Curriculum linked projects

Innerwick Primary

WW2 cross curricular mixed age project.

This project linked many areas of the curriculum together to focus on the schools topic in their long term planning of World War Two. It involved all the school and worked towards an end product of an afternoon of different activities which the children would circulate around and people in the community were invited to.

Activities on the day included;

Oral history collection.

Oral histories were collected using audio recording and these were then edited down to produce short films of older residents talking about their time living as children during the war and post war era. This focused on the life of children back then and the relationship people had to resources and limiting waste.

Prior to the day pupils constructed questions to ask and older residents were invited in by the school to be interviewed for the oral history but also to be part of the other activities on the day to integrate the generations. Links to some of the oral histories collected are here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quoPTO74da0&t=21s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IZpdUFb6fw&t=32s

Making scones using sour milk

This was to show the children how waste items were used practically so as not to throw them away because resources were scarce in the war.

Darning and patching clothes.

Children were introduced to the concept and practice of darning and patching clothes. This session aimed to show the children more practical skills people used in order to use resources for as long as possible.

Learning games and songs used during the war.

Games children played were taught to the children so they could get a flavour of life in the war and the resources children had to make games from. The songs were sung at the end of the day with the guests to celebrate the day and to give a flavour of the music of the time to the children. They learnt these songs in the weeks leading up to the event in Music lessons.

CRNS competition the next big idea. Information on the CRNS competition to come up with the next recycling idea in Scotland was circulated to all the schools by the projects Education Officer and Innerwick decided to enter and  invited the project’s Education Officer to the school  to talk about the results of the waste audit and about recycling in general to initiate them starting to think of ideas for the competition.

The children were fascinated by the fact that crisp packets take such a long time to break down in landfill sites so decided to base their idea on thinking of a better solution to the issue of unrecyclable crisp packets.

The school worked on this idea after the session and put together their entry as a whole school activity. The school were joint winners of this competition in Scotland.

Health and Wellbeing

This cross curricular project involved the whole school and was focused on their Health and Wellbeing topic to make a difference to their environment in their community and create community links. The Pupil Council came up with ideas of how they wanted to link with specific businesses and organisations in their community and businesses were approached to see how they wanted to be involved with the school long term. These ideas were put together and a plan created to ensure that the community links could be forged sustainably for the future to;

  • Enhance learning long term by using local resources and facilities effectively.
  • Give the pupils a deeper understanding of their community and the people in it in the hope this would give them a greater sense of place and wish to care for their environment.
  • Help create a closer knit community which could have a more circular and local economy which would hopefully make East Linton more sustainable and create less waste and use less resources.

A field visit to one of the business sites was organised to show the pupil’s areas they could develop and design long term with that business. Green screen film technology was used to communicate what their feelings about their village and what the children were doing with the community as part of the project.

What We Learned:

The World War Two project

This kind of project where the community is brought in to collect an oral history from or to focus on a curriculum area is very effective and in this case was successful.

This is something which is possible to duplicate and could be expanded easily by schools and seemed to really help enhance learning.

It can be embedded into the curriculum although because it involved the whole school instead of one year, you would have to wait until all children had left the school to do it again or adapt it to do more often.

If you did it with a year group it could be something which could be done yearly or bi annually and embedded in the long term planning.

The darning activity is the only thing which you need really specialised knowledge to do and ideally it would be better to have longer to show the children this skill.

The pupils had limited involvement with the editing of the end films but if there was more time or you were working with older children or even a secondary school, they could have done this as well as the audio recording and it could be expanded to be a more in depth project.

The Health and Wellbeing Project has the potential to be the one which creates the longest and most sustainable legacy of the work at the schools which does the most to create a circular and local economy and brings the community together to enhance learning.

It embedded links which will continue in the community after the project will end which can be ongoing and could be very beneficial to the school and the community as a whole. It would have been beneficial to have rolled this project idea out across the ward at all the schools because of this but there was not time to do it.

If all schools across Scotland could have the support to create such links in their community, the benefit could be great but it is clear that schools would struggle to do this by themselves as it does take time initially to achieve but once it is set up the maintenance of this relationship could be managed easily by a school.

 East Linton

Health and Wellbeing

This cross curricular project involved the whole school and was focused on their Health and Wellbeing topic to make a difference to their environment in their community and create community links. The Pupil Council came up with ideas of how they wanted to link with specific businesses and organisations in their community and businesses were approached to see how they wanted to be involved with the school long term. These ideas were put together and a plan created to ensure that the community links could be forged sustainably for the future to;

  • Enhance learning long term by using local resources and facilities effectively.
  • Give the pupils a deeper understanding of their community and the people in it in the hope this would give them a greater sense of place and wish to care for their environment.
  • Help create a closer knit community which could have a more circular and local economy which would hopefully make East Linton more sustainable and create less waste and use less resources.

A field visit to one of the business sites was organised to show the pupil’s areas they could develop and design long term with that business. Green screen film technology was used to communicate what their feelings about their village and what the children were doing with the community as part of the project.

Lessons Learned:

This project, which was the last curriculum collaboration of the school programme, has the potential to be the one which creates the longest and most sustainable legacy of the work at the schools which does the most to create a circular and local economy and brings the community together to enhance learning.

It embedded links which will continue in the community after the project will end which can be ongoing and could be very beneficial to the school and the community as a whole. It would have been beneficial to have rolled this project idea out across the ward at all the schools because of this but there was not time to do it.

If all schools across Scotland could have the support to create such links in their community, the benefit could be great but it is clear that schools would struggle to do this by themselves as it does take time initially to achieve but once it is set up the maintenance of this relationship could be managed easily by a school.

 

Dunbar Primary

More than one project happened at Dunbar Primary because of its size. These were;

Dunbar Science Festival collaboration.

A year group in the school worked with Zero Waste Town Dunbar and the Science Ceilidh Band to teach the children what the Linear Economy and Circular Economy was. The children then developed a ceilidh dance to explain this to others which was showcased at the Dunbar Science Festival EDF Ceilidh in 2016.

Eco Warrior project 2016

The children learned about the waste journey their food waste goes on to be recycled and then designed a script they would use to create a green screen film to explain this to the public.

In-vessel composter at food recycling plant.

Noyes Flute Opera Community Collaboration. A collaborative project with the school, ZWD and Music co-OPERAtive Scotland as part of the Lammamuir Festival 2016. The project worked with the cast from the school and the opera company involved in this community project to source reuse items for the set design and then create the set and props from this waste with the children the art director and ZWD. The project also gave advise to the opera company on finding end source locations for the items produced so they did not end up in landfill.

Pupil Pledge Curriculum Project for Eco Warriors 2017

The Pupil Pledge is being linked to the curriculum for inclusion in the Eco Warrior topic this year with PS4. The food waste journey film created last year will also be used to aid learning as part of this.

Ceilidh dancing proved an effective medium to explain the concept of the circular economy to others. The development work of this will be made into lesson plans to aid this to be replicated.

This was the first use of green screen technology and a lot was learned through this project not least that it can take more time than you think if working on a long script like this was. It had been hoped that all groups could produce a film but it ended with only part of the year group making films due to time constraints.

However, the children loved working with the puppets and the technology and so the process was adapted to work better with the time available in future work using puppets and the green screen at other schools.

You can see one of the film the children made here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARIyJz1Ea8A

Lessons Learned:

This was a one off collaboration and event which was a useful community collaboration linked to the school work for the project. It was a useful project which gave the children a chance to see how waste items can be used as a resource creatively.

It was great to see the Pupil Pledge used to support learning in the class and showed the versatility of this initiative. It was also good to see the work from the year before being used in the class in a sustainable way.

One of the things we have learnt on this project is that Initiatives and projects which make pupils think about their own individual impact is important instead of focusing just on what they can do with other people’s waste or the issue of waste in general.

Making it personal and their individual responsibility to address matters because the earlier you can embed and normalise the behaviours and understanding that it is an individual’s as well as a collective responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle  waste, the more effective it seems to be and this then sets up habits for life.

This behaviour can be harder to achieve when pupils are teenagers or to learn as new behaviours when they are adults.

 

West Barns Primary School

West Barns Primary School had a very specific project they wanted to collaborate on which was based on the, ‘Pick up 3 pieces’ litter campaign in the Orkneys. The idea was the school would spearhead a community litter campaign and would link this to the cross curricular learning in school.

Due to the ‘no bins’ policy of the countryside rangers in the West Barns area, this idea had to be adapted from the pick up 3 pieces theme to a message of ‘take your rubbish home and recycle it’ instead.

The school focused their campaign on a week of activities in school which involved the whole school. During that week they conducted a litter pick to investigate the litter issue and carried out a waste audit on that litter. They carried out research and invited in guests to find out more about why litter was an issue and used this to create a green screen film and animation film for the public. They also looked at how the media can be used to highlight environmental issues and campaigns and wrote a press release to see if they could get their campaign featured in the media. This resulted in getting media coverage which you can see here; http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/west-barns-primary-students-get-animated-in-litter-campaign-1-4164666

Lessons Learned:

The children also used their research on why litter is an issue to design a sign which was made professionally and then unveiled and placed at Seafield Pond.

This project was a lot of hard work for the staff and pupils but the end outcomes were amazing. You can see the films produced here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giHo20EFBWQ&t=7s

https://vimeo.com/170696770

This project will have a legacy to it because the school has made a commitment to continue to address litter in this area and will link this to the learning in school. The sign and films will continue to be used and viewed in years to come by the school but also the wider community.

Through doing this project we have learnt the positive effects of learning which is linked to an ongoing practical outcome like a community litter campaign. It creates a deeper impact because it is relevant to the children’s immediate environment and increases links to the community and their sense of place.

Creating the animation and the green screen filming were processes which were greatly enjoyed by the children and enhanced the learning significantly. Animation especially is fantastic at inspiring pupils to see the waste agenda in new ways.

However, this process was hugely assisted by the inclusion of a specialist from StopMoGo to help produce the film although the teacher did also produce their own films without the specialist.

The school is fortunate to have  teacher’s who are skilled with technology but not all schools can replicate this and would need some assistance or training to enable them to incorporate this type of technology in their learning.

 

Stenton Primary School.

Stenton Primary School asked us to assist them to help them cover a challenging curriculum outcome which was this one;

I have collaborated in the design of an investigation into the effects of fertilisers on the growth of plants. I can express an informed view of the risks and benefits of their use.  SCN 2-03a

The project focused on how this outcome could be covered and linked to the waste agenda as part of the children’s entitlement to Learning for Sustainability. The project involved all of the children in the school at points but had a specific focus on the older pupils.

Firstly, all the children were involved in a session to investigate what a fair test was and how to carry one out. Then, the older children used this knowledge to design a fair test to investigate the effects of using fertilizer in a soil to see how this effects plant growth. They used the results from this to add to research they were doing on how waste fertilizer can cause Eutrophication. This information was then included in a script they created to  produce a green screen film to show the risks and benefits of using fertilizers.  You can see one of the films they made here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70zWeDhTvyY&feature=youtu.be

All the staff and pupils were shown how to use the green screen so will be able to use this equipment themselves in the future.

Christmas Crafts using recycled materials

There was also a one of Christmas crafts session at the school to show the children how to make a penguin out of recycled materials as part of the Christmas annual craft day.

Lessons Learned:

This project showed how the waste agenda can be used to cover difficult curriculum outcomes in creative ways.

The children seemed to really enjoy working to make the film and they chose to make their own paper puppets and film sets to use their script with, some of the children even stayed in at break by choice to continue working.

There were a few technical issues with the equipment and this is something to bare in mind when using any technology but these were mostly overcome.

The Green Screen equipment and puppets was bought by the project and will now go to being a community resource which can be hired for free by schools and the public.

During the project we tried to teach as many schools how to use this equipment as possible so it can be used as a resource to enhance learning for years to come. It was part of the inspirational strategy to use the public funding to buy items which could have wider sustainable uses following the project as a legacy to it.

We have learnt through doing this that Including sustainable resources into the education programme like this and showing how inspirational they can be to engage children in topics they might otherwise struggle with has been very successful and we would recommend this approach to others. We already had a lending library in place to enable this and this facility is essential to make this possible.

Dunbar Grammar School

There were a number of collaborative project at Dunbar Primary because of its size and its diversity of subject areas. Departments were asked to contact the project if they wanted to collaborate following  staff training we delivered with members of staff on Learning for Sustainability. Most of the collaborative work came from this.

Princes Trust collaboration.

There are a group of pupils at the school who are working towards their Princes Trust Award and they have sessions timetabled through the week for this. They have worked closely with the project and have received manual handling and health and safety instruction though the project from the council to enable them to be involved in the recycling system the school has adopted.  They perform a number of practical recycling tasks onsite as part of their learning about waste and have visited Kinwegar Recycling Centre and other places to further enhance their learning which we have supported them to organise. (6)

Zombie Apocalypse Activities Week

This was the most ambitious collaboration we attempted as part of the project and involved creating a role play scenario for two days for an entire year group and involved 10-15 teachers and approximately 13 sessions. The role play centred on an alternate universe which was experiencing an accelerated climate change effect which had been caused predominantly through the overuse of resources and creating too much waste. The climate change also produced Zombosis, a condition which decomposed the skin as certain gases rose in the atmosphere. Scientists in this world had come up with 3 different experimental living environments for citizens to trial to try to combat climate change and address the issue of Zombosis. The pupils, in the role play, were all volunteers who had  chosen to be part of the experiments in order to try to save their planet and would be deciding  between the 3 different experimental environments. At the end of their induction to these trial ideas they would vote on which one they would choose to spend the next 5 years of their life in.

The 3 experimental areas had a series of sessions attached to them to show the volunteers what life would be like for them if they chose that option. Each area had a different way of using resources and waste to tackle climate change. Some of the activities included; making paper from recycled materials, making a wind turbine, learning to grow food, team problem solving, strategizing with resources, videos on life in each zone, creating shelters.

At the same time there was a secret rebellion to try to get the volunteers to vote for none of the choices and to insist the scientists think of other ideas even though the result of taking more time to think of more solutions would cause more climate change to occur and more deaths from Zombosis. (20)

Collaboration with students doing an Advanced Higher for media design.

The project acted as a client for Advanced Higher students working on media design. The created logos and Power Point templates for us to use and worked to briefs we gave them.

There was also some collaborative work with the science and Geograghy and CDT  departments on aspects of their curriculum work.

Learning for Sustainability support.

Following on from the in service training on Learning for Sustainabilty, the project continued to support the work the working group formed by the school to focus on LFS did by attending their meetings and given advice or support where necessary. (6)

Lessons Learned:

The  Princes Trust group were instrumental in the success of the new recycling service at the school and without them the school could not have made the progress it has. GREAT THANKS goes to these pupils from the project. This practical hands on learning experience has been very successful at the school.

We learnt so much from doing the Zombie collaboration.  The zombie theme was very effective and the sessions bought about conversation, thinking and problem solving which teachers expressed was hard to achieve generally in normal classes.

The rebellion was also a very effective element of the project and won the end vote for what the citizens should do about their planets situation. The students were given ownership of this element of the project and this had a lot of impact to the success of it.

The students were very engaged with the role play, many did zombie make up to enhance their involvement and the days went well.

The student’s response after the week was mixed however. They really liked the zombie theme but some struggled at times with some of the activities they were asked to do and the lack of freedom in them.

This project was mostly planned without student involvement and on reflection this was a mistake. Doing it as part of activities week might also have been an issue as traditionally students have more freedom in their choices at this time and had been expecting that. It might have been better to do this is class time but it is very difficult to do something like this outside of timetabling requirements in lesson time.

If doing this project again we would recommend student involvement at all stages of the planning and implementing process and more flexibility in what pupils chose to do and how they could use their time so they could have more ownership.

However, this project was extremely worthwhile and is the base for an effective way to engage and inspire secondary age pupils in the waste agenda and to understand climate change in a creative way which is relevant to their interests. It would have been really beneficial to have been able to use feedback from this first pilot to create an ongoing project which built on the success of the first event and addressed its limitations.

Being able to offer some support in this area was very beneficial to all the schools as part of the project from the feedback we have got from them and it is very unfortunate that the end of the project will see an end to this support.

General comments on lesson learned

The education programme does leave a legacy in the schools by way of the practical infrastructure, new food waste service and increased recycling service we have helped to introduce. This was a significant achievement and an example of how collaboration can produce significant results and great thanks goes to the schools, the pupils, parents and all staff. Thanks also needs to go to the council for their unfailing support plus all organisations involved in the waste services and food waste collection such as F.E.S. at Dunbar Grammar and Keenans.

Examples of how the waste agenda can be implemented through Learning for Sustainability into the curriculum by one of events or embedding learning sustainably which have taken place as part of this project will also help preserve a legacy as will the in service training the project has managed to deliver to staff.

The Play Pods will be sustainably used long term and the resources purchased or made such as the green screen equipment and puppets, paper making screens, litter pickers etc will ensure schools and the children have access to items for free after this project to enhance and enliven learning, fun and creativity.

The community links forged as part of the East Linton Primary curriculum project will continue to provide a sustainable legacy for increasing local involvement, creating a more local and circular economy and more intergenerational community cohesion long term as a legacy. West Barns Primary will continue their litter campaign in the years to come.

All the films produced in the project and the lesson plans from the work carried out will continue to be made available long term so they can be accessed, viewed and shared by others to continue to support learning.

All of this needs to be celebrated for the achievement it is and the long term impact it will have.

The Zero Waste Dunbar project has shown that schools can make significant waste reductions and can bring the waste agenda into the curriculum in inspiring and creative ways as part of the pupil’s entitlement to Learning for Sustainability. The schools commitment to doing this was significant and our thanks goes again to how collaboratively they have worked with us as part of this project. It is clear the school greatly appreciated the additional support the Zero Waste Dunbar project was able to provide to the amazing work schools were already doing in this area.

For more information contact: susancarelton@sustainingdunbar.org