“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” – Albert Einstein. This was the goal of the project powerfulnaturekingdom.et (age category 4-11 winner): to look, observe, analyse and understand how important nature is in our lives. Let’s have a look deep into the nature of the project and see what it achieved!
Once upon a time, schools in two different European countries decided to develop their students’ feelings, emotions and the way of looking at nature with “greener” eyes. In order for these students become aware of and actively participate in protecting the natural environment and to evolve into responsible citizens of tomorrow, their teachers decided to take several steps to create an eTwinning project:
What did the route to this magical journey deep of demystifying nature’s secrets include?
- The Gathering: Through the modern magic of technology, including a video conference, the pupils introduced themselves and discussed their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes and worries about the powerful nature kingdom.
- Magical friends: Once the students met each other, they worked on on the first part of the project: finding a mascot (art work), designing a common logo on-line and create a hymn for the project, which they chanted also in videos.
- Dangers all around! As citizens of this world, students observed (Photography competition), took notes (creation of a story) and shared responsibilities: each school selected an animal/plant in danger, while the partner school gave possible solutions to save the endangered species selected by the other school.
- Witches… Students explored the links between folklore and nature, for example by studying the opposite country’s stories of women who understood the power of healing herbs but were accused of witchcraft.
- … and humans! Powerful Nature Kingdom is in our own hands. Students acted as journalists and interviewed adults, children and authorities, with the final result being a multilingual video clip including images and strong messages
- The powerful dictionary and an online magazine: A trilingual dictionary (Greek, Catalan, English) with the most important definitions used in the process, as well as an online magazine were created in parallel with and were developed further during the project.
- Online celebration: where students celebrated together, despite the distance.
…and they lived happily ever after: By learning to respect the natural kingdom, students also gained more powerful skills, without even realising it: they learned to actively participate to the learning process by making them reflect on their strategies, their oral and written skills in English were improved, along with competences like collaboration, cooperation and communication. What is more, students developed their ICT skills in a didactic way and even expanded the results of their collaborative work out of the small community of their class: to their schools, towns, countries.
Do you think it is hard to organise a project like this? Fina Vendrell Vila, one of the project founders, has an advice for you: “I would say do not hesitate because etwinning is like a treasure box. Every time you open it you find a new treasure to help you to teach and to learn in a different way.”
Environmental protection is one of the most important things what teachers can teach to children because their future depends on it. The topic is interesting for children and it was approached in different ways. The collaboration was also very good and effective between the partners. Parents, school and local community were involved and contributed to the outcomes of the project. The project includes innovative effective pedagogical methods, which aim to encourage students to learn independently and involve use of ICT.
Fina Vendrell Vila (Collegi Sant Josep, Spain)
Angeliki Kougiourouki (1rst Model Experimental Primary School, Alexandroupolis, Greece)