University of Padua (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 4240-4247
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.1124
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
The educational project “How to be acrobats of time” offers the possibility to teach climate change to primary students. Science unequivocally confirms that the widespread and rapid climate changes induced by human activity on ecosystems will have an irreversible impact and could lead to the extinction of the human species: therefore, students facing these predictions should immediately implement their pro-environment actions by assuming the role of “acrobats of time”.

This educational project aspires to abandon the traditional approach to the discipline of science in favor of the IBSE, a student-centered methodology for the acquisition, construction and understanding of knowledge, that promotes a deeper understanding of climate change and contributes to the success of learning. Such approach is rooted in active learning and encouraging students’ motivation and participation, thanks to various teaching methods and approaches such as brainstorming, debates, discovery-based approach, jigsaw, metacognitive processes.

The educational path lasts twenty hours and can be taught by teachers of different disciplines, encouraging a transversal and holistic approach and developing the co-teaching methodology.

Throughout the first meeting, the teacher investigates students’ prior knowledge on climate change through Jimi Lee’s silent book “Our planet”, with the aim to understand which cognitive bias is fundamental to undermine. Students participate in their first two experiments to discover the negative effects of CO2 and the greenhouse effect.

During the second meeting, students experience how scientists have been studying the increase of gas emissions through the simulation of the process of analysis of an ice core.

In the third meeting, they get to know the Ed Hawkins’s chart “Warming stripes”, which allows to immediately visualize the changing temperatures in the last century. Students analyze the chart of their country and compare it with charts from other countries.

The fourth meeting is dedicated to reflecting on the phenomenon of deforestation, the role of trees and their importance; to do so, students take part in the creation of a big tree with the technique of frottage. Forests are home for a huge number of species: pupils, split in groups, do some research on these creatures and create an identikit.

In the fifth meeting, the teacher highlights other consequences of climate change, such as the arrival of alien species. Students discover the rapid increase of this species in specific places through the analysis of charts and maps, and then debate to find a solution for this problem.

In the sixth meeting, students understand the phenomenon of ice melting by taking part in an experiment focused on the sea level rise.

During the seventh meeting, students are engaged in a jig-saw activity where they confront different information from deniers and supporters of climate change and then debate about their discoveries and point of view.

After investigating causes and consequences of climate change, students get the chance to reflect on the already existing solutions as well as those which are yet to be found. Through a ludic approach, they learn responsible actions and register them in a billboard of their environmentally friendly behavior.

In conclusion, the educational project gives students the opportunity to understand the phenomenon of climate change and enact positive behaviors for the safeguard of the planet through an active learning.
Primary school, climate change, IBSE, active learning, educational project.