NATURE MAKES MY DAY PROJECT
Nature makes my day e-Twinning project which has been running since November presents a simple yet powerful model of how to raise awareness among students about the importance of nature in our lives and motivate them to become responsible citizens actively involved in the preservation and protection of our natural environment. Within the project we have organized an one-month activity by creating March with STE(A)M Challenge and by taking part in it.
March with STE(A)M Challenge
The March with STE(A)M Challenge aims to engage students in real-world STEM problems by learning how to think scientifically and critically when observing the world around them. The activity was design as a hands-on personalized learning opportunity for students to develop a variety of skills needed for them to be successful in their future careers: problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, information literacy, technology literacy, flexibility, leadership.
The use of Project-Based Learning as a pedagogical method facilitated the integration of STEM subjects into the project plan and fostered the collaboration and communication between 15 teachers and 81 students from Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Founders of the project: Sevgi Șeyda OZKAN (Turkey) and Camelia Lazar (Romania)
Organizer of the March with STE(A)M Challenge: Elena Corina Rogoveanu (Romania)
TURKEY: İnci DEVECİOĞLU, Merve GÜRELİ KIVRAK, Diğdem GÖLPEK, Bozan ÖZÇELİK, Mehtap CENGIZ, Birsen EREN, Semra Gülten Özlem, SEZER SULTAN, Fatma KOCABAY
BULGARIA: Yovka ZHECHEVA
ROMANIA: Ruxandra Florentina Badescu
LITHUANIA: Roberta TKACUK
The miracle of nature
Activity 1:We are growing plants
Starting with the driving question “Where would you be without plants” students were engaged in conducting an in-depth research by exploring the world of plants: identifying and making close observation of different plants, investigating what seeds need to germinate, learning about seed banks, finding out what plants need to grow and stay healthy, describing some major stages of plant growth, comparing plants grown in different conditions, reflecting on the benefits of growing your own garden. At the end of the research students gathered the information about plants and used it in a hands-on plant activity. Thus students observed how seeds grow into mature plants by tracking the development of the following seeds: beans, mint, lovage, thyme, lemon, onion, pine seeds, walnuts, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, lentils, apples, avocados, tangerines, cactus, chilli, daffodil bulbs. Students have learned to make scientific observation and record data to track the growth of this plants over time and had the opportunity to interpret and present their results at the online meeting held on 31st of March. By using observation, investigation, exploration, interpretation, measurements and data concepts they have gained knowledge about plants from various angles. Consequently, in Science students learned about plants, in Mathematics they gathered results regarding what a plants needs to stay healthy, made plant measurements and presented data. In Technology students learned how to present information using ICT tools, in Biology and Geography they have learned about biodiversity of plants and the geographic distribution of plant species. In Citizenship students had the opportunity to draw connection to the real world in an authentic context and to understand that plants are vital for a healthy and happy life.
Activity 2: A tribute to NATURE
A non-STEM subject of Arts has been included in March with STE(A)M Challenge by writing and singing a song. The song ”A tribute to nature” was meant to remind to all human beings not to take for granted all the resources which our planet makes available to us.
By using Zumpad children were asked to write sentences about the beauties of nature and to show their gratitude to it. They were asked to imagine and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
Activity 3: Plant-Friends-Forever Online Meeting
At the end of the month the team from “Nature makes my day” joined on Zoom to share their thoughts and feelings, to discuss their discoveries, to present their work and exchange feedback, to present their results in a meaningful way. Students were encouraged to summarize their experience and to describe their learning adventure. It was a great way to reflect on their working process and on the impact of their actions. They become responsible citizens capable of taking up the March with STE(A)M Challenge and acting as effective agents of change in their community.
Outcome of the activity
Intangible results: awareness regarding the importance of plants in our life.
Project Based Learning: students get fact-based tasks, problems to solve and they work in groups. This kind of learning usually transcends traditional subjects.
Lifelong Learning: learning does not stop when leaving school.
Collaborative Learning: a strong focus on group work.
Outdoor Education: learning outside of the school building in the “real” environment
Student Centered Learning: students and their needs are at the center of the learning process.
Peer Learning: students learn from peers and give each other feedback.
21st century skills
Ways of thinking: creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, decision-making and learning to learn.
Ways of working: communication, collaboration, teamwork.
Tools of working: information literacy and ICT literacy
Living in the world: citizenship, life and career skills, personal and social responsibility.
The students were assessed using peer assessment at the end of the activity when they gathered all the information they collected during their research: What works? What can be improved? What is interesting?