Teach About US Update // June 2017

Teach About US Update // June 2017

by Joannis Kaliampos -
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Topics: +++ "And the winners are": Conclusion of Going Green 2016-17 +++ Teach About US to collaborate with Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research +++ Teach About US joined by sustainability educators at Leuphana University +++ Upcoming events. Email not displaying correctly?
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Teach About US Update // June 22, 2017

Dear Subscribers,

In this last newsletter before the summer break, we are announcing the winners of the 2017 Going Green competition. Take a look at our participants’ outstanding contributions and get inspired to participate in the Going Green 2017/18 project cycle starting again in September. Thank you to all the students and teachers who have participated so far!

We are also thrilled to announce that Going Green will be collaborating with the world-renowned Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research (PIK) for a joint teacher training in Berlin this October. Read more in our newsletter.

With this, another eventful school year is coming to an end. We would like to wish you and your students sunny and relaxing summer holidays – we're sure they are well-deserved!

Joannis Kaliampos
on behalf of the Teach About US Team and Partners
Joannis Kaliampos
Leuphana Universität | Scharnhorststr. 1 | 21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49 (0)4131.677-1662 | E-Mail | Web

This newsletter’s topics at a glance:

Conclusion of Going Green 2016-17: And the awards go to...

We are happy to announce another successful conclusion of the Going Green project. After an intensive election season and a school election project that was just as exciting, we anticipated a smaller but not less dedicated group of participants this spring for Going Green. And yet, 23 courses from Germany and the U.S. registered their own Moodle courses and some more participated with our offline materials collection.

The Going Green jury met last week to review the student competition entries and awards prizes to seven green action plans in four categories. We are grateful to the U.S. Embassy in Berlin for supporting these student projects once again with monetary prizes intended to kickstart and continue these green projects. These projects all propose unique approaches to promoting sustainability, but they also highlight individual agency and the contributions that each and every one of us can make to combat climate change. In so doing, these students embrace the concept of environmental stewardship aimed at making changes in their communities.

Here are the award winning projects:
“Innovative Digital Learning Tool” (prize money: 500€)

Class 12 English at Luise Henriette Gymnasium Oranienburg, Brandenburg, with their teacher Jens Rösener

We created an app which includes 10 stations with QR-Codes, which all deal with sustainability at our school. Our class tried to identify how 'green' our school actually is. We set the priority to raise students' awareness of green issues and wanted to create something that future generations of students could benefit from. Therefore, we developed a QR-Code Rallye that students from class 8 have already put into practice. From the next school year onwards, new students in class 7 will get the chance to use our app as well.
“Comprehensive Sustainainability School Project” (prize money 500€)

Class 11 BG-W at Saalburschule Usingen, Hessen, with their teacher Gisela Wildermuth

The focus of our school’s “Going Green” project was to reduce our community’s environmental footprint through hands-on activities:
  • We raised awareness of the detriments of using plastic in and around our school and took the responsibility of advising and teaching about recycling points in our buildings.
  • Another activity to going green was planting bee-friendly flowers around the school. We created posters to inform other students about the purpose of our activity.
  • We researched and came up with solutions on how our school could save money and reduce the waste of natural resources by slightly modernizing the school’s heating system.
  • We looked at the impact that transportation has on the local environment and pointed out strategies to reduce air pollution.
Through all these activities and supplemental reading, we developed a better understanding of the impact our own behavior has on the environment, and took action to reduce our ecological footprints.
“School-Based Recycling Concept” (prize money 500€)

Class FOSP1B at Berufskolleg Höxter, Nordrhein-Westfalen, with their teacher Dagmar Knies

We set up a container to collect one-way deposit and refilling containers and designed a poster with relevant information.
Problem. At our school, many students simply leave their drink containers in classrooms or even throw them into the bins for general garbage. This means that the deposit for these containers is lost and that they cannot be reused or recycled, which means environmental harm.
Solution. We put up a container for reusable and recyclable drink containers at a central point in the building. We designed a poster showing how to dispose of bottles and cans. It also describes the German deposit system and environmental effects. We also designed a short informational text for other students to raise additional awareness and explain our idea. If this container is a success, we plan to put up more containers in central areas.
Practice. We need to raise awareness and acceptance. People shouldn't throw their garbage into our container, for example. We also need to talk to the cleaning staff, because they are the ones who collect all the drink containers from all over the building.
“Sustainable Community Outreach and Engagement Prize” (prize money: 1,000€)
Classes 5c, 8a, 8b, and 9a at Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen, Baden-Württemberg, with their teachers Eva Gold, Sarah Garman, Sabine Kroiss, Sonja Sachs, Bettina Schönherr, Stefanie Schulze, and Michael Widinger
This year marked the third time that students from Schubart-Gymnasium in Aalen participated in our Going Green competition. Four courses developed three different action plans to ‘go green.’ All of them are integrated into a school-wide curriculum focusing on education for sustainable development that is currently being developed by teachers representing different school subjects as well as external partners like Aalen Technical University. The jury applauds this integrative approach and decided to award these groups a joint prize for their collective efforts.

Project 1: Students of classes 8a and 5c joined forces for their upcycling project. They collected old clothes at their school and used these materials to create ‘owl pillows’ that they are planning to present and sell at their upcoming school festival. Grade 8 students also visited their younger partners during class and gave presentations on climate change.

Project 2: Class 8b focused on the issue of recycling plastic and reached out to their art teacher to create sculptures made from plastic trash. They identified plastic bottles as one major type of trash on their school campus and created a poster campaign to educate their fellow students about the consequences of plastic pollution – and ways to combat this development.

Project 3: Class 9a, like their fellow students, realized that change for sustainability requires creative and educational approaches. Participating in our competition for the third time, the students have developed a program to train student sustainability ambassadors. One component of this ambassador program is that older students reach out to local primary schools and educate them about green issues.

All groups were invited to present their efforts to a public audience at the ‘Sustainability Day’ hosted at Aalen Technical University.

Certificate of appreciation
Class 10c at Humboldt Gymnasium Potsdam, with teacher Silke Meyfarth
It´s a rap-song about why you should use your bike or public transport instead of your car.
We divided our class in four groups, every group worked on one of the four Going Green Projects. The group that treated transportation was chosen as the best group, so their final result was uploaded here.
The problem that the group identified was that many young people are too lazy to go by bike or public transport, so they let their parents drive them by car. That is a big problem, because it causes much air pollution. And often the distance could easily be driven by bike or public transit.
To approach this, the group wrote a song. Many young people like rap music and also the beat of the song is a instrumental version of a really popular rap-song. Our intention was that many people would remember the song's melody. With the lyrcis of the song, the group wants to motivate teenagers to go by bike or use public transport. It´s necessary that this song gets popular, so that many people hear it and think about the meaning of its lyrics. (The music of the song is the instrumental version of "Palmen aus Plastik" made by "Bonez MC" and "RAF Camora".)

The Road Ahead: STEM Project Week, Teacher Academy, Teacher Trainings
As announced in our May newsletter, we are in the process of extending the Going Green curriculum with a focus on STEM contents and competences. In addition, we are developing a project week on renewable energy sources asking students to investigate the energy infrastructure in their communities, understand the science behind renewable energies, and develop a concept for their communities’ future energy supply. To bridge the English and Science classrooms, we are seeking new partners with an expertise in sustainability education. We are happy to welcome experts on sustainability education to our team: Dr. Simone Abels, Professor for Science Education, Leuphana University, and her PhD student Sybille Hüfner, whose research focuses on learner beliefs about renewable energy sources.

We are no less excited to announce that we will be collaborating with the renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in the coming school year. The PIK is a government-funded research institution and one of the top environmental think tanks worldwide. Among its educational projects is the PIKee program, an online-based project that introduces climate science to the school classroom and draws on PIK’s massive climate database.

We will offer a teacher training seminar in Berlin in early October that will be jointly organized by PIK and the U.S. Embassy and which will invite both science and foreign language teachers to participate (date tbd).

Finally, we would like to thank you for your overwhelming interest in the Teacher Academy , which will take place on September 21-24 in Nürnberg and address the topic of rural America today. Registration is now closed and participants have been notified. There is a waiting list.

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