Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project…for citizens

Authors: Mario De Mauro, Milva Antonelli, Daniela Fiorentini, Massimiliano Loroni

Introduction

Our learning scenario (LS) is centred on an existing topic, Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Bearing in mind that learning engagement is a good predictor of success, we are convinced that a real-life topic can stimulate students’ commitment around school subjects. If pupils have interests related to the topic, that is both tangible and related to their lives, school activities could also be more appealing for them to participate and gain new awareness and comprehension that go beyond notional knowledge.

Why did we choose this topic? There are more than one reason. First of all, it is a relevant part of our curriculum since it has been introduced by Italian Ministry Guidelines on Civics published according to the law n. 92 promulgated on 20th August 2019, titled “Introduzione dell’insegnamento scolastico dell’educazione civica”. Accordingly, Italian schools have had to organize a cross curricular course focused on three core subjects: Italian Constitution, Sustainability and Digital Citizenship.

Secondly, our point of view has changed since the pandemic has occurred. Now, we are aware that we may not be able to control the consequences, which are trigger by man-made forcing. Science is telling us that our lives cannot continue this way, changes have to be made. As adults we find the current situation quite challenging due to sudden modification of our habits, needless to say for a child or an adolescent. As teachers we are in charge to lead young people to cope with these challenges. We must stimulate and promote their agency, let them know that they have the ability and the will to positively influence their own lives and the environment around them! The way to do this is to build a safe and stimulating school community, to help them to actively explore their resources, to invest energy in STEM learning, to use their creativity, and to encourage them to maximise their potential.

Prologue

Where should we start to enter our story? First, the design of the activity was a great opportunity to work as a team with colleagues and to put into practice all the knowledge gained during the online course. Yes, we are talking about the MOOCs provided by European Schoolnet Academy, it all started from there and the need to come up with a different approach to teaching. Even if lockdown has represented a new milestone in the teaching habits of all teachers, we were even more motivated to promote Active Learning in the classrooms.

We took several courses, but “STEM Is Everywhere! Rerun” & “Integrated STEM Teaching for Secondary Schools” in particular, were MOOCs both challenging and intrinsically satisfying. Finally, it was during the workshop organized by Future Classroom Lab, namely “Active Learning in Hybrid Classroom”, that we found the last piece of the missing puzzle: the use of virtual rooms for teamwork in small groups, the use of tools for instant polling and gamification. We would keep our words: to give students a say and a role even in online classes. The design of activities and tasks are therefore important to create educative interactions involving also the timid and reluctant students to participate. Without further ado, undo, we shall move on to the next step.

Materials and methods

The main idea is to provide students with opportunities to learn and discuss the meaningful aspects of the topic and then, to design an effective climate action that they are to require to carry out. We started introducing information and material such as charts, videos, and infographic, available in the UN websites  related to the Paris Agreement, the action programme Agenda2030 and the Sustainable Development Goal 13. Then we moved on to explore the evidence of global warming, of which the IPCC web site provides informative and comprehensible charts. The subsequent step was to explore the correlation between technological progresses, growth of global population, exploitation of natural resources over time and in different continents. To achieve this, OurWorldinData web site is a useful source with comparable charts and data. Finally, we deepened the understanding of the scientific principle behind the greenhouse effect by using a free simulation on the PHET online platform.

You can find all the resources that we used in this Site, LS included. With the aim to design a transdisciplinary activity we have used an absolutely useful resource, the STE(A)MIT template.

Home page of the

Our activities involved 62 students of the last year of the upper secondary school and took place between the 1st of March 2021 and the 26th of April 2021 during the lockdown, so they were held online using the Learning Management System that provided each member of our school community with tools for online learning.

According to Laurillard Conversational Frameworks, we tried to plan well balanced activities and tasks to train different abilities and to address different learning styles. Each Teaching Learning Activities (TLA) was designed giving students the opportunity to receive feedback on their products, to acquire new information through different kinds of tasks, to work and discuss with classmates and teachers. In particular, virtual rooms were used to allow students to work in small groups. Each group activity was designed with the aim to create opportunity for teamwork.

At the end of each lesson, an “End Lesson Survey” was conducted. Usually, it was divided into two sections; the first containing open questions which help students to reflect on their comprehension and knowledge gained. Questions could vary according to the type of activity. The second section was structured to allow students to provide feedback on the materials given and on the teacher’s explanation. It also allowed the opportunity for the students to give suggestions to improve the whole activity.

But now let’s have a look at our experience!

In the first meeting digital questionnaires were delivered to the students to test their current knowledge; then the teacher explained the objectives of the project and the task to be accomplished, which was to design a manifesto to attract interest of other students/citizens on Climate Change and tips to save carbon budget.

The second meeting was a brainstorming session: students watched videos introducing causes and effects of global warming and answered questions aimed to link previous knowledge gained, to information shown on the video. The questions were answered individually first and then within the groups. By discussing the answers, the main ideas on the topics were collected and teachers would guide the students by correcting misconceptions or integrating information. The teacher provided materials for asynchronous detailed study on Climate Change, Greenhouse Effect, Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement.

Some students’ answers

The third meeting was a Team-based Learning Activity: students took individual Readiness Assurance Tests. The test provided automatic feedback containing instructions and links to guide the student. Then, they repeated the test in groups. They dealt with peers to answer the questions by pooling their knowledge. To engage group discussion, the test was carried out on Quizziz platform. This tool created an opportunity to participate in a team challenge. The test was split into four different quiz sessions, one for each subject: Agenda 2030 and SDG13, Paris Agreement, Greenhouse effect and climate change. In this way it was possible to retain a high level of students’ participation.

The fourth meeting tasks was based on contents of Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs’s talk: students watched the video at home, and they took note of the most important notions. The class activity got the students to answer ten open-ended questions based on the video content, which pupils answered in groups. Secondly, each member was asked to elaborate the answers individually by filling in his/her own Google Form. This way, the teacher could identify misconceptions and provide timely feedback or explain further to confute wrong ideas.

The fifth meeting implied the use of an online Greenhouse Effect Simulation – sensemaking by observing photons: this is a guided Inquiry Based Activity where students discovered interaction of photons with molecules in earth’s atmosphere and surface using a simulator model on Phet Active Simulation platform. Teachers guided the students in the activity, inviting them to follow instructions. These were initially designed by Amy Rouinfar and then reassessed by the teachers to match all the planned learning goals. The results in terms of summary and conclusions were corrected by the teachers and a final, detailed explanation was given to the students together with text and videos for a better comprehension.

Skype an expert: This activity was made possible thanks to the University of Camerino in collaboration with University of Turin. The students participated in a meeting with a UN Climate Change Expert, Dr. Andrea Camponagara whose speech was aimed to highlight the main aspects of his career as a Programme Officer at UNFCCC Secretariat. Students were encouraged to ask questions on the topic.

Skype an expert: flyer of the seminar

Infographic design (teachers set an agreement with pupils to establish a deadline): Each group has been asked to design a poster or an infographic summarizing all the information gathered. Students were aware of the criteria used to evaluate their work. They were also provided with materials to get information on how to design an infographic. The assignment has been provided with all information needed, criteria for self-assessment and peer assessment, with regards to commitment and preparation on the design of the activity. In addition, students were required to learn how to use images and citations to avoid plagiarism.

Peer review activity (teachers set an agreement with pupils to establish a deadline): Each member of the group was in charge of evaluating their peers’ infographics according to the rubric criteria. The aim was to deepen comprehension of both contents and assessment criteria, so they were better equipped in completing the task. Students were asked to leave constructive feedback for their peers. To achieve this aim, instructions were provided to improve pupils’ ability to objectively highlight the strengths and weaknesses to their peers, offering suggestions to improve the infographic.

Infographic evaluation: Taking into consideration the feedback received during the peer review activity, students could make any changes to their work before presenting it to the teachers. Teachers then evaluated the posters/infographics according to the rubric criteria. We evaluated also the students’ ability to self-assess and peer-assess. Each student was also asked to assess his/her own and their group mates’ commitment, according to the criteria provided.

Some students’ infographics

Assessment

We used formative assessment as the main type of assessment and it was quite useful in evidencing misconception from pupils. Thanks to the use of LMS, it was also possible to check if each student has fulfilled the asynchronous task properly and within the deadline. In the light of results, it was possible to have a profile of all students’ needs with regards to the project and to provide both personal feedback and materials to acquire deeper competence on subjects. In this way it was possible to focus on those that appear as relevant gaps to learning goals.

The use of “end lesson surveys” was extremely useful to understand students’ comprehension. Students expressed their perceptions obtained from the materials given to them and from the teachers’ explanation. They were also capable of pointing out areas which they did not understand completely. To achieve this aim, they needed to reflect on the activities being carried out. This process was useful for fostering their metacognitive skills and for aiding students to orientate their efforts toward academic success. Survey responses were also helpful to identify any students who express further interest in the topic.

Conclusion

In conclusion, according to Partnership for the 21st Century framework (P21) we tried to develop creativity, life and career skills, information e media literacy, soft and hard skills, by mixing one of the most important topics of our century to the core of the subjects we teach. It goes without saying that this is just a start to innovate teaching. Collaboration among teachers must be systematic and the frequency of such learning scenarios should be significant during the whole period of training of students, with the aim of growing benefits and results. Both students and teachers need time to fine tune their effort to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

On the other hand, it is clear that even if demanding, this pedagogical approach can stimulate the whole school community. Teachers must design engaging, meaningful and feasible activities and tasks for the students, avoiding too challenging stimuli. Accordingly, Formative Assessment is fundamental to design a personalized learning pattern. In this way, pupils have the chance to develop competencies enthusiastically, due to the engaging activities which are both intrinsically rewarding and interactive. As mentioned earlier on, as teachers we were implicitly stimulated, the teamwork and the eagerness to see our efforts being acknowledged in the community to which we are tied to, have given us a further will to improve our results.

We don’t Throw, We Transform

Resources are used unconsciously due to industrialization and urbanization. Therefore, domestic waste is increasing. The increasing waste problem affects the individual, family and society negatively.
With the eTwinning projects I carried out at my school, we aimed to raise awareness about making our world more livable by controlling waste. We reused various wastes (glass, plastic, paper, food, etc.) generated in our house. We enabled students to gain awareness of recycling and to transfer this awareness to their environment.

OBJECTIVES

  1. To increase the awareness of students about recycling.
  2. Understanding that not every waste is garbage.
  3. To ensure that they are individuals who love and care about nature.
  4. It enables them to find solutions to the problems they encounter in daily life.
  5. Learns to use available resources without wasting.
  6. Gains environmental awareness at a young age.
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Let’s make our school a Growing place!

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Class

Nature-based solutions have the potential to bring numerous benefits to a range of sustainability challenges facing cities. While contributing to economic activities and social well-being, they can help limit the effects of climate change, increase biodiversity and improve environmental quality.

For this purpose, we wanted to involve our students in green solutions at an early age. Thus, they will be familiar with the issue of green space spread and will be able to contribute to building a sustainable, healthy, and resilient city that is better adapted to climate change.

To do this, “Let’s make our school a Growing place!” We did activities in the classroom using the learning scenario. One of 15 original NBS Learning Scenarios.

Overview

School: Konya Ereğli Science and Art Center, Turkey
Participants: 8 years old – 20 students
Application: 04 – 15 April 2021
Subject Science, Art, BT, English
Subject: Green spaces and urban transformation

Integration into the curriculum:

Science:

  • To have compassionate and respectful attitudes towards the natural and social environment.
  • Observing important moments in the life of plants.

The English:

  • texts with visual support.
  • Interacting with a partner (to ask and tell).
  • Copying and writing words and simple sentences.
  • Develop a comprehensive vocabulary repertoire within context.

Art and ICT:

  • Use computers, tablets, and online tools.
  • Observe and think.
  • Create and design.
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LOVE THE WORLD, PROTECT YOURSELF

SUMMARY

Global Warming occurs as a result of the various activities of people in our world. The main theme of our project is to create environmental protection awareness in our students and to raise awareness about climate change in students. In order to achieve this, we will carry out various activities related to recycling.

OBJECTIVES

  • To give the students in our class love of nature
  • To understand that nature and the animals in nature have a right to life
  • To teach the effects of climate change on living spaces of living things
  • To increase the awareness that some of the waste from our homes will be recycled
  • Solving problems they encounter in daily life according to engineering design stages (STEM).
  • Creating Nature-Based Solutions

TIME: 

Three weeks

PROBLEM STATUS:

What activities can we do to prevent environmental pollution in our world? We will organize recycling activities with our students to find an answer to this question.

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Together We Can Make a Difference

“The world is not ours. We belong to the world.”

This event used “Together We Can Make a Difference“, one of the 11 original STE (A) M IT Learning Scenarios. The event was held with 20 students between the ages of 8-9. Turkey started distance education on 15 March 2021. For this reason, the activity was carried out with distance education. The training was done through ZOOM.

INTRODUCTION

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:

  1. Natural science
  2. Mathematics
  3. Physics

Non-STEM subjects:

  1. Language
  2. Art

Aims of the lesson

Students will:

  • 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:

Learning 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.

Technology skills

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.

Time

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Scheduled subjects – The screenshot belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

Activities

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?

1st Lesson

“The world is not ours. We belong to the world.”

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.

2nd Lesson

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.

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What the future brings – our stories ebook – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

3nd Lesson

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;

  1. How does a dirty environment affect our health?
  2. 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

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How Should We Take Care of the Environment? – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

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.

Students used the postermywall site to create their posters.

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Eco-messages – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

4nd Lesson

This activity started by watching a video about renewable energy and energy sources.

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Video about renewable energy and energy sources – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

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)

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Digital Board Work Created by Students – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

The students were given the task of building a windmill. Also Creating a short video explaining wind power.

Student Designs – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

5nd Lesson

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.

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Invoice Analysis and Savings – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

6nd Lesson

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.

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Environment in the eyes of the students after 30 years – The photo belongs to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

Evaluation

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.

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Kahoot! – The screenshots belong to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

Formative evaluation

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.

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Şerife Takmaz

All visuals, photos and screenshots belong to the Author – Attribute CC-BY