My Trip To Malmo, Sweden: The Students

Cool Minds

Last week after I finished speaking at the Öredev software developer conference in Malmo, Sweden, I had the opportunity to give a talk to students at the Cool Minds Play and Knowledge Center.

Cool Minds holds organized activities for school aged children after school and also on weekends.  The facility is very open and playful and welcoming.  The students are encouraged to explore their own ideas and be creative during the sessions.  Cool Minds makes it fun and exciting for students to learn about concepts such as creative ceramics & candles, electronics/robotics, programming/gaming, biology/chemistry, and film/media.

Watch this short promotional video about Cool Minds.  It’s pretty great.  We need some more places like this here in the US.  Large children’s museums and large science centers are great, but a small intimate instructor-led hands-on activity center like Cool Minds has several benefits over those others.

Here is the Cool Minds website link to my speaking event:


First I gave an introduction about myself and where I grew up and how I was always bent towards science and engineering.  Then I talked to the students about Mars and gave them fun facts, like the length of a year, the length of a day, and the average temperature.

I had some NASA patches and pins, so I gave those away to students who raised their hands and guessed some of these fun Mars facts.

Then I talked a little bit about the Mars rovers and described what they are doing there and what their capabilities are.

Hands-On Activity

And then we went into the fun hands-on activity.  I’m really excited about this particular activity because it’s easy enough for them to repeat at home with their parents and siblings.  And they can add to it and improve it at home too.

The activity has each student create a robotic finger for a Mars robot using common everyday items like a drinking straw, some string, a button, and a washer.  And then at the end, we combine students and they combine 4 robotic fingers to make a working robotic hand.


The students really seemed to enjoy this hands-on activity.  And they were pretty excited to have someone from NASA come to talk to them.

It was a great experience for me too.  I enjoyed seeing the Cool Minds facility and meeting its creator, Farzin Saber.  Farzin is passionate about exposing kids to fun learning activities that they might never otherwise experience.

Here is a 15 minute Ted talk about Cool Minds that Farzin gave back in January of 2017:

Tomorrow I’ll publish a blog post about some of the sightseeing my wife and I did in Malmo Sweden.

Thanks for your interest!


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