In Singaporean schools, students have many opportunities to deal with a variety of environmental issues. With the launch of Environmental Patronage Program in March 2021 we will see more focus on such programs to encourage students to practice environmentally friendly habits.
Here, three primary schools talk about their recent Climate Week events in July and showcase opportunities when it comes to environmental education.
We go on an adventure in our backyard
During the Climate Week, students of the 5th elementary school Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School came to the school grounds for science lessons. Their challenge? To detect and identify as many wildlife species as possible in the allotted time.
Head of Science Mr Su Gam Seng says: “Many students may not be aware of Singapore’s biodiversity. We want them to know about the wildlife that is in their environment and awaken their love for nature. That way they will better understand why it is so important that we take care of the environment. ”
With a set of reliable binoculars and a field guide to common birds and insects in Singapore, students explored all parts of the school and recorded their findings – as scientists do. Students also learned to use other sense organs to observe the environment, such as trying to recognize the cries of birds.
By the end of the class, they proudly identified several species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Some of these observations also evoked mini-lessons from accompanying teachers, such as how bees play an important role in the ecosystem by pollinating flowers.
5th grader Nicki Chi says, “We hear birds, but they’re pretty hard to spot. I think trees can be home to many other animals we can’t see and we should try to protect them! ”
Disable “energy vampire devices” that charge energy
Compared to wildlife, it may seem a little harder to captivate students with energy efficiency. But when Woodgrove Elementary Schoolteachers have found that with a little imagination and technology turning off devices can be a lot of fun.
Students already know they have to turn off lights and fans when they’re not in use, so during Climate Action Week, teachers decided to focus on “vampire appliances,” a name they give to appliances that continue to draw energy even when they’re turned off. To excite the students, the teachers played an analogy with vampires and turned the classroom into a “Vampire Slayer Training Room”.
During the break, P5 students took turns visiting a room that was furnished to look like a typical HDB apartment, and hunting for “vampires” hidden in it. By scanning appliances (such as a printer or TV) using the augmented reality (AR) application on their tablets, students learned about the energy consumed by the devices in standby mode. They then practiced the right way to stop the “vampires” by unplugging the power supply and safely unplugging them from the outlet.
Thanks to this role-playing game and interactive approach, teachers hope to create an unforgettable experience with effective steps that students will be able to take after Climate Action Week.
Responsible teacher Ms. Fatin Suhaila Bte Omar says: “We hope that students will be inspired to share their new knowledge about vampire devices with their families and take the initiative to reduce energy consumption at home.”
Food waste management – one plate at a time
There is little for us as personal as the food we eat. By choosing to focus on food waste for its Climate Action Week program, Tampin Nauch Primary School teachers hope to enable their students to make responsible choices when it comes to sustainability – starting with what they have on their plates.
As part of the “TNPS Love Our Food” campaign, students learned about the efforts made in growing and preparing the food they eat. They promised to buy only what they could eat, and to eat everything that was on the plate.
The best part of this campaign is that the next steps are immediate and visible. During the break, students demonstrate their squeaky clean plates and lunch boxes after meals. Teachers also reaffirm their efforts, encouraging them to make it a habit.
In addition to reducing waste, students also learned to “recycle” leftover food that cannot be eaten, for example, by bringing fruit peels into compost. This was the proposal of one of the school’s Green Champs, who are class leaders responsible for environmental sustainability. They take turns collecting the peel of the fruit and after the break put it in the school electric composter. In just a few hours, the peel of the fruit turns into nutrient-rich compost.
To close the food processing cycle, compost is used in school gardens, where grades 2 and 4 of elementary school grow and harvest their own vegetables. Seeing plants thrive with compost made from their food waste undoubtedly prompts students to post sustainability!