As part of the STEM discovery campaign in 19th April, I implemented the Nature Changing our Surroundings activity developed by dear Ewa PRZYBYSZ-GARDYZA with my students at our school Merzifon Atatürk Science&Art Center.
Climate change, unsustainable urbanization, natural disasters, food security threats, loss of biodiversity, air pollution, deterioration of natural capital and ecosystem services, decline in water quality and scarcity; emerges as major environmental problems that have to be solved. Most of the time, we place nature and new buildings in opposite positions.
However, such an opposition causes both damage to nature and unplanned urbanization.
Nature based solutions are important initiatives in terms of sustainability. For this reason, it is very important for students to be aware of these solutions. To propose nature-based solutions for the environment in which we live is important. In this way, future generations can have awareness about the protection of biodiversity. In addition, students’ development of solutions by looking critically at the areas in which they live can contribute to students’ analytical thinking skills. The products emerging in this process can be effective in nurturing students’ creativity.
The period in which we applied the activity named Nature Changing our Surroundings coincided with the period we shifted into distance education. Because of that problem, we carried out the activity completely online with my students. Firstly, I translated the lesson and lesson materials into Turkish. I prepared a Turkish presentation for this lesson based on Ewa’s suggested presentation.
We started the activity by analyzing photos from different cities, as suggested by Ewa. At this stage, I showed students many photos from different cities. Then I asked my students to group these photos according to criteria they determined. Students worked on online word documents to group photos and then share their views with class.
Answers from my students were grouped as “natural-unnatural”, “environmental pollution-green space”, “clean water-polluted water”, “overpopulation-less population”.
Afterwards, I explained what nature-based solutions are to my students. Then I gave examples of nature-based solutions from Turkey and the world. In the context of Turkey, we examined the Eskişehir Porsuk stream project through the photographs.
After examining the photos, we discussed with the students what else could be done in these areas. We evaluated the areas in our school with the students. I asked my students “What problems do we have in our school related to the lack of green space?”. I wanted them to reflect on his question. My students came up with ideas such as green areas to cover cars to park cars, plants that smell good to remove bad odors in common areas such as toilets and artificial rivers around the school. The students shared these ideas with their friends by drawing them with a drawing tool of their choice.
We ended the lesson by evaluating all the ideas. The students shared with me that they generally liked this lesson and that they enjoyed analyzing different examples.
In summary, I think this activity, developed by Ewa within the scope of Nature Based Solutions, is quite creative and interesting for students.