2020 has seen what could be one of the most unusual teaching and learning environments British schools have seen in a lifetime due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Classrooms, halls and school fields all but emptied as most children began remote learning from home. Teachers, being an adaptive and resilient breed, set to work in a tireless effort to create comprehensive packages of support for their class whilst getting to grips with offering feedback and direction remotely from their own homes. In an effort to support teachers, and with the firm belief of the benefits of outdoor learning for not only the academic enrichment it offers children but for the wellbeing benefits too, the RSPB teamed up with the Association for Science Education (ASE) to create resources in association with the RSPB’s Wild Challenge Award to put the activities into the context of the primary science curriculum. Downloadable PDFs are available highlighting the relevant areas of the science curriculums in each of the four UK countries and for all year groups of primary age.
The Wild Challenge Award has components for both families and for schools. Schools can work collectively as a group, class or even entire school to earn awards whilst families can work independently to earn their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. This offers remote learners, the opportunity to work through the award levels at their own pace and to personalise the activities they select based on amount of access to outside space they have in the knowledge they are developing understanding of curriculum areas.
The RSPB hope Wild Challenge Award will help teachers and parents find educational opportunities to get children outside in a safe and responsible way to continue to develop their scientific skills, knowledge and understanding as well as providing the chance to immerse in the treasures of the natural word, enrich the senses and find some fun and wellbeing during this time of change and uncertainty. Read More.
Solar for Schools
Solar for Schools have released two online programmes: Solar Champions is an online programme that will guide students through completing a “solar survey” of a school, ultimately enabling students to learn about energy and start a project at a school. We have Teacher Guides available so teachers can design an activity for their students (primary, secondary). Power Detectives is an online programme that will guide students through a critical analysis of a school’s electricity charts in order to identify trends, ultimately enabling students to brainstorm realistic solutions to help a school save energy. We have Teacher Guides available so teachers can design an activity for their students (primary, secondary). They’ve also released a documentary film: Switch Energy Alliance, a US-based non-profit, has made an award-winning documentary Switch that shares the journey of Professor Tinker going around the world to learn about energy. Answer questions about the film from our Question List for students. We also have a Teacher Guide so teachers can lead their students through the film viewing.
Solar for Schools has also launched a new national campaign to encourage more young people to help push the clean energy revolution forward, by enabling them to take the lead in getting their own schools to take solar in 2020.To make taking action even more attractive, the Solar for Schools Community Benefit Society has set a number of donation-based rewards for each student-driven project that is successful! For any teacher or parent who knows a student that may be interested, all they or students have to do to take part in the campaign, is to email the projects team (email@example.com) with their interest and the name of the school that they would like to take solar. The project teamwill then get back in touch to let you know the next steps to start the school’s solar journey!
NUS: Teach The Future
Zamzam Ibrahim (NUS) and Joe Brindle (UKSCN) have written to Gavin Williamson on behalf of students and student representatives, urging him to see that the education system is ‘built back better’ by investing in net-zero schools as part of the Governments fiscal stimulus plan.
LEEF: Transform Our World
Each term, Transform Our World launches a new campaign to help teachers focus on a different area of sustainability and climate action. With schools closed, they’re bringing environmental learning and action directly to your home instead. This collection of resources, stories and ‘top tips’ for home learning are designed to help parents, carers and teachers encourage young people to explore and protect the natural world around them. They’ve also developed a ‘Getting Started with the SDG’s’ pack for teachers who want to bring this into their lessons but aren’t sure where to start.
They also feature a range of sustainability themed programmes that encourage and enable young people to create movements, and are on the lookout for organisations with programmes or resources that meet Transform Our World’s quality standard so they can offer the opportunity to get them seen and found by hundreds of teachers. The same goes for courses and events.
Recently, Transform Our World has released a ‘Care for our Natural World Youth Survey’ and are asking for this to be shared with as many young people as possible: “We are conducting an anonymous online survey of school pupils aged 7-18 to give us a snapshot of how children and young people are currently feeling about environmental and social issues in light of COVID-19. These insights will help us understand how we can best support young people to take action on the issues they care about. This data will be shared publicly with those supporting youth action for the benefit of people and planet.” Read More.
Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
Are continuing to support teachers and parents to create inspiring learning opportunities in homes, gardens and school grounds. Keeping children engaged with learning and supporting their health and wellbeing is crucial. CLOtC members can access resource packs and other educational resources that are free to download and use. Read More.
WWF: Educational Activities to Enjoy from Home
Whether you are a teacher looking for inspiring and enriching content for your students to access and use independently from home, or a parent seeking ways to make the most of time at home with your children, WWF want to help. Each week, they’re providing engaging ways for you to connect with nature and learn more about our amazing planet. The themed weeks will include live learning events via the dedicated Facebook group, an opportunity to participate in fun and insightful webinars with WWF experts, and links to popular educational materials. And in case you miss any of these live events, you can revisit and access all content as and when you need to. Read More.