Kinds of Activities
A number of Scottish teachers worked together to create the activities for the first Global Schools' Climate Summit. As schools joined the initiative more teachers were able to feed into the development of these resources. Through international collaboration activities have been designed that can be undertaken across a wide range of educational contexts.
The activities in the summit are diverse in style, scope and outcome to help teachers tap into and strengthen the broadest range of their learners abilities. 1.5 MAX is an opportunity for teachers and other youth workers to guide and enhance their learners' skills in areas such as group working, critical thinking, and creativity.
Getting to Know You
A central plank of the summit is bringing together young people from diverse backgrounds in order to broaden their understanding of the crises, make new connections, and to personalise the issues: it is harder to dismiss the impact of climate change when someone you know is suffering from these impacts today. It's also empowering to know that others share your concerns, have similar issues to your own, and that you can work together to find positive ways of dealing with them.
In advance of the 'Getting to Know You' sessions pupils will have prepared documents, posters, images and videos to introduce themselves and where they live and go to school. They will also have described what Climate Change means for them and what issues they face. Producing this material is a creative communication exercise and we have been impressed by the broad range of approaches taken.
Learning about their peers across the country and across the globe, and finding out the range of challenges they face, is incredibly stimulating and motivating and has even been the trigger for some innovative thinking. Maintaining these links beyond the summit helps the young people to keep a focus on the pledges they have made and encourages them to take a global perspective in their lives more generally.
Throughout the summit pupils are exposed to a series of short videos relating information about climate change and its impacts from around the world. They then have a opportunity to discuss the issues in the videos and share their responses with the other Cluster schools using Wakelets. This builds empathy, discussion skills, analytical skills and a wider knowledge of different aspects of the climate and ecological crisis.
Country Comparison Activity
In this activity pupils work in teams to analyse collections of geographic, economic, social, and other data from a range of countries, using their mathematical and critical thinking skills to identify connections between different aspects of the information: for instance, correlations between GDP and greenhouse gas emissions.
Communicating these analyses to others involves young people working together to craft a compelling, comprehensible message that is also backed up with data. This is an important skill to develop.
Ideas Lab Sessions
The Ideas Lab is the largest activity in the summit. It involves three sessions where pupils take a problem they have identified, compare it to the problems of other schools, and explore what steps they can take towards solving it.
This encourages analysis, creativity, teamwork, leadership and good communication. It gives our young people real agency in engaging with an issue that causes genuine anxiety among all of us. There is a growing body of research which suggest that identifying issues and embarking on positive action helps to reduce anxiety and promote a shared feeling that we can have, and do have a positive role to play in addressing Climate Change and Global Heating.
1.5 MAX Climate Pledges
Groups look at what they are going to do after the summit and build a project with specific aims, methods, and measurable outcomes. These commitments are shared with the entire summit and progress is reported to their Cluster in the months that follow.
Adopting these kinds of methods is important to the success of any project, and maintaining connections within Clusters to share news of developments and progress is very motivating for all our learners as the everyday busy-ness of school and community life starts to encroach.