Power your Future, in conjunction with WeSchool!


It was time for a new collaboration today; myself working alongside WeSchool. WeSchool is a leading European EdTech player and member of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition that supports over 230 000 teachers and 2 million students in their learning experiences by providing an easy-to-use, accessible and inclusive digital space for learners.

The aim was to bring secondary schools a FREE, highly topical, engaging and interactive virtual multi-schools event.  Throughout this sustainability-themed workshop, which incorporated a number of key themes frequently referenced in geography, science and PSHE lessons at Key Stages 3, 4 and 5, students had the opportunity to explore some of our most pressing environmental challenges and consider how we might overcome them. In the process, they had the chance to develop fundamental geographical and more generic skills, e.g. critical thinking; interpersonal and communication.  

After a formal welcome and introductions from the team, I utilised Digimap for Schools (https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/) to project a map of Europe and pinpoint the locations of the presenters (UK, France and Italy) and the four schools involved today (LVS Ascot, in Berkshire; Bishop Justus in Bromley, London; The Rural Enterprise Academy in Penkridge, Staffordshire and The Hathershaw College in Oldham, Greater Manchester). Never miss an opportunity to develop pupils’ (and teachers’) locational knowledge!

Next, I launched our starter activity. Students were asked to work in small groups and discuss nine headlines that had been published in national broadsheets recently. They were asked to write down as much information as they could about each one. Once ten minutes had elapsed, I zoomed into the various classrooms and groups were invited to share what they had recorded down in their notebooks/on mini whiteboards before I revealed more about each news story.

Then, I challenged pupils to consider how they might classify these headlines. This led to some interesting discussions; they could be sorted according to short term and long term impacts; whether they had a social, political, cultural or environmental connection, by theme, e.g. climate change; cost of living crisis, or relating to scale, e.g. local; national or global.

Students were then given five minutes to rank the headlines in terms of their importance, displaying them in a diamond nine structure. When I visited the classrooms in turn, pupils were encouraged to share the headlines which appeared towards the top and bottom of their diamond nine and justify why they had placed these where they had. Many did this commendably and there was actually much consensus between classrooms.

I handed over to WeSchool representatives to begin our journey. Building on our earlier news-themed activity, they presented students with some stories linked to three imaginary countries on the fictional planet of Ergon.

A brief discussion of the news items unfolded, before youngsters were asked to put themselves in role as the leader of one of the imaginary countries on Ergon. Each country faced environmental challenges similar to those that we encounter on Earth. Via a role play and decision-making style activity in small groups, pupils investigated a number of resources and identified the most appropriate solution/s for their country to adopt in order to promote a sustainable future.

After a short break, it was time for small groups to present their proposal to others within their class. Teachers were asked to select the best proposal from their class. These would go head-to-head in a virtual, nationwide competition. A panel of judges from WeSchool determined an overall winner based upon the most comprehensive, original and relevant proposal. Congratulations to those at Bishop Justus! It was a close call, however; LVS Ascot presented a very clear, well-developed proposal too and so were declared the runner-up.

The workshop was drawn to a close with a period of contemplation. Via a Kahoot quiz, students were prompted to reflect upon their learning and experiences over the past few hours, as well as consider what actions they now might take in order to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure the sustainability of our planet.

Some of the gathered staff and pupil voice can be viewed below:

Staff voice:

Thank you very much; we have enjoyed it.

Thank you so much. This was great!

Thank you very much!

Pupil voice:

Use one word to describe the workshop:

Not a bad way to spend a weekday morning, it seems!

We are looking forward to other similar events in December (Thursday 14th and Friday 15th). Do contact Veronica at WeSchool if you would like to take part: poweryourfuture@weschool.com

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