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).
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”
Investigating Sustainable Forestry with Lego Mindstorm Robots
This unit of work shows the benefits and principles of sustainable reforestation through situational outdoor learning which is reinforced by a robotic simulation. It aims to provide an engaging and meaningful engineering project to S3 learners. It has been built around the Third and Fourth Levels of Curriculum for Excellence to create a STEM orientated unit for Broad General Education. The unit draws on influences from Design Technology, Science and Maths resulting in a fully integrated interdisciplinary project.
You can download the poster for this unit here (pdf, 2MB).
Bats are the theme of this unit of work and which is aimed towards pupils in Secondary school education as part of their CfE 3rd / 4th level broad general education and developed in partnership with various external enterprises. The contextual theme for the unit is based around an authentic scenario of bats; the protection of them and their habitats; environmental impacts; bat roost construction; and outdoor learning.
Presenting the unit within an authentic context is derived from Situated Learning theory, where authenticity brings a coherent, personally meaningful and purpose to the unit of work whilst set within a social framework. This will promote pupils motivation, interest, engagement and cognitive learning. Continue reading “A Bat-tastic Journey”
The Natural Partners Project is a showcase and resource to support teachers in delivering appropriate learning in, of and using sustainability themes.
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