Author: Semih ESENDEMIR
As a science teacher, I organized an online activity called “Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future” with my students ranged in age from 9 years to 12 years between 6 – 19 April 2020. At the end of this activity, students are expected to learn the concept of bioeconomy and increase their awareness of bioeconomy. I believe that this awareness will have a great share in creating environmental awareness among students who will shape our future. I started my activity by introducing the concept of bioeconomy, a new concept for my students. I tried to draw attention by giving examples of the positive changes that can be achieved by using bioeconomy in our lives. To keep the attention and desire on the subject, I prepared videos, discussions, online educational materials, games, and experiments to prevent Covid-19 pandemic by preparing disinfectant from organic waste.
As a result of all these entertaining activities, my students actively participating in the process have recognized the concept of bioeconomy and have contributed to bioeconomy by transforming the organic waste they collected in their homes into new products that can be used. As a result of the feedback of my students, seeing that they look at their environment from a different perspective shows that this activity has reached its goal. I am more hopeful about the future.
The implementation context
The target group of this activity was composed of 40 gifted students, aged 9 – 12, who attended Eskişehir Emine Emir Şahbaz Science and Art Center. Science and Art Centers are institutions that do not apply the curriculum applied in schools but use extra-curricular scientific and artistic activities that can reveal the interests and abilities of gifted students. In this context, I found it meaningful for a sustainable future to meet my gifted students at a young age with the concept of bioeconomy, which is not included in the science curriculum. My activity is mainly based on the concept of bioeconomy. I tried to support the concept of bioeconomy with the concepts of fossil fuel, renewable energy sources, biological waste (organic waste), environmental pollution, and climate change. To make these concepts permanent in online activities, I used videos, games, and experiments with simple materials that could be found at home.
As a science teacher, although being familiar with the concept of bioeconomy, I had discovered how to use bioeconomy in my class thanks to the training called “Boosting Bioeconomy Knowledge in Schools” organized by European Schoolnet and BLOOM project in 2019. After this training, I started thinking even more about bioeconomy and researching what I could do. As a result, I encountered the School Box and examined all the learning scenarios. I decided to implement this scenario, which I think was appropriate for my students’ age. I examined all the stages in the learning scenario (video, game, experiment …). I chose activities that are appropriate to the level of my class. Since there is no Turkish source of bioeconomy, I have prepared a video about bioeconomy in Turkish. I applied the bio-based disinfectant production in the scenario exactly and asked my students to make a short commercial about the products they prepared. Unfortunately, I could not establish the career links of bioeconomy, a part of the scenario. However, I emphasized that professions in the field of bioeconomy will be important in the future. In addition to the scenario, I prepared a matching game, puzzle activity, and also worksheet to follow the process using the Bookwidgets application. I prepared a 10-question assessment exam using the Quiz application. Finally, I asked them to create a bio-based product from the waste found in their family home.
With the learning scenario named “Don’t waste your waste! – Raising bioeconomy awareness”, I achieved meaningful and beautiful learning outcomes. Initially, the awareness and feedback about the concept of bioeconomy were great for both parents and students. Stating that the event was both meaningful and enjoyable, they pointed out that now they have a different view regarding the waste that occurs in their homes and their surroundings. The most important learning outcomes are the reusable biological-based products that my students produced from domestic wastes with their families, fun brochures to promote these products and commercials they shot. Besides, even a small competition environment was created by playing the game named “Biowhat” based on time and knowledge. The educational games I prepared, enabled my students to have fun, reinforce the concepts and the subject. Thanks to the worksheet I prepared to follow my students’ progress in the process, I had the chance to observe what my students were doing at what stage. In the last part of the event, I made a formative evaluation of the concept of bioeconomy using the online quiz.
I think that the education training named “Boosting Bioeconomy Knowledge in Schools” that I have received as a teacher has broadened my horizons in the field of bioeconomy. In addition to the “Turn Milk into Plastic” learning scenario I prepared for this training, I think the quality learning scenarios prepared and implemented by my European colleagues in School Box are very beneficial for my professional and personal development. I think that by applying these learning scenarios, I can inspire my students to thrive for a beautiful, sustainable world. The important feedback I have received from my students and their parents encourages me about future activities and motivates me to produce new projects.
Based on this activity, I plan to make bioeconomy more comprehensive in cooperation with different fields. I believe that the teachers whom the students see as role models should take an active role in the field of bioeconomy for nature and our future. BLOOM School Box is a good start for this. They should choose a scenario that suits their class level and try the concept of bioeconomy in their classrooms. At this stage of the event, I would like to share the learning scenarios I have applied in the field of bioeconomy and the materials I have prepared with my colleagues and convey this positive effect to myself. The awareness of more teachers and students about the concept of bioeconomy will enable us to look to the future with hope.