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#miniMartian Lands in Finland

August 29th

Grade two learners in their second week of school this year, in Turku, Finland, reached school safely this morning. These little learners have completed just a tiny fraction of the 2400 journeys they will take to school before graduating. They might have a perfect record now but how can we be sure they have the skills, street smarts and sidewalk savviness to graduate high school without incidence. Anything other than perfection is unacceptable. The risk is too high. Knowing the road rules and safety facts might not even be enough. The learners need to know defensive safety tactics, because, as we know, many accidents involving children on the road are the fault of more experienced individuals.

Kalebr Challenge works because it engages the students via
fun learning and hands on making and coding.


Petri Ahokas

With this in mind, we have launched a phenomenon-based learning initiative in Finland called #miniMartian in master educator Petri Ahokas' classroom and community. #miniMartian brings road safety and responsibility to the forefront of discussion in school, the community and households all over Finland and the world. In #miniMartian, learners make, code and innovate while engaging their community in road safety facts and happiness. When the community comes to visit, they share, like, love and vote for their favourite miniMartians and road safety facts. 

Petri supports young learners in a process of design thinking.

Road safety awareness the world over has seen few highlights and many lows. Conventional advertising campaigns attempt to shock the population into action or instil sadness so we can't help but drive a little safer or be a bit more aware. While small victories for road safety are sometimes won, these campaigns are never as effective as planned. The essence of any successful social campaign involves the people, helps them find identity in the story and ultimately educates and enlightens them. It is the story that parents, children and the community embody and tell themselves that results in the greatest change. We want Turku and the world to say "We are road safe and we are proud of it!" We want this story to be a source of identity for all who come into contact with the miniMartians.

That is, learning for life that heralds
lifelong learning.

#miniMartian, a phenomenon-based learning initiative, is linked to the new Finnish curriculum and uses road safety to teach learners about responsibility. #miniMartian is a multi-faceted, interactive, innovation challenge, where students, using making, coding and other 21st-century skills engage a broad community in promoting road safety and happiness while learning about responsibility. Learners, following the Kalebr Way™, are given an innovation scaffold that uses design thinking principles to design, make, code, engage and celebrate their way to accomplishment.

In essence, #miniMartian is a STEAM+ collaborative project. STEAM+ is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and positive education. Throughout the initiative, learners utilise these disciplines seamlessly to shape their understanding of the concept "responsibility".

Learning through play is a pillar of Finland's phenomenon-based curriculum.

When learners develop understanding of a concept through real-world ideas and making and coding, they can apply this concept to a myriad of other situations. Phenomenon and concept-based learning help learners create mental maps they can use to navigate any situation in any place, culture or time. In #miniMartian, learners develop a personal idea of responsibility through the discovery of road safety facts and the safe use of social media. The learners find more than road safety or an abstract definition of responsibility. They find they can apply the lessons they learn from such a young age to things that happen to them for the rest of their life. That is, learning for life that heralds lifelong learning.

The Kalebr Way ™

The Kalebr way is the in-house process we use for the development of all new ideas and innovations. Created with design thinking and growth mindset in mind, we have found it works especially well when applied to innovation challenges in the classroom and beyond. It's not the highway or the only way. It's the Kalebr Way!


Learners, in innovation teams, research and design a miniMartian including a back story. The team goes in search of critical road safety facts for their miniMartians to share with the school, community and world.


The learners make physical computing powered miniMartians. After crafting creative miniMartians, the learners bring their miniMartian to life by connecting them to the internet of things (IoT) via an innovation kit and Kalebr's makeFace™ making tool.


Kalebr's blocHead™ is a visual coding tool that enables first-time coders of all needs and abilities to write simple programs with world changing potential. Learners, using pictures and sentences, code physical responses to online visitor interactions through features on the miniMartians.


Learners invite the community to visit the Kalebr Challenge platform and explore road safety facts while liking, loving, sharing and voting for their favourite miniMartians. Learners have programmed physical responses for the miniMartians that react when the community gets involved.


Teams present their innovation and thinking to teachers, peers, parents and the community, with the aim of selecting champions in innovation, safety and 21st-century skills. The team who engages the largest audience will see their miniMartian crowned "Official miniMartians Safety Officer 2017."

Master Educator Petri Ahokas has been an integral member of the team, helping us align #miniMartian with the new Finnish phenomenon-based learning curriculum and ensuring age appropriate content for his learners.

"I have wanted to extend my lessons on responsibility and road safety outside the classroom for a long time but couldn't think of the best way to move forward. Working on Kalebr's Challenge has helped me extend learning beyond the classroom to the school and the community while seeing measurable social impact. Challenge works because it engages the students via fun learning and hands on making and coding. Their excitement and buzz is infectious and so spreads throughout the school."

Petri, 18 innovators and four miniMartians make for one interesting and boisterous collaborative learning community.

Building upon Petri's thoughts, the students use and develop important 21st-century skills that help them thrive and be happy in the modern school and society. These skills, even from such a young age, help students to be more successful and hence enjoy better prospects as they move through school and graduation. Petri was excited by a solution that seamlessly executed phenomenon-based learning in his classroom while meeting all of his curriculum objectives.

Stay tuned for updates. Some incredible miniMartians have already been conceived and the learners have safety and responsibility in their minds. It seems as though seven-year-olds in Turku are more creative than we could ever imagine. Share this article on Facebook if you feel road safety is an important issue we should all be striving to raise awareness for.

Don't worry we'll let you know when you can visit these awesome miniMartians at

Ed Beaverton,

Maker in Chief, Kalebr

Ps. For those of you who want to know more about Kalebr Challenge, head over to our contact page.