Successful models of climate-focused project-based learning exist around the world
Academics have been using project-based learning to equip students with necessary life skills through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems for quite some time. According to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) mentions, with PBL, students can “investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex problem or challenge.” The highly successful student-centered pedagogy model is not only proven to sustain kids’ attention but also helps them become self-sufficient, creative, and, most importantly, critical thinkers.
Benefits of project-based learning
Due to the many benefits of PBL, academics all over the world started to introduce different models of climate-focused project-based learning in order to prepare students for a prepare them for the project-based world, stimulate intrinsic curiosity, and help them develop a strong personal connection to climate solutions to not only reduces their overall lifetime carbon footprint but also aspire them to provide educated solutions.
From solar-powered “floating schools,” in Bangladesh where students were called to help put their science and math lessons to good use to prevent flooding by monsoons to disrupt their school year to hydroponics-based “floating farms”, the successful models of climate-focused project-based learning are many!
Examples of successful models of climate-focused project-based learning around the world
Kingsmead Secondary School in the UK in collaboration with the Green Schools Project offered students a brand new way to engage and actively help the environment with viable solutions through student-led projects. Together, they participated in recycling competitions, created vegetable gardens, launched an energy campaign, and encouraged a “walk to school” initiative. After one year, their collective efforts managed to reduce the amount of landfill waste by 45% and, over the course of 5 years, the school saved over $50,000 in energy costs.
Washington State’s ClimeTime initiative in the US authorized a state-legislated investment in teacher professional development to inspire academics to include climate-focused project-based learning into their schedule. These small teacher-to-teacher learning groups were focused on brainstorming ways to help students through various activities like discussing locally relevant phenomena or starting argument-driven instruction models to give them real-life.
PBL has been introduced to schools in sub-Saharan Africa as well to empower young women to sharpen their leadership skills and educate themselves on climate activism. In Camfred, for example, women can take part in nonformal peer-to-peer project-based learning around the topics of climate-smart agriculture, gender inequality, and poverty-related issues through community workshops. Also, the Uganda-based activist Vanessa Nakate is on a mission to install solar cookstoves in schools through her Rise up Climate Movement.
The takeaway: Climate-focused project learning can empower youth to actively participate in the fight against the crises
Climate-focused project-based learning is very beneficial to academics, students, and local communities alike. Take primary school students in Nigeria as an example. A recent study conducted that students who participated in the program designed to help understand and address local environmental problems performed way better than those who participate in the control group. This is no surprise given that the green learning agenda has already shown enough evidence to support the benefits of climate change education strategies and climate-focused project-based learning.
Author: Konstantina Antoniadou
Originally written for Kapes.co