Informing, playing and reflecting about the consequences of climate change on the survival of the Planet and the life of each of us. The teacher/teacher should lead the activity by helping the young students, who have neither direct memory nor sufficient knowledge to recognize the tangible signs of climate change at all latitudes.
It will obviously be a matter of addressing the topic with practical arguments and distinguishing climate change that is cyclical and produced by physiological natural transformations (which students have already faced since primary school) from those that are produced by human activity. Obviously, it is necessary to insist on the latter to induce young people to reflect on everything that can be done at individual and group level to reverse the course and preserve the Planet and all forms of life that inhabit it.
Classroom with computer for teacher/teacher and interactive whiteboard; Students with devices connected to the internet network (at least one for every two students)
60/90 minutes, depending on how many questions in the game, and related topics, the teacher/teacher intends to propose to his students
Size of the group:
Maximum recommended number of people per group: 4. The choice depends on the number of students with smartphones or tablets connected to the Internet. The aim is not to proceed individually, but to have groups of limited numbers. The optimal solution would be pairs with a connected device
The beginning of the lesson sees the teacher/teacher busy telling the children an ancient African fairy tale. It is the story of the burning forest:
"A terrible fire was destroying the whole forest and spreading like wildfire. All the animals rushed to the river in search of salvation. Running away from the flames, the lion saw a small bird flying in the opposite direction and asked him: where are you going, can't you see the flames? Then the little bird showed the lion a drop of water on its beak and said: "I'll do my part!"
- In your opinion - asks the teacher/teacher at this point - why did I tell you this story and what does it mean?
Once recorded the comments and understood the degree of interest and participation of the class, he/she continues clarifying his/her intentions and stressing that the story told is of course a metaphor of our daily life: sometimes, without realizing it, we behave like the lion who runs away just trying to save himself, while to fight against climate change it is necessary to act with the same generosity and the same sense of responsibility as the little bird.
- The teacher/teacher at this point turns on the computer and interactive whiteboard and writes "CLIMATE CHANGES" in large letters and asks the students:
When you hear about climate change, what do you think about it and what do you think is causing it?
The teacher/teacher will leave 5-10 minutes for the class to respond, reporting on the interactive whiteboard the most significant thoughts and inputs that have been consolidated during the short debate. He will then ask:
How can we behave not like the lion but like the bird? In our own small way, what do you think we can do?
Once the fundamental question has been introduced, the teacher/teacher will decide, based on the time he or she has decided to dedicate to the activity, whether to go directly to the game or to show a short video that in 2 minutes highlights the gravity of climate change and the possibility for man to act with adaptation and mitigation actions. Examples of videos can be found in large quantities on the net, drawing on resources that can either be expressed with images only or comment in different European languages. Examples of videos are:
- Now it is necessary to involve the class by stimulating everyone's direct participation. The game is based on the use of a digital tool able to manage true/false questions or multiple answers, to which students will have to answer using their own devices connected to the network. In this way a competitive dynamic is aroused, inducing students and pupils to think about the various topics proposed trying to guess the right answer. The teacher/teacher will have to keep the attention of the class always high, avoiding demotivation in case of wrong answers and succeeding in making students understand the meaning of the questions and the reason of the correct answers with concepts appropriate to their age.
The teacher/teacher will possibly use a tool that students are already familiar with and that is easy to use even for those who have no previous experience. Examples are Kahoot! Socrative, Classtime but there are many others of equal use. However, please note that not all tools are available in all languages, most of them in English only. If the teacher/teacher intends to use the proposed activity also for interdisciplinary purposes, perhaps with the involvement of the English teacher, this could of course be an added value rather than a limitation.
- Students are divided into pairs or into larger groups (max 4) depending on the number of devices connected to the Internet present in the classroom at the time of the activity. The teacher/teacher will take care to arrange the creation of the pairs or groups maintaining a balance and thus avoiding the formation of pairs potentially "stronger" than the others.
- The attached document provides some questions and answers (to be developed during the activity) that the teacher/teacher will be able to take over, replace or integrate with others in the preparation of the game on the digital platform he/she will have chosen to use.
When using the digital tool you will have chosen, it is suggested not to stimulate too much competition between groups of pupils and students, but to emphasise the explanations that accompany the answers. The aim of the teacher/teacher is in fact not to designate a winner but to increase the overall sensitivity to the issues of combating climate change.
In the debriefing phase the teacher/teacher will use the properties of the digital tool used to chart the knowledge and skills acquired with the class. This phase will also be used to assess how much the activity has been able to stimulate students to reflect on the importance of every small daily gesture alongside the great choices made by governments and supranational bodies.
According to the report resulting from the debriefing phase, the teacher will be able to decide how to orient future activities on the same topics.
List of suggested questions for the preparation of the activity with the help of a digital tool.
Should the teacher/teacher not have an interactive whiteboard and/or a computer, and should it be difficult even for students to obtain some devices connected to the Internet, the game can be conducted using the traditional method, writing the questions on the blackboard or on waste paper tickets, which can be easily found in the school.
1) Is it as friends of the Planet to consume more fresh food or more frozen food?
Answer: fresh food, which requires much less energy for its production, packaging and transport, is always better than frozen food. Don't forget: + energy used, + CO2 in the air, + pollution, + overheating.
2) Eating meat, is it for a friend of the planet?
Answer: no, it is not. Children may need it in their developmental age, so a diet that includes meat in the necessary amount is not to be condemned. But we must know and remember that the meat supply chain (intensive farming, slaughtering, transport, sale) is among the most resource-wasting and polluting because of the enormous use of water and the large production of greenhouse gases and methane. Moreover, even when livestock farming is not intensive, it requires new and larger spaces for grazing, and therefore in certain areas of the Planet it causes deforestation, one of the main causes of climate change. It has been estimated that for each imported hamburger almost 6 square meters of forest are felled and transformed into pasture.
3) Is using lids for cooking friendly to the environment?
Answer: Yes, it is a great way to save energy, as they retain heat and thus allow food to cook in less time. Shorter cooking = less gas or electricity consumed and therefore less pollution!
4) When dinner is ready everyone rushes to the table to find out what's good on the plate... Will the friend of the environment leave the light in his room on, in order to find it already lit when he comes back after eating, or will he turn off the light every time?
Answer: Of course, he will turn off the light! It's good to remember this every time, and it's also important to know that there are energy-efficient light bulbs and home lighting systems.
5) Talking about the internet, does a friend of the environment use a black or white search engine?
Answer: the friend of the environment knows that black requires less energy. Not only that: the dark screen is less tiring for the eyes and therefore less bad for your health!
6) Which of the two options is environmentally friendly: elevator or stairs?
Answer: Clearly, environmental and climate protection suggests that we use stairs whenever possible, because they do not involve the use of energy, which always results in pollution. It is equally obvious that, where there are health problems or the need to carry heavy packages, one should not feel guilty when using the lift.
7) When you have to replace a computer or an old mobile phone that no longer works, will the environmental friend throw it in the dustbin or dispose of it as a special waste?
Answer: Certain appliances are not to be thrown in the dustbin, of course, or left on the street waiting for someone to pick them up and take them away. You should refer to the specific collection points in your municipality. Attention: remember that every mobile phone contains a battery, and this is the most dangerous part for the environment if it is not properly disposed of!
8) Is it right to have double glazing in the house, or is it not worth it?
Answer: It's very fair, even if a bit expensive... Double glazed windows and doors save a lot of energy and money. Because even if installing them is quite expensive, many Governments in Europe contribute with fiscal saving, and after a few years the savings are also felt in your wallet because you save money for each monthly bill. In winter, double glazing protects you from the cold and in summer it protects you from the heat, sometimes making it less necessary to use air conditioners, which are another source of energy consumption. Never forget the magic formula: + energy used, + CO2 in the air, + pollution, + global warming.
9) In the kitchen the refrigerator must be placed where it is most comfortable and where it looks best. True or not?
Answer: False! The refrigerator should never be near the stove, radiator or other heat source. If it has to cool down, it is important that it is placed where it will consume the least energy to bring the internal temperature down to the desired level. But it is not enough: you must also remember to always close the door carefully!
10) Always talking about refrigerators, should they be used to cool ready-made dishes?
Answer: No, wrong! The explanation is the same as the previous question: the refrigerator should not be used to cool food that is still hot, but only to keep products and dishes that would otherwise go bad. If you put hot food in the fridge, it will use more energy to do its job, it will last less and it will pollute more.
11) Is it right to use the microwave oven to defrost food?
Answer: In general, the answer is no. Although the molecular agitation principle of microwaves allows you to defrost food quickly, if you want to be environmentally and climate-friendly it is always best to remember to take the food out of the freezer the night before!
12) Travelling with the carrier on the top of the car, does it affect fuel consumption?
Answer: Yes, it does! You consume much more petrol. In addition, the car strains more and risks lasting less. And the demolition of a car produces a lot of waste, which is not always disposed of properly. So, if you don't really need to add a roof rack, you should always put all your luggage in the trunk and in the passenger compartment.
13) Does the cooking water from the pasta, added to the detergent, dirty the dishes?
Answer: false! The water in which we have cooked the pasta is an excellent natural degreaser, provided of course that we have not added seasonings during cooking... If we use it to wash the pot, especially before it cools, we can reduce the consumption of hot water and detergent.
14) Some people say that it is better to take a bath instead of a shower. True or false?
Answer: false! A 5-minute shower consumes an average of 80 litres of drinking water, while it takes 150 litres to fill the bathtub. Almost twice as much!
15) The average distance travelled by an inhabitant of some parts of Africa to get drinking water is 3 km, with a supply of 4 litres of water.
Answer: false! The average distance is 6 km. And since there are so many, and water is not always available, you can't think of going all that way for just 4 litres of water. The inhabitants of those areas are therefore forced to carry a greater weight, around 20 kg, very often without any means of transport. Water is the most precious good we have, and it is indispensable for our life, more than food: we must remember it every time a tap is opened, to avoid wasting it. The reduction in available water is one of the most dramatic consequences of climate change.
16) Is it right to wash fruit and vegetables in flowing water for a long time?
Answer: No. Just leave fruit and vegetables to soak in a bowl adding a pinch of bicarbonate: this removes any germs and saves water.
17) The trees in the boulevards and parks serve to make a city more beautiful but also have other more important functions.
Answer: How true! All plants play a fundamental role in protecting the environment and combating climate change. They are natural regulators of the environment, they produce oxygen, they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) which is harmful and their branches provide shade and shelter from the summer heat. On average, a plant absorbs 50 kg of CO2 in a year! We must not forget that the plants, with their branches, offer hospitality at no cost to a huge amount of birds, which are not only a good company with their singing, but also help to maintain the balance of the ecosystem.
18) Increasing the temperature in the house of only one degree (from 20° to 21° C for example), causes no consequences for the environment.
Answer: false. One degree more produces 300 kg more CO2 per house in just one year. To increase the temperature by even just one degree, you have to consume much more energy, causing additional pollution and contributing to climate change. It is therefore necessary to keep a temperature in the house adapted to the needs of those who live there, avoiding to stay in winter only with a T-shirt. Our health also depends on it, because it is easier to get sick if there is too much difference between the external and internal temperature. Moreover, if you need more heat, before increasing the heating, you need to think about putting into practice a whole series of small and large interventions such as replacing the doors and windows, protecting the external walls with a thermal coat, reducing draughts, etc..
19) Every time I charge my mobile-phone I disconnect the charger from the socket.
Answer: Good idea! Even though it does not absorb much energy, the charger left in the socket after removing the mobile phone continues to consume unnecessarily. The same goes for the TV and all other household appliances that are switched off but left on stand-by: putting them all together at the end of a day can make all the difference! Whenever possible, you should therefore try to switch off or unplug electrical appliances completely.
20) Buying local products or, better, producing what you can by yourself, is a great help to the environment.
Answer: true. We often don't even realize it, but a lot of the food we consume travels a long way to get to our tables, causing an increase in energy consumption and pollution that we could avoid with a little care. Eating only seasonal food, produced in our area of residence, or producing certain types of vegetables by ourselves, allows us to reduce food travel and the need for highly polluting plastic packaging. Not to mention the personal satisfaction you can get from it!
21) Coffee also makes plants nervous and can ruin them.
Answer: false. Coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer for plants, rich in salts and at no cost. You can mix them with the soil, but if you keep them for a while it is better to let them dry before removing them to prevent them from mildew.
22) The cooking water of the vegetables should be thrown away.
Answer: false. It contains vitamins and is excellent for plants. But it must not be salty!
23) Egg shells contain substances that are harmful to plants.
Answer: false. Crumbled and mixed with potting soil, they are a biodegradable and valuable - as well as cheap - source of calcium.
24) Orange peels are good for the soil.
Answer: true. The peels, chopped up to accelerate decomposition, provide essential nutrients for flowers and plants. A curiosity: in 1998, in Costa Rica, an orange juice company dumped tons of orange peels in a former pasture, an area made up of compact, rocky, substance-poor soils. In 2014, it was discovered that beautiful plants had grown instead of the deserted area! The waste from the oranges had turned dry, arid soils into a thriving green area.
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