Vanilla is one of the most common and powerful ingredients found in many sweet treats worldwide, however, the story of its production is anything but vanilla! Being the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron; per kilo vanilla has a value greater than that of silver, which isn’t helped by the fact 80% of the world’s vanilla supply is grown by one island nation – Madagascar. During this unit of work, pupils will use a variety of interdisciplinary learning to understand the below topics of interest related to the overall sustainability of this fascinating orchid.
This poster will be presented at the RSE Conference on Interdisciplinary Learning in January.
Featured Image © Yarden Sachs CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
There are currently millions of pallets in circulation across the UK. The industry itself is worth over £260 million per year. After their initial use a variety of things can happen to a pallet: it can be discarded and put to landfill; reused multiple times and then put to landfill; refurbished, reused but it still ends up in landfill.
Up-cycling is a greener way of recycling, it only uses the individual’s energy. It helps to stop the linear path that the pallets are currently on and turns it into a cyclic process with little waste after manufacture. This unit is designed to encourage learners to take products that have become redundant or that are destined for the bin and create a new use for them.
For more details, download the presentation here (.pptx, 985KB).
This unit of work is designed to provide pupils with information on where their food comes from and how we can produce food for a sustainable future. Pupils will undertake a wide variety of activities to enhance their understanding of the topic and to develop valuable life skills. The topic will use active learning though discussion and outdoor learning to enable the pupils to develop a deeper and more personal understanding of the unit.
Pupils will also use enquiry skills to evaluate their own diets to lead them towards healthier life choices. Pupils will look at the local community and how the surrounding area has in the past provided sustainable food sources as well as how it can do this in the future. In this unit questioning will be used to guide and support topical discussions such as a debate on GM crops. Through this pupils will develop a wide range of skills relating to literacy, health and wellbeing and science. The topic will be linked to information that has been previously covered by other subject areas as well as topics yet to be covered in other subjects to provide an interdisciplinary experience for the pupils.
Download the poster here (pdf, 464KB).
The hedgehog population is in dramatic decline: numbers have declined by over a third between 2003 and 2012 through loss of habitats (fragmentation) and poor management of hedgerows. In this interdisciplinary project, learners will learn about the natural environment for a hedgehog and the importance of protecting the hedgehog species, and will design and manufacture a hedgehog house.
Download the project overview here (pptx, 820KB).
This unit of work engages young people in a project that is rich in scope but also grounded in a real world, authentic context that will be tangible to Scottish school children. Set in a fictional town in West Lothian, the project exposes learners to issues of sustainable development. This context will be pertinent to many living in towns that have suffered from industrial decline and are now seeking new identities as they expand with new housing and associated infrastructure. Based loosely on the new Heartlands development adjacent to Whitburn in West Lothian, which is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe; young people will learn about how the provision of power, housing and the treatment of waste can be a sustainable process.
One of the key learning theories employed in this unit is the use of an authentic learning context that has tangible links to life beyond school, particularly with regards to the world of work and global citizenship. Authenticity in education is the provision of learning experiences that relate to the lives of pupils and experiences that they are likely to encounter later in adult life (Hennessy and Murphy, 1999). It is argued by Snape & Foz-Turnbull (2013) that authentic projects which have ‘real-world’ contexts expose learners to a wider range of experiences that are transferable to the situations that they are likely to encounter in the workplace, therefore fostering a sense of responsibility for life beyond the classroom. Continue reading “Putting the Hope back in Hope Hill”
Bees have been in the news, if not back in the fields pollinating the summer crops. The plight of the honeybee has received national media coverage and has led to the Scottish Government implementing policies to promote their health and increase their numbers. This has led to an increase in the popularity of beekeeping as a hobby and to an increase in small enterprises producing, and selling, bee related products. In this project the learners will be asked to develop an understanding of the importance of the honey bee in relation to the world that we live in and to take an active role in the sustainable future of the species. The unit is developed in partnership with the Forestry Commission and can be further enhanced through the involvement of local bee keeping trusts. The culmination of this unit will be the manufacture of a workable beehive and its set up, and maintenance, as a honey producing colony. This will take place within a SQA National 4 Practical Woodwork project and will involve small task skill building lessons leading on to the big task of manufacturing the working beehive. Once the manufacture stage is complete the opportunity is there, in collaboration with the Forestry commission, to introduce a colony of bees, and once mature, sustainably farm the honey with a view to setting up a small enterprise in an SQA National 4 Business project.
You can download a presentation here (pptx, 1.9MB) and a poster here (pdf, 1.7MB).
This unit of work is designed to be taught at S3 broad general education (BGE) level over twelve sessions. It will look at red squirrel conservation in the forest whilst simultaneously highlighting the use of timber as a sustainable material which can be used to manufacture feeder boxes for these animals. The unit will explore the issues pertaining to the red squirrels’ current plight as an endangered native species and look into the methods conservationists are utilising in order to protect the species from extinction.
Red squirrel conservation and sustainable forestry have been selected as the foundations of this unit of work in order to inform the learners of the cyclical nature of the forestry which may hold the key to saving the native red squirrel population from extinction and which simultaneously provides timber which, when managed correctly, provides a sustainable material. Continue reading “Red Squirrel Feeder Box”