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'Inspire Concern for the Earth' a successful program for children in Upper Silesia, Poland

organisation
Polish Ecological Club (PKE) Upper Silesian Branch
pkeog@neostrada.pl
age group
12+
outcome

The program helps schools and other educational institutions to improve their effectiveness, raising their interests in environmental protection as well as giving them tools and materials to be used in their everyday activities.
The project goals are achieved during the three project phases
.

resources
 
task
First phase: Providing teachers with high-quality training covering monthly lectures, seminars, and workshops on issues connected with methodology of teaching and working with groups of pupils. The training covers topic such as:
• assertiveness how to cope with stress and critic,
• methodology of teamwork,
• methods of project management and their use in environmental education,
• case-study as a method to understand environmental phenomena,
• ecological photo-reporting as a method of describing events and phenomena,
• documentation and presentation of research results (reports, presentations, posters, multimedia, etc.),
• methodology of presentation of own achievements,
• strategies to use in solving problems.

Second phase: Extracurricular work with school students, working under the guidance of participating teachers. Students carry out their own environmental projects connected with one of the given thematic areas. During the last programme session, they were as follows:
• environmental problems in my region versus EU requirements in this field,
• searching humanistic and cultural, environmentally friendly examples,
• protection of earth climate,
• rational use of earth resources,
• creation of ecological awareness in the society.

Third phase: Wide presentation and promotion of projects:
Each group presents its project results during the Environmental Forum organized on the Earth Day. At these events, other pupils and teachers, their parents, and colleagues from other schools, as well as members of the local community, may observe the results of groups’ activities and vote for one project to represent the school in the Programme Grand Finale.

Energy Topic Examples:

Among different topics of students’ projects, some of them are connected with sustainable energy and climate change. Two examples are presented below:

Green Coal
The main goal of this project was to show how much energy is included in biomass and how people can use this kind of energy. The first part of their job was to collect the information resources on renewable energy, Polish potential in this field, and processes of biomass preparation and use. The next step was to prepare a special CD presentation with teaching materials and lesson scenarios. This CD was widely circulated among teachers and used by them successfully. Students from the Technical School in Czestochowa have been working on this project.

Climate Change – Problems and Threats
The objectives of this project were to raise awareness about climate change among children, young people, and adults, and to reduce gas emission from schools. The final product of this project was a website, (www.efektcieplarniany.prv.pl). This project was prepared by a school boy from the Primary School in Myslowice. The young author of this website was extremely proud that he really succeeded in making it. He had to learn a lot about climate change, but he also learnt how to prepare websites.

evaluation

The presentation of the best student projects and works is held on 5th June as a part of the World Environmental Protection Day. In the last celebration, over 700 students and their teachers took part, as well as the representatives of local and regional authorities, Members of Parliament from Silesia region, and institutions and organisations supporting the environmental protection and educational projects. The events are also widely covered by regional and local media. In the last edition (school year 2003/2004), 120 teachers and their pupils from 48 schools situated in 32 Upper Silesian cities took part.

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