new STEAM Centre, and we began work on a proposal for how Newton could be a part of this huge idea. In January 2022, the physical construction of the building started in collaboration with the local partners in Baku, and in January 2023, the President of Azerbaijan officially opened the centre," says Maggie Skjelbred.
The final part of the physical establishment of the Newton Rooms took place in late summer of 2022. Ole Morten spent four consecutive weeks in Baku to finalise the rooms, spending a total of eight weeks in the country throughout the project.
IMPRESSED BY THE PARTNER. Ole Morten Mortensen (right) praised the committed partners in STEAM Azerbaijan. He spent a total of eight weeks in the country during the establishment phase.
Ole Morten praised the committed and dedicated people at STEAM Azerbaijan who initiated the project, but also admitted that there were some challenges in establishing something so far away.
"Transporting furniture and technical equipment across many borders requires much work and follow-up. But we had a local construction company that delivered on time and found good solutions to the challenges that arose," he says.
The Newton team organised the teacher training, with two educators and one flight simulator instructor travelling to Baku. A total of 20 teachers attended the training, which lasted ten days. They were divided into groups and trained in the relevant modules they would be responsible for.
"It was a great group of enthusiastic teachers who were very eager to learn about the Newton Concept. The ten days they spent together gave them plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the concept and test the different equipment," says Maggie.
TEACHERS IN TRAINING. The Newton team sent two educators and a flight simulator instructor to Baku, where 20 teachers took part in an intense ten day training
Baku’s population tops 2 million, and managing director, Stian Elstad, believes the Newton Concept can meet the needs of a large city.
“The authorities in Azerbaijan have launched a major initiative to improve the quality of the education system, and they are investing in engaging and inspiring children and young people to choose a career in science and technology. We are glad they see Newton as a solid system for achieving these goals,
"Our greatest wish is for Newton to be accessible to as many children and young people as possible, regardless of where they live or their abilities” Stian concludes.
FACTS ABOUT STEAM Azerbaijan
STEAM Azerbaijan is a non-profit educational project supported by the Institute of Education and the Ministry of Education. In addition to the Newton Rooms, the STEAM Innovation Centre is filled with activities from Heureka Science Centre, VR rooms, escape rooms, and much more. STEAM Azerbaijan also runs FLL tournaments in the country, as well as STEM labs in schools, an international STEAM festival and teacher training sessions.