Sustainability is a crucial factor through which we can ensure quality and long life on our planet Earth and all its inhabitants. Therefore we must enable our students to be aware of the importance and readiness to lead societies towards sustainable development – “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [Brundtland Report of the World the Commission on Environment and Development (1987)]. Education is one of the strongest tools fostering sustainability at the individual level and in the daily life of each and one of us. Education oriented towards sustainability topics create empowered students that will become engaged citizens and active change-makers in shaping sustainability solutions.
The set of activities “Let’s act local – Green solutions for our city” is motivated by SDG13. The aims of activities were to introduce the students with Nature Based Solutions (NBS), to promote importance of knowledge, awareness and respect for green spaces and to analyze, plan and share the idea for implementation of a practical case in their local community. Students were motivated to be active citizens in implementing NBS in their local community. By different activities like solving jigsaw, watching short videos, discussion, making Mind-maps and writing essay students were motivated to understand the need to be active citizens and to start acting local. Students were challenged by facts about climate change and urbanization. They were introduced in NBS and motivated to go outside, to find critical points in their city for acting and to find and to plan appropriate green solutions for it (planting threes, green wall or vertical garden). The Learning Scenario for our NBS activities can be found here.
The resource Statistics in the Classroom – Sustainable Development Goals can be found here.
The activities were realized as two workshops (on 9 and 16 April) and final event (on 22 April) for promoting the outcomes, online via MS Teams. In the workshops took part students from 8th and 9th grade in our school Straso Pindzur, Karbinci – N Macedonia.
Climate change (1st workshop – 9 April 21)
The aim of the first workshop was to to raise awareness of climate change, its causes and consequences. The workshop started with solving jigsaws. Students working in three groups, had a task to solve one of the jigsaws. After solving it, they analyzed the graphic on images and prepared short oral presentation about it.
We live in an ever-changing world. How can we prepare our students for such a rapidly changing world? What should we teach our students today to help them live? What skills will they need? The answer to these questions is unknown, as no one knows what the world will do in the future.
In this activity, students were asked to think about the future and find solutions that would better protect the environment.
How can we reduce pollution levels (atmospheric, water, ocean)? What can we do to have more green spaces? They thought about how they could save energy to help air quality and ecosystems.
Subject (s) STEM topics:
Aims of the lesson
Raise awareness of threats to our environment
Develop environmentally friendly behavior
Developing skills and habits that help keep the world beautiful and clean
Learn through creative design, creation, inquiry and exploration processes
Improve communication skills and collaborative learning
How can we help planet Earth, the future of our environment. Finding the answer to the question
21st century skills
This course will develop the following skills identified as the 21st century among students. Skills:
Critical thinking: Students will be asked to reflect on everyday issues. Provide solutions for each problem given during the discussion
Problem-solving: Students will identify problems affecting the environment. And they will offer a solution.
Information literacy: Students will learn about the climate It will help them create ideas and answers to real-life questions.
Life and career skills
Initiative: Students will take initiative to help their communities Social skills: Students will develop positive attitudes, how to interact with them and They will learn to value each other’s opinions. Creativity: Students will develop their creative thinking skills by getting information. They will create problem solutions from the analysis and criticism of a problem. Communication: Students will engage in constructive dialogue and listen to each one. Additionally, through the Art course, They will have the opportunity to produce materials for visual communication. Collaboration: Students in the classroom will collaborate with each other to solve problems. Productivity and accountability: Students will plan and manage time to do everything. Responsibility: Students will be asked to propose feasible and realistic solutions.
In this activity, we tried to find answers to the following questions.
What is the environment? What kind of environment is it healthy to live in? Is the technology we have today making our lives better and emerging or harmful? What are renewable energy sources and how can they be used? Are there solutions for how the world can be a better place, and what are some mistakes we need to fix to make our environment better, healthier?
Brainstorming and discussion began on the above sentence. And the subject of the script was introduced to the students. Environmental awareness
Discussion; What kind of environment is required for a healthy life? Who and what pollutes our planet? technology Does it heal or hurt our lives today? What renewable energy sources and how can we use them? What solutions are there to make the world a better place and What are some bugs we need to fix for this to happen? It was shaped by questions.
Students’ homework: 30 years from now, they have been asked to think about what their country will be like in the future.Pollution, environment, climate change, energy, education. Each student wrote an article summarizing their own thoughts and views and explaining how these issues will have an impact on the future of the environment they live in. And they needed to think about potential solutions to how the Earth could be a better place and what some of the wrongs we need to correct. They wrote a class book from these articles. “What the future holds – our stories. Here it is.
We have a white handkerchief, what will happen if we step on it? Or if we put the handkerchief on the car’s tailpipe? The lesson started with these questions. As a result of the discussion, the students decided that the handkerchief would be dirty. Then;
How does a dirty environment affect our health?
Who should be responsible for the environment? Discussions were held on questions.
After the discussion; A video was watched on how to take care of the environment. Here is the video
After watching the video, students received a self-assessment to see how much they care about the environment.
After talking with the students about the environment and nature, students made a poster with their eco-messages. Posters with solutions on how to save the future of the world and people in general. The students gave the following messages on their posters;
Turn off power tools when not in use.
Replace plastic bags with linen
Separate waste and dispose of in containers provided
Choose hygiene products labeled as natural ingredients.
This activity started by watching a video about renewable energy and energy sources.
After watching the video, we talked about energy and fuel. Energy types, renewable, non-renewable energy sources, where does the energy come from, types of fuels and the best for the environment, and why fossil fuels generated by the greenhouse. The students expressed their views on these issues.
Later, the students were divided into groups. Each group chose a renewable energy source.
Group1: Solar energy
Group2: Water energy
Group3: Wind energy
The groups explored the type of energy they were interested in. The research was about a brief description of the energy type, advantages, and disadvantages. They then posted their research results on a collaborative digital board “note.ly/” and presented them to their friends. We thought of the table not only as a reference for students but also as a common valuation method.
The students worked in pairs and wrote suggestions on how to reduce energy on their post-it notes. Then they placed them on the digital board. And then Energy action plan prepared: 10 easy ways to save energy (Annex 2)
The students were given the task of building a windmill. Also Creating a short video explaining wind power.
Before the students came to the class, they learned the amount of money paid by their parents (electricity bills for the last 3 months). Then they determined the electrical appliances they used at home, their condition, and the amount of electricity they consumed in the last 3 months. Using this information, they created 2 tables.
In Table 1, they wrote which electrical appliances they used, how often they used them, and the amount of electricity they consumed in the last 3 months. In Table 2, they made a 1-year energy estimate. They guessed what tools they could use and removed unnecessary tools. By comparing with Table 1, they analyzed how much their electricity consumption decreased when they removed the unnecessary devices from the list and came to a conclusion and took note of the results.
Students were shown pictures of very crowded cities and non-urban places with significant industrial activities. The students argued over the question of how high the danger was. They saw that we can also destroy the environment outside the city.
Then the students were asked to draw 2 pictures. In the first picture, they drew what would happen in 30 years if we were not sensitive to the environment. In the second picture, if we are environmentally conscious, what can happen if we make an energy plan. The students then added the pictures they made to padlet.com and displayed them to their friends.
Students made the presentation and final pictures of the windmill with the online zoom tool. The evaluation was done using an online questionnaire. For this, the Kahoot tool was used. Kahoot is here.
Formative assessment in the first, third and fourth lessons, all learning outcomes, surveys, and quizzes to gather information was obtained.
The activities supported the development of students’ systematic problem solving, critical thinking, and analysis skills. They thought about daily matters, discussed, and came up with solutions. They have learned to value each other’s opinions by developing a positive attitude. Information and technology improved literacy.
They acquired creative thinking skills. Through art class, they had the opportunity to produce materials for visual communication. In cooperation, they produced rational solutions to problems.
Students became aware of threats to our environment and they developed environmentally friendly behavior. They have acquired skills and habits that will help keep the world beautiful and clean.
Schools switched to distance education due to the epidemic. For this reason, the events took place over the internet. The learning scenario has been adapted to distance education. It has been supported by some online tools. Generally, students and parents gave positive feedback on this diverse, informative approach and They supported the participation of students in STEM subjects.