The media is all around us, and informs our opinions and impressions of the world every day. This is especially true for science reporting, and children should know how to regard media representations of scientific discoveries, theories and public information with a critical eye. This sequence of lessons aims to facilitate pupils’ deeper engagement with such content.
This poster will be presented at the RSE Conference on Interdisciplinary Learning in January.
Featured Image © NASA 1969, modified with original photo © Nick Hood 2011
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).
In this unit we will be looking back at the history of Scottish forests, looking first at the ways in which the trees first populated Scotland after the last ice age. From there we will look at events which have impacted upon forest populations before looking at how the forests of today are used now. Pupils will be encouraged to research topics of interest. The main focus of this unit will be climate change and how this will effect our forests. This unit will also deal with a theoretical situation in which the ice has melted from the polar ice caps and places such as Greenland.
Download the poster here (pdf, 806KB).
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).
Focusing on carbon capture in this unit of work the learners will adapt a “wood is good” approach and understand that trees take in CO2 and trap the carbon content within it. Through IDL the learners will explore the carbon content within different types of wood. By calculating the carbon content plus the hours spent on an electrical device the learners can work out how much Sitka spruce will be needed to trap their carbon emissions for one week.
The unit aims to promote outdoor learning and so the learners must produce a toy which can be used outdoors. The learners will gain an understanding of carbon capture, carbon footprint, climate change and sustainability, all the while learning the work of a designer and increasing their woodworking skills.
Download the poster by clicking on the thumbnail (jpg, 863KB).
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).
Throughout Earth’s history its development has been dictated by natural occurrences, even where these events have been destructive. However, particularly since the Industrial Revolution Humanity’s negative impact on the environment such as through the release of greenhouse gases has been steadily increasing. With the worldwide population now having exceeded 7 billion, it is estimated that on average each person worldwide uses the equivalent resources of 3.5 Earths whilst every person in the UK uses the equivalent of 1.5 Earths. With the population worldwide set to increase over the next few decades the current situation is unsustainable and must be addressed. This unit aims to introduce sustainability over the course of a total of 12 lessons and assumes that participants have little knowledge of climate change. The awareness of climate change and its associated issues will be built-up throughout the unit leading to the opportunity for pupils to present their findings, etc. Elements of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are present to varying degrees throughout the proposed lessons and are designed to be flexible should new content be introduced. The tasks also have a multitude of learning opportunities, including: group work, communication development via presentations & discussions, guided research tasks and practical activities. Transferable skills are also developed with links made to engineering and the chance to plan a conservation project offered. The Curriculum for Excellence encourages outdoor learning, the promotion of sustainability and multidisciplinary learning and this unit aims to meet these criteria.
Download the poster here (pdf, 615KB).
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).