Los Cerros Educational Blog

Jaime Barinas, Chemistry teacher at Los Cerros Gymnasium


I am Jaime Orlando Barinas Olaya, I have a degree in Chemistry from the Universidad Distrital Francisco José De Caldas and a Master's degree in Chemistry from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. I have been working here at Gimnasio de Los Cerros for about 12 years and time has gone by very fast. It seems like yesterday when I started in this beautiful family, I call it family because that's how I feel every time I think of how to describe my stay through the years. 

Since I came to school, many students were afraid to talk about chemistry, as it is considered a difficult and abstract subject in school. Since then, turning students into science enthusiastss has become a challenge for me. Every day I enjoy my classes, showing the affection I feel for my work. It fills me with joy to know that students look for me during breaks or in places other than class to explain doubts about scientific knowledge. Time passes quickly and sometimes I do not have enough time to attend to all my students, but as I start a new day, it is gratifying to arrive at my workplace, the chemistry lab, because I know that I will have a new encounter with the students at some point during the day. 

Skills provided by Chemistry to students

Over the years, I have learned that chemistry is a subject that can provide useful life skills for students. Primarily, it is based on understanding the processes and transformations of matter and its interactions with the world around us. This allows students to develop essential skills for their academic and professional future, as well as for their daily lives. 

Critical thinking 

One of the most important skills students can acquire through the study of chemistry is critical thinking, as it involves problem solving and making decisions based on scientific evidence. Students learn to analyze data, make connections, and make decisions based on logic and evidence. These skills are useful in many fields of study and in everyday life, as they help in making informed and rational decisions. 

Collaborative work and communication

Another important skill that students can develop through the study of chemistry is the ability to collaborate and communicate. Often, this involves working in teams, sharing information to solve problems, and developing new knowledge. Students learn to work in teams, listen to and respect the opinions of others, and present their ideas clearly and effectively. These skills are essential in any career and in everyday life, as they help to communicate successfully and work in a team. 

3. Practical and technical skills

In addition, chemistry can also help students develop practical and technical skills. 

It involves conducting experiments and handling equipment and chemicals. Students learn to follow safety protocols, mix chemicals, and use measuring and analytical instruments. These skills are valuable for any STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related career, as well as in everyday life, cooking or personal care. 

I do not seek to turn all my students into scientists, but to leave an imprint on them so that they become exemplary citizens, happy and committed to their community. As a teacher, my goal is to foster values and virtues that will promote the mission I am confident that my students will be able to multiply this learning in their personal and professional environment.

In conclusion, from my point of view as a teacher, chemistry is a discipline that can provide students with a number of important life skills. These skills include critical thinking, collaboration and communication, and practical and technical skills. These skills are valuable in any career and in everyday life, and can help students develop a deeper understanding of their environment and the world around them.

Los Cerros alumnus who teaches about the environment and technology around the world


After almost 15 years of working in communications and advertising in Colombia as Creative Director and in Guatemala as General Creative Director, Pablo Zuloaga, a Los Cerros alumnus (like his father) from the class of 2002, retired from advertising to give greater meaning to his life and his ideas. In this path of reconversion, he dedicated himself to developing planet-centered technology educational methodologies and community innovation workshops in Spain, Portugal, Guatemala and ColombiaThe aim is to provide people with certain knowledge or skills to help them face the challenges of this new technological era, without ignoring the importance of the planet's resources and the environment in this process..

"In 2019 after a series of things that were happening in my life, I make the decision to leave advertising and go to Barcelona to do a master's degree in emerging futures design, and I focus my thesis on looking at how to make small farmers more resilient to climate change."

His experience in Guatemala and Colombia, working on social campaigns for UNICEF, the Ministry of Defense, Save the Children, USAID, International Justice Mission and other NGOs, led him to appreciate more and more what his agency in Guatemala called "the most important thing in Guatemala". "The healing power of creativity". So he decided to do something bigger with his talent, which had already won awards at numerous international advertising festivals.

"In advertising we settle for an award as a goal, but the ideas that win these awards, many times they are not even real, or the creative pays for them...that's why now I try to make ideas that really reach people, that really help them and really solve their problems."

Pablo traded commercial productions for design labs and communities. Now in Los Cerros

In 2020, as part of his master's thesis, he presented the first stage of a technology education methodology for rural communities, which was awarded as the best thesis of the program.. Along with this, Pablo continued in Barcelona prototyping a climate simulator for growing plants in future speculative environments called POWAR (the "Plant Observatory of Weather Adaptability for Resiliense)which is an Open Source, low-cost device that is being developed to help school children learn about climate change and technology in a more practical way, this project is already in the process of being implemented in Los Cerros.

At the same time Pablo was developing this simulator, also started to collaborate with the Innovation departments of Barcelona and Hospitalet.The project is focused on the construction or provision of small community and rural innovation laboratories, bringing people closer to technologies such as robotics, programming, Arduino electronics or IoT devices, 3D printing and digital fabrication in general, which is of great interest in Los Cerros.

In these labs he also began to develop workshops to teach the community about the environment and technology. He also began to be invited to give talks on digital fabrication, innovation and food futures, and remote workshops in Portugal with design students who have collaborated in the evolution of his project.

"In recent years, I have acquired certain skills or knowledge, which have allowed me to see the world in a different way, and although I am not an expert in any of these, I look for ways to transmit them to people, so that I can somehow change their lives."

From Gimnasio de Los Cerros school we are proud to have among our students our alumni success stories like these. It is important for us to publicize success stories of our alumni, and we are already in contact with Pablo to implement the teaching in technology and environment that he has been developing; this to encourage more and more our students to become actors of change.

If you want to contact Pablo or learn more about his projects, you can write to him at pabzul@gmail.com or from your personal page www.pablozuloaga.com