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Experimentation of a climate change education model with adolescents Diane Pruneau, Hélène Gravel, Wendy Bourque, Joanne Langis and Carole Essiembre.

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Presentation on theme: "Experimentation of a climate change education model with adolescents Diane Pruneau, Hélène Gravel, Wendy Bourque, Joanne Langis and Carole Essiembre."— Presentation transcript:

1 Experimentation of a climate change education model with adolescents Diane Pruneau, Hélène Gravel, Wendy Bourque, Joanne Langis and Carole Essiembre

2 The project Young Visionaries  Three grade 7 classes from coastal communities in N.B. (Barachois, Cap-Pelé, Grande-Digue)  Objectives: to improve students’ conceptions on climate change and invite them to adopt environmentally responsible behaviour

3 Why we did this project to improve conceptions on climate change?  Climatic notions are complex  Difficulty in conceiving a global problem  Not all scientists share the same point of view on this subject  Teenagers have never experienced a different climate than the one we are experiencing now  Difficulty in changing behaviours that are rooted in our lifestyle

4 Results from a previous research (2000, Moncton and Montréal) Participants’ conceptions  Climate is warming up. Why? Maybe because of the ozone layer.  I haven’t seen evidence in my community  I am not worried because the consequences won’t happen during my life especially if I live in the city  Warmer temperatures are pleasant  Human beings can’t change anything  The general population won’t accept to modify their behaviour

5 A climate change education model  Invite teenagers to make a local observation of climate change : evidence, causes and possible consequences in their community  Ask them to put together their own opinion on the subject  Show images of the greenhouse effect that are easy to understand and to remember  Give them the opportunity to accomplish a group action to help the climate  Make them appreciate the local natural elements  Give them the chance to communicate their new knowledge on climate change

6 Model characteristics  Experiential: observe climate change outside, accomplish an action  Future education: think about what could happen in the future (local impacts of climate change) and believe that we can change the future  Image education  Education to develop a relationship with the natural surroundings  Socioconstructivist approach to favour conceptual change

7 Events of the project  Model experimentation during 10 months – 2 sixty minute periods per month  Individual interviews with researchers to learn the students’ conceptions on climate change before the project  Detailed and critical observations of a beach and drawing a map of the beach

8 Events of the project (more)  Information on greenhouse effect with the help of a simplified image  Observation, in the community, of possible evidence of climate change and particularly of a storm that occured in 2000 (on videotape)  Work in teams of meteorologists, chemists, ecologists, doctors and urban planners to study their community’s situation and to predict what could happen with the temperature, animal species, waterways, human health and coastal infrastructures with climate change

9 Events of the project (more)  Presentation of their discoveries in pamphlets sent out to the 2 other schools  Outings to evaluate the community’s sustainability  Conference and game at the university: town council representatives present  Creation by the students of a video and a CD-ROM on climate change for students across the province

10 Events of the project (more)  Accomplishment of actions at school: Project Lunch without waste Project Lunch without waste Tree planting with explanations of their ecological value Tree planting with explanations of their ecological value

11 Events of the project (more)  Outing in the forest to observe how trees are influenced by climatic variations  Solo  Interviews with researchers to identify final conceptions on climate change

12 Results: Conceptions of the phenomenon (n=39) (misconceptions are in italics) Teenagers’ ideasInitial evaluationFinal evaluation Conception similar to that of scientists024 The planet is warming and cooling04 Temperature is increasing, so the ice is melting and sea level is rising03 Rapid or gradual increase in temperature02 The layer of gas surrounding Earth. When temperature increases, half of the gas evaporates, the rest stays around the Earth 11 Pollution gets around the ozone layer and the temperature increases01 The ozone layer around the Earth. Temperature becomes warmer, more solar rays are entering than before 01 Abnormal changes in the temperature caused by pollution40 I don’t know260

13 Results: Evidence (n=39) (misconceptions are in italics) EvidenceInitial evaluationFinal evaluation Warmer summers, temperature increases06 Floods, sea level rise05 Ice breaks wharves, sand dunes03 Beach becomes smaller02 No more snow or less snow during the winter season12 More storms, rain storms02 We had snow this Winter but it was warm01 The ordinary change in the seasons01 More snow in the winter01 Lawns less green01 I don’t know370

14 Results: Causes (n=39) (misconceptions are in italics) CausesInitial evaluationFinal evaluation Smoke from the automobiles114 Pollution011 The layer of gas gets thicker, temperature increases011 Smoke from the industries17 Waste in the air06 I don’t know373 Smoke03 Temperature, heat02 Cigarette smoke02 Boats02 The ozone layer (the sun goes through because of the holes)01 Landfills01 Solar rays are stuck in the ozone layer and this heats up the Eartn01 The sun melts the ice01

15 Results: Consequences of climate change (n=39) (misconceptions are in italics) ConsequencesInitial evaluationFinal evaluation Sea level rise, erosion010 Floods, tornados, storms09 Trees are going to die because it will be too cold or too hot08 Animals could die because the temperature is increasing07 It’s going to be warmer17 Destruction of cottages and wharves near the water17 Affects human health : disease and mortality16 Beach modification06 Destroy the food web or animal habitats05 I don’t know373 Skin cancer02 Less fish because the water will be warm02 Lack of water02 We will have different trees here02

16 Results: Actions that we can take (n=39) (misconceptions are in italics) ActionsInitial evaluationFinal evaluation Walk or use your bicycle instead of driving an automobile019 Pollute less09 Put waste in the garbage07 Inform others06 Recycle06 Sort your waste02 Plant a garden02 Plant trees02 Use plastic containers for your sandwich instead of plastic bags01 I can’t really do something (I am only one person)11 I don’t know380

17 Students’ impression that people will mobilize and that we will be able to stop the damage (n=39) AnswersInitial evaluationFinal evaluation No, there are always people that are going to pollute120 No, there is already a lot of pollution in the atmosphere and we can’t take it out 02 It may be natural02 No, we are used to taking our automobiles, faster ways02 There is already a lot of pollution in the atmosphere and the greenhouse is very much damaged 01 People don’t know that climate change is occuring01 There are many climate changes and you can’t tell where they are01 It is a powerful thing01

18 Results: Pedagogical activities that helped their understanding (n=39) ActivitiesFinal evaluation Beach outing17 Team work as scientists11 Conference at the University8 The action of planting trees with their explanations5 Forest outing4 Climate change explanations3 All the activities (what we saw, discussed)2 The video2 Review after the activities1 Water samples1

19 Observation of the commitment of 7 students in Barachois  Individual interviews during the entire project  Results: not every student was at the same point Intention : wants to talk about it Talks about it Talks about it Environmental actions Exercise vigilance Exercise vigilance Avoid … Avoid … Recover… Recover… Brings on new behaviour... Brings on new behaviour...

20 Conclusion  Start of awareness  Commitment expressed by the desire to know more, to explain to others, to participate in actions  Transition of the spectator status to the actor …support !

21 Result analysis  Important improvement of the students’ conceptions on the nature, causes, evidence, local and personal consequences of climate change and actions you can take  Development in some students of erroneous or unexpected conceptions: Erroneous comprehension of the greenhouse effect (n=3) Erroneous comprehension of the greenhouse effect (n=3) Confusion between climate change and the normal change in the seasons (n=2) Confusion between climate change and the normal change in the seasons (n=2) Conception that litter has an impact on the climate (n=8) Conception that litter has an impact on the climate (n=8) Conception that climate change is an important phenomenon and that adults won’t mobilize to change things (n=20) Conception that climate change is an important phenomenon and that adults won’t mobilize to change things (n=20)

22 Model analysis  The local study of the phenomenon has encouraged an awareness and made learning easier  Students were encouraged to learn by the socioconstructivist approach (like scientists) but found it difficult  Students liked to handle scientific instruments  The drawing of the greenhouse effect was efficient  The accomplishment of an action helped develop a feeling of capability to act  Sensory activities linking with nature are useful  The communication of knowledge helped in the retention and was appreciated because teenagers like to meet other teenagers

23 Modifications to the model  Allow more time to better understand the phenomenon and to practice new behaviour  Give the chance to accomplish personal actions and not only group actions : students could choose by themselves to try out behaviour and to hear about others that do the same Potential development of the idea that many others are mobilizing to change things Potential development of the idea that many others are mobilizing to change things

24 The Mutants’ Circle Project An action research  Teachers try to modify their students’ behaviour  We monitor the students while they try out their new behaviour


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