teach earth & discover earth 2018 l e t t h e e a r t h b e y o u r c l a s s r o o m
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o c t o b e r 2 0 1 8 a year of muddy adventures welcome to our latest education newsletter celebrating a really exciting year of improved training and activities for teachers and educators. this year, we launched our new website to articulate how we are empowering people to save the planet whilst engaging them in critical environmental issues such as the declining health of our oceans and rivers, the impacts of climate change, and the loss of wildlife. fundamental to this is helping the next generation understand these challenges by providing opportunities to engage in real scientific research and have memorable learning experiences outdoors. a huge thank you to all who participated, whether through immersing yourself on a teach earth weekend or getting hands-on with citizen science in your school with discover earth. this year, we were delighted to train teachers and students from the rolling welsh valleys to the east end of london. thanks to your support, earthworm watch – a project launched to map the abundance of earthworms in different soils – collected over 660 data sets and trained over 300 teachers and 1,700 students in survey methods. earthworm watch has ended, but we are now piloting exciting activities as part of naturehood, our new community wildlife project. naturehood aims to encourage action from individuals, schools and community groups to monitor and help local wildlife in gardens, school grounds and public green spaces. read on as we share inspiring stories from teachers in the field, resources, lesson plans and links to help you continue your journey with us. features 2018 round up sdgs in the classroom outdoor learning & citizen science from the students introducing ben & danielle our 2018 super teachers what next for 2019? e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 1
2018 round-up what were the best bits? who have we been working with? 279 educators 19 schools 1,986 students directly 2,760 students indirectly e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 2 “there are lots of ways i can incorporate what i have learnt in my practice. i feel motivated to enable children to take inspiration from nature, as i did with teach earth.” heather clarke, te team 3“it's been an excellent experience that has exposed me to the environment and given me a number of ideas moving forward, both professionally and personally. furthermore, it has exposed me to wildlife outside of london and placed further emphasis on the importance of looking after nature and the environment.” “very worthwhile to take time out to reflect and learn about teaching sustainability. reminded of the real importance of outdoor experiences for all of us, including pupils. great to meet and share ideas with like- minded people and find ways to inspire pupils and be part of global initiatives. useful things learned to inspire and enhance teaching and learning.” “fantastic setting, inspiring and thought-provoking. i particularly found the opening nature stories session a really fantastic opportunity to think about how childhood experiences directly impact your understanding and level of engagement with environmental issues.” bradley fields, te team 3sharon pilbeam, te team 4kathryn butler-jones, te team 3
the sdgs school activity: the sdg challenge your feedback 91% 91% e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 3 the sustainable development goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. they address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. the sdgs interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each goal and target by 2030.each month select one goal to focus on. for this month, students are set 3 key areas to work on as individuals, classes, teams or houses. the students track their progress and the ones either achieving the most or being the most creative win the monthly challenge. some targets you could trysdg 6: clean water and sanitation - when cleaning your teeth, turn the tap off whilst you brush. sdg 12: responsible consumption and production - when at home or school make sure you turn off lights and electrical appliances when you're not using them. sdg 14: life below water always use a reusable water bottle and carrier bag.lots more ideas & resources to engage your students in the sustainable development goals can be found online by searching for: the worlds largest lesson.of teachers reported an increase in confidence in teaching the sdgs after attending teach earth training. of teachers surveyed reported an increase in their knowledge of the sdgs after attending teach earth training.
the sdgs the sdgs in birmingham resources & news lesson plans books & resources in the news e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 4 in actioncommunity focused public engagement is a powerful way to bring research closer to the community that it serves. the encompass (engaging communities, publics and society) project led by birmingham university aims to build on this concept by seeking to equip and enable communities to take ownership and drive change. the earthwatch education team worked with encompass and the kohja shia ithna-asheri muslim community of birmingham to help their youth members explore their local wildlife, further understand their connection to the natural world and how to take action to protect it. the day was framed with an introduction to the un sustainable development goals and finished with the youth group identifying their personal pledge to take action for the planet and the sdgs. here are a few suggestions of lesson plans and resources to help you and your students bring the sustainable development goals to life. click on the titles to access more information. can uk co-ops help achieve the sdgsteaching the sdgs sdgs in action the little book of sdgs what world do you want in 2030? what to do with the global goals in my daily life? life below water – marine litter eight ideas on reporting against the sdgsclean water at school, health risks for students
outdoor learning we asked the public earlier this year earthwatch and hartleys conducted a survey of 1,000 british parents to better understand how they feel about outdoor learning. 82% 60% 1/4 1/3 2/3 1/3 your feedback 94% 97% e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 5 • although 82% of the parents surveyed deemed it important that their children spend time outside, 60% of the parents said their children are spending less than one hour outside a day. • one in four parents surveyed didn’t know how long their children spend outdoors each day. • a quarter of parents said their children have below average knowledge of the natural world, but a third report better behaviour in their children with outdoor learning. • almost two-thirds of parents stated that outdoor learning is good for both their child’s well-being and their education. • over a third of the parents felt that their children need more outdoor learning. of teachers reported an increase in their knowledge of citizen science after attending teach earth training. of teachers reported an increase in their confidence in teaching citizen science after attending teach earth training.
citizen science outdoor classroom day in wales the next outdoor classroom day is 23rd may 2019 if you'd like us to come out to your school to run activities on the day get in touch with the team! resources & news lesson plans books & resources in the news e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 6 in actionon the 17th may the education team were out at st gwladys bargoed school in south wales for outdoor classroom day. the team ran a discover earth roadshow, including an assembly introducing the sustainable development goals, the importance of biodiversity and how the students can take action for the planet. we then got outside where the students got a chance to have a go at two citizen science projects; earthworm watch and freshwater watch. it was a fantastic day, and we even filmed our new discover earth promo video, make sure to check it out on our website! here are a few lesson plans and resources to assist you in taking the classroom outdoors to strengthen your students' connection to nature. click on the titles to access more information. why children should be taught outdoorsinspiring school designs from around the world students take a break from screens for outdoor classroomday learning in your forest – english lesson plan exploring nature with inaturalist outdoor classroom dayforest school in practice: for all ages - sara knight the natural navigator - tristan gooley wilding: the return of nature to a british farm - isabella tree
from the students what do the students think? e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 7 “there are 17 sdgs and they are used to make our world a cleanplace. we have to complete them by 2030.” nasrat, virginia primary school “you should follow the goals to make life better!” aman, virginia primary school “there are 17 goals and you can help!” nancy, rushmore primary school what are the sustainable development goals?“life below water because we eat fishes and they eat plastic sowe eat it.” aman, virginia primary school “equality (16): everyone has to be equal no matter what and it willensure everyone gets food.” nancy, rushmore primary school “i think climate action is the most important because as humanswe have a big responsibility and if we blow that, all life forms willperish.” clara, rushmore primary school what is the most important sdg and why?what is citizen science and why is it important?“i learnt that anyone really can find out data. i think helpingscientists is important because people can get into science.” hannah, wolvercote primary school “citizen science can help scientists change the world!” ella, wolvercote primary school “citizen science is people who are not scientists helping themwhich makes their jobs easier. you can discover new things andgive them more time to find something new.” zaynah, virginia primary school
introducing our 2018 super teachers ben sperring, director of teaching school, letta teach earth trainee lead and discover earth roadshow host how long have you been teaching? a little over 10 years. what inspired you to become a teacher? i was inspired to become a teacher by some very amazing teachers that taught me. those that i have really fond memories of always encouraged me to ask big questions, learn by exploring and to follow my interests. a neighbour was a teacher. we used to talk about teaching. she would share her collection of picture books with me and, when i was a bit older, invited me to volunteer in her classroom. this helped me to make the decision that i wanted to be a teacher. given that we are an inner city school, some of the children we teach may have few opportunities to spend time outside enjoying nature. if we can provide more of these, we should. what motivated you to bring your trainee teachers on teach earth? i’m very passionate about primary science and about getting it right. it should be practical, exploratory and fun. it should encourage children to ask questions and not just accept that something is the way it is simply because someone tells you it is. teach earth seems to share this ethos and it felt like a very good fit for our initial teacher training programme. it also opens our trainees’ eyes to the potential benefits of learning outside the classroom and might even inspire them to take learning outside. what do you think the trainees gain from attending? i think it builds a trainee’s confidence to take learning outside the classroom. they are able to take away two or three practical activities that they can use with children straight away. if these are a success, they might consider taking learning outside more often. why do you think it’s important that students learn outdoors in schools? learning outdoors encourages children to be healthy and active. it develops their understanding of nature and the world around them. research has linked outdoor learning opportunities to pupils’ well-being. given that we are an inner city school, some of the children we teach may have few opportunities to spend time outside enjoying nature. if we can provide more of these, we should. what impact do you think it has on students? children can take risks outdoors. this encourages the development of risk-assessment, which is an important life skill. it is also known to develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem. learning outdoors connects children to nature and their local environment, developing a sense of responsibility. it affords children the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills in a real-life context. what do you think of citizen science as an activity in schools? i think citizen science is a great way to engage children in real-life science that may lead to a breakthrough. it’s a way of giving science in schools a real purpose. it brings science in to context and this is important for learning. children could potentially see the impact of their work somewhere down the line. do you plan on using the un sustainable development goals in your teaching? if so, how? i will certainly make an effort to do so. the sdgs encourage a real sense of citizenship and global responsibility. i can see how they would fit very sensibly with the good work schools already undertake around citizenship and the holistic development of the child. e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 8
danielle self, attended a discover earth hub day and became a discover earth roadshow lead teacher idris davies school 3-18, south wales how long have you been teaching? i am in my 5th year of teaching. this is my 4th year at idris davies 3-18 (previously pontlottyn primary) what inspired you to become a teacher? what motivated you to attend the hub day? i loved work experience at a local school when i was 15/16. i then went on to study an early years degree at university where i gained lots of experience within the classroom which motivated me to become a teacher. i appreciated watching children grow and develop throughout the year and it was exciting to be a part of that. seeing that ‘light bulb’ moment in pupils has to be one of the most motivational and inspirational moments in teaching. students appreciate the outdoors more when they have a greater understanding about it... due to moving to a new school site in january 2018 after our school amalgamated with 2 other local schools, we had more outdoor areas to utilize. attending the hub day was a great way of gaining new, fresh ideas to take back to our new school and share with new and old colleagues as well as getting pupils using our new environment. what motivated you to host a roadshow? i knew that if i enjoyed the sessions then the children would definitely! who doesn’t love getting muddy, learning about the environment and getting close to nature whilst working with their friends and having fun!? plus we want to make the most of the space we now have on offer to us at the new school site. why do you think it’s important that students learn outdoors in schools? some children spend too much time on hand held devices and not enough time outdoors. it is important for them to know about their locality, to spend time learning about nature hands-on rather than looking at a screen or at it through a window. children need to be outdoors in fresh air and sometimes this isn’t an option when they go home so it is important for us to provide opportunities for this in school. opportunities outdoors in school will leave children with memories that they will have for a long time. what impact do you think it has on students? students appreciate the outdoors more when they have a greater understanding about it, which in turn will help us and them to look after the environment, becoming more active global citizens in the future. children could see that being outdoors keeps them happy and healthy too. also if they are outdoors, they are usually with someone else so it means their social skills, problem solving and creativity skills and language and literacy skills are also being developed. what do you think of citizen science as an activity in schools? it gives children the opportunity to visit scientific research, enquiry and investigate what may be happening around them, contributing what they find to others, which develops their understanding of collaborating. children get to work together in school on something real and hands on, giving them first hand experiences whilst learning about the world around them and collecting data. do you plan on using the un sustainable development goals in your teaching? if so, how? i try to incorporate the un sdgs through my topics at different points of the year, for example we are looking at man-made and natural materials as part of science so we will look at sdg ‘life on land’ and ‘climate action’. e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 9
tell a friend want to get your friends and colleagues involved? we are now taking bookings for the next season of discover earth hub days and roadshows. if you think a friend or colleague would be interested in attending, get them booked in for 2019! teach earth dates for 2019 booking will open january 2019! oxfordshire may 10th -12th june 14th -16th june 28th -30th (private) july 5th - 7th scotland may - dates tbc more information about our teach earth programme and locations can be found on our website. dates are subject to change. discover earth dates for 2019 don't forget, the education team can come out to your school to run a whole day of outdoor activities with your students - it's free! alternatively, work with us to bring together a group of teachers from your local area to share skills, knowledge and new ideas for taking the classroom outdoors with a hub day. discover earth school visits are booked upon request, just get in touch with the education team to pick a date that best suits you. sign up now at: earthwatch.org.uk/get-involved/education-and-schools e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 1 0
what next for 2019 children living today are the citizens, scientists and business leaders of the future. instilling in our children a love of the outdoors, along with an understanding of the scientific process and the need for sustainable solutions, will lay the foundations for sustainable behaviour in the decades to come. we believe that working together is essential to tackling threats to the natural world: the impacts of climate change, the declining health of our rivers and oceans, and the loss of wildlife and habitats. despite evidence of the value of outdoor science education, there is a marked decline in the quantity of fieldwork that is provided within the uk, often due to lack of confidence, perceived risk, cost, curriculum pressures and assessment. a 2016 natural england report found that during 2013-2015 only 8% of school-aged children (aged 6-15) in england visited the natural environment with their schools in an average month. out & about with earthwatch earthwatch events year, including environmental debates, comedy evenings, film festivals and much more. earthwatch hosts a number of events throughout the the full programme of events for 2019 will be announced in the new year. events you'll find us at... 9-12 january 2019 ase conference 9-11 april 2019 geography association conference 6-8 june 2019 primary science education conference to find out more about our events and to sign up for tickets visit: earthwatch.org.uk we are excited to continue to grow our teach earth and discover earth programmes with an aim to improve teacher confidence in outdoor learning through providing structured and robust real-science activities. sharing these with students can provide a tangible link between science, nature and the environment by increasing awareness and knowledge of local and global environmental issues. we would like to say a big thank you to everyone for supporting and engaging our programmes and community through 2018! we’re very excited for new things in the coming year and look forward to working together to continue to take the classroom outdoors and inspire action for a sustainable future. the education team e d u c a t i o n n e w s l e t t e r 1 1
creating knowledge. inspiring action. s o c i a l m e d i a e a r t h w a t c h e u r o p e e a r t h w a t c h e u r o p e @ e a r t h w a t c h _ e u r c o n t a c t u s 256 mayfield house, oxford, ox2 7de email@example.com www.earthwatch.org.uk/get- involved/education-and-schools 01865 318808