Suitable for Year 4 to Year 8.
Climate change is probably the biggest issue that will affect today's children, and is now also a major cause of anxiety in children. In this fun and hands-on "eco" workshop for schools, children will become climate scientists in their own classroom; work together to discover the facts about global warming and the impact of humans on nature; and then explore what they as individuals and communities can do about it. It is created and delivered by Dr Helen, child-friendly scientist, who has a PhD in Palaeoclimatology, so there is ample opportunity to "ask an expert".
This workshop allows pupils to explore a variety of issues around climate change and sustainability and to gather a balanced view of the facts. Such knowledge is empowering and will provide them with the resources to decide how, or if, they wish to become involved in the climate debate, or to change their own family's or school's sustainability. Perhaps it will also inspire some of them to become scientists themselves.
All Palaeoquest workshops are hands-on and exploratory, starting and finishing with group discussion. Here is an overview of this climate change and "eco" workshop:
Introduction: How "eco-friendly" are we? What are we already doing to look after nature and the earth? (reducing plastics, recycling, bug hotels etc.?) Is this enough? Who is aware of the school climate strikes, and why so many people are angry and worried about this?
What is the atmosphere and why is it important? (try on the fleecy greenhouse blanket). Play the "Carbon Capture Game": collect all the emissions and place them in a large 3D class bar-chart to show where they come from. This our carbon footprint.
Children now rotate around a carousel of hands-on activities, and collect their findings on a worksheet, which can be used to inform them and others on what to do about climate change:
Become climate scientists: Examine the layers in "ice" cores and tree rings, to seek patterns in past temperature changes. What do you notice about the most recent years?
Fossil fuels vs renewable energy: Compare fossil fuels with renewable energies. Examine (and smell) oil-containing rocks and coal, and consider how we use fossil fuels in everyday life. Can you make the scale-model wind-turbine rotate and produce electricity before your very eyes?! Or make some energy with a solar-panel?
Asses our carbon footprints: Try out the "carbon seesaw" to discover which everyday activities have the heaviest carbon footprint. Can you (literally) balance the two sides of the see-saw to offset your carbon footprint? Carbon "sinks" are piled on one side and carbon "sources" on the other. Learn as you play.
Our oceans: Test what could happen as our oceans become more acidic (due to absorbing increasing levels of CO2): put shells in lemon juice - what happens, and how would this affect the creatures that live in them, and the rest of the food chain?
Our food: Discover the carbon footprint (and deforestation impact) of some common foods, and try to create a more sustainable meal. Will you change your eating habits?
Habitats and Pollinators: discover why our bees, wasps and butterflies are SO important in providing our food, and how we can help them. Read data from 3D graphs to show how our farming has reduced wild species and their habitats since the Stone Age.
Waste: Fantastic plastic: Plastic is a great invention; single-use plastic is not (do you know what happens to it?!). Can you sort out the re-usable from the single use plastic, and the recyclable from the non-recyclable? Choose some eco-friendly alternatives to plastic waste eg: re-purpose, refuse, repair, refill etc. ...... a sorting/classifying/grouping activity to try to save as much as possible from entering the black (landfill) bin.
What have we learned about our politicians and big companies? What have we learned about climate change protesters and the school climate strikers? What have we learned about our own lifestyles from this??
The idea is not to make children feel scared or guilty but to empower them with knowledge and skills which they can then use to do whatever they feel they wish to do about this vitally important issue.