1. Introductory Activity
Title: Leap Frog!
Description: A legend and experimental activity on the greenhouse effect.
Aim: Find out about and understand the greenhouse effect.
Timing: An hour and a half.
Materials: A board, paints or marker pens, a sphere or an old plastic ball, two thermometers and a glass bowl or cheese dish that is bigger than the sphere.
Procedures and Development:
First of all, pupils are asked to decorate the sphere so that it looks like planet Earth, they then place it on the board and then cover it with the glass bowl. A thermometer is placed inside and outside the bowl.
The experiment needs to be carried out in a place with plenty of sunlight. If there is not then a table lamp will be used for the experiment to simulate the sun’s rays.
After an hour we will see the results and write them down to record them. We will see that the temperature inside the transparent bowl is higher than on the outside.
If we did two parallel simulations, one with a shiny object inside and another with an opaque object, we would see the shinier the object the more light it reflects. This energy reflected in the form of light is not trapped by the glass bowl but can pass through it onto the outside. However, the energy that it projects and emits in the form of heat will remain trapped inside our greenhouse.
On our planet we know that snow has a large part of luminous radiation (albedo), which is why scientists calculate that the disappearance of the portion of snow-covered parts of the planet’s surface will increase the greenhouse effect even more.
Consolidation activity and level of understanding:
Establish a parallelism between the frog and our attitude to climate change. What is happening to us? The teacher can pose the following questions depending on the pupils’ age and level:
- Where does the heat in the greenhouse come from?
- Could you explain why the heat enters but does not leave?
- What do you think would happen if we painted the sphere black and if we covered it in aluminium foil?
Play the game Wakeup the frog, available on the handbook web.
2. Previous knowledge activity.
Title: And you? What do you know?
Description: It consists of a research activity into their knowledge of the subject.
Firstly, to detect previous ideas of the group about climate change carry out a small-scale social study of the subject, by means of a survey of people around us, which can also help us to find out erroneous information about climate change which can be of great value to us in order to remedy it.
Development of the activity:
The activity will be divided into two parts: firstly, we will give the pupils a paper copy survey for them to complete. Once the surveys have been carried out they will be handed in to the teacher to correct any mistakes. A conversation will be held between pupils and the teacher, about what they thought of the questions and which were more difficult to answer and why. Secondly, every pupil will be given another survey with the same questions for them to interview someone around them on the topic which they should bring the next day.
Once the surveys have been collected, with the information gathered the teacher will work on conceptual contents and available procedures like for example simple experiments that help to understand and raise awareness of the subject. They will clear up any doubts, expand on information and correct misconceptions about climate change which are identified in the surveys carried out.
1. What do you know about climate change?
2. How have you learnt what you know about this subject?
3. What factors are causing climate change and why?
4. Have you ever heard of greenhouse gases? Do you know what they consist of
and what they are?
5. What consequences is climate change having on our planet at present? Do you
know what they will be in the future?
6. Is there anything we can do to stop climate change? Could you specify any
3. Awareness-raising activity about resources, recycling and climate change.
Title:With an artist’s eyes: I recreate, I imagine, I recycle.
Description: A creative activity to raise awareness of the need to recycle waste.
Understand the importance of discovering new uses for discarded objects. Awaken attitudes towards making good use of resources and encourage the recycling of different everyday materials. Detect previous ideas of the group about climate change.
Materials needed: Card, glue, sheets of paper, coloured pencils, watercolours, felt pens and household waste brought in by the pupils from their homes.
Duration: Two sessions.
The day before the first session of the game, the teacher informs pupils that they must bring to school an object from home considered to be unusable: metal containers, objects that are broken or don’t work, plastic objects, old clothes, worn footwear etc.
For the first session and as a first step, each participant puts the object they have brought on the table; wrapped in such a way that no one knows what is in the package. Secondly, the teacher will ask pupils to exchange objects with their classmates, so that no one has their own.
The teacher then gives out blank sheets of paper, and tells them to open their packages and look at the object they have with an artist’s or inventor’s eyes for a few minutes, think of and write down what uses they could give to this object in the state it is. After five or six minutes each participant will read out their notes describing the object they got and the new uses it could have. A point will be given for each use the pupil has mentioned. When each pupil has had their turn at saying the uses they found, the other class mates can suggest other ideas that occur to them.
All the points will be counted, to see who has got the most, using their imagination and ingenuity to make use of the resources available and being able to look at things with fresh eyes.
In the second session, the teacher gets pupils to express freely what the concept of climate change suggests to them: it can be a word, an idea, a sentence, a feeling, whatever occurs to them and their contributions should be put up on the board.
The teacher will ask random groups to be formed of four or five pupils and then proposes that they create a piece of work inspired in their ideas, concepts or feelings that have arisen from talking about the topic. In order to carry out their proposal, they should come to an agreement amongst themselves, about what materials they are going to use and if they are going to create a picture, a collage, sculpture, song, a toy, an invented apparatus etc…
Groups will be invited to use the objects brought from home and can interchange objects amongst each other for their purpose.
4. Water Activities
Title: The grey pond and Water thieves experiment.
Description: A children’s story about water pollution and an experiment in which we will see what happens when pollutants enter the water supply.
Aim: Raise awareness about caring for the environment and the consequences of polluting water. Learn to look after this vital resource.
Materials: We need 2 jars or vase-type containers, a knife, two leeks, two celery stalks, white daisies, coloured ink and a jug of water.
Once upon a time there was a boy who, on walking through a wood, thought he heard a sad lament, as if someone was crying as they sang. Following the sound he came to a large circular spring, grey and mysterious. The constant sobbing seemed to come from the spring’s pool; but on looking into its dirty water he could only see grey fish swimming slowly in circles, and from whose mouths came the sobbing with each lap of the pool.
Amused by the situation, the boy tried to catch one of those incredible talking fish, but on putting his hand into the water, his arm was grey up to the elbow, and an enormous sadness came over him, and at the same time he understood the sadness of those fish; he felt the same as the earth felt, he felt dirty and polluted.
He took his hand out of the water quickly, and ran away. But his hand was still grey, and the boy still felt sad.
He tried lots of things to cheer himself up, but nothing worked, until he realized that he could only feel happy again by returning joy to the earth. From then on he dedicated himself to caring for the country-side, plants, cleanliness of the water, and he tried to get everyone to do the same. He was so successful, that his hand started to recover its colour, and when the grey had completely disappeared, and he felt cheerful again, he dared to return to the spring. And from a distance he could hear the joyful song of the coloured fish that jumped and danced in the crystal clear waters of that magic spring. And that is how he knew the earth felt happy, and he himself felt a deep happiness.
Author. Pedro Pablo Sacristán
Development and procedure:
Put two centimetres of ink in one of the glass jars and the same amount of water. Wash the flowers, the leek and the celery stalk. Stand them up in the coloured water and leave them there for a couple of days. In the other jar, simply put the flowers and the other food stuff in clean water. As time passes you will gradually see how the coloured water is absorbed by the flowers after a day or two. The colouring acts like a pollutant. On drinking the water the plants absorb all the pollutants it contains. The same thing happens with people and animals that drink polluted water.
Consolidation Activity and level of understanding:
Ask participants to observe and number the changes the flowers and the food stuffs have gone through in the different jars.
Ask what they believe to be the cause of those changes and what conclusions we can draw from this test in our daily lives.
Title: Polluted waters game.
Group dynamics with a physical game component.
Aim: Understand and internalize, through the physical and emotional implication of the dynamics, the problem of water pollution and understand the multiplying effect of pollution.
Materials: A blindfold, two sticks of black face-paint and signs with the names of the characters they represent.
The playing of games is a dynamic and participative way of learning. By means of a capture game we come to conclusions that we can extend to real functioning of natural systems. Players are classified into:
- Polluting particle: 1 participant.
- Plants: 4 participants.
- Animals: 2 participants.
- Person: 1 participant.
- Drops of water: rest of participants.
The teacher will help the contaminating particle to put a black mark on the polluted players and will act as referee and moderator, who therefore as witness observes which participants have been touched by another contaminated one. The polluting particle will have their eyes blindfolded. The drops of water should wander around the room shouting Water comes, water goes!
When the polluting particle finds a drop of water it will be immediately polluted, which will be symbolized by a black drop on the forehead. The plants should try to catch as many drops of water as they can, in order to do so, they should hold onto them without letting go, if any of those captured is polluted, the plant will automatically be polluted and be marked. The animals can capture drops of water or plants, as in the previous case. the person should capture any of the previous characters.
As the game is played, everyone will quickly be polluted, which will show participants how a small polluting particle can pollute all our system.
Consolidation and comprehension activity:
Invite players to draw conclusions about pollution having played the game, get them to number different pollutants, and the effect that they have in the food chain. 486
5. Atmosphere Activities
Title: Riddle. How much do we consume?
In this activity children will learn and visualize specifically what surface area of vegetation is necessary in order to produce the oxygen each child needs to breathe.
Raise awareness about the great importance of the existence of forests and of marine plankton in order to maintain the balance of gases in the atmosphere and for our survival. Know and be able to identify the proportional relationship that exists, between the amount of oxygen that each of us needs, to breathe each day and the volume of plants essential to produce that oxygen.
Timing: 40 minutes.
Materials: Ropes, sticks or stones, a tape measure, pencil and paper.
First of all, a trip to the countryside or to a nearby garden is organized and sticks or stones are gathered on the way.
Once they arrive at the garden, the teacher invites pupils to leave the sticks, stones and the ropes in a particular place and around them a circle is formed and we sit down. The teacher will find out what the participants know about photosynthesis and how plants produce oxygen. Great emphasis will be given to highlighting that all green plants produce oxygen.
The name of the activity will be revealed to create expectation and motivation. The children should estimate, what surface area of grass is necessary to produce the oxygen a person needs to live for a whole day.
Afterwards it will be explained to them that according to some studies humans consume 360 litres of oxygen a day and that an area of approximately 3m2 is enough to cover the oxygen demands of one person. In groups of four or five they will be asked to mark out using the sticks and stones a surface area of grass of these dimensions and they will see the green surface area that each pupil needs for their daily breathing.
Consolidation activity and level of understanding:
Ask questions like the following: In light of the knowledge acquired, what is the total area of vegetation necessary for all the class or all the school to have sufficient oxygen? Why do you think it is possible that in places or cities where there are little or nearly no green spaces it is possible to breathe?
Seaweed together with rainforests produce and liberate oxygen essential to maintain the balance of gases in the atmosphere, this is why we can say that rainforests and seaweed are the Earth’s lungs. Can you imagine what would happen to us if the forests and seaweed disappeared due to pollution?
Title: Red alert CO₂ is rising!
Description: The activity consists of an experiment to observe and test how the presence of CO₂ causes the temperature to rise in a glass jar.
View the action of CO₂ with respect to the rise in temperature. Raise awareness about the importance of reducing CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere. Teach habits which pollute less. Relate this phenomenon to climate change.
Timing: 20 minutes.
A glass or small jar, two medium-sized glasses, two large glasses, two small alcohol thermometers, a lamp and a light bulb of more than 60w, bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and a teaspoon.
Take two medium-sized glass jars and put a small thermometer inside, which will show the temperature inside each of the glasses. Then we will place two large glasses upside down over each of the other glasses covering them like a protective shell, and under a lamp which generates heat. In a few minutes we will see how the air temperature, on the inside of the glasses, will start to rise. In a small pot or glass which will fit inside the glasses, we will mix two teaspoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda and 40ml of vinegar which will produce a reaction of CO₂. We then quickly put the pot of mixture into one of the glasses exposed to the lamplight, next to the thermometer. After a few minutes we will see that in the glass where there is a greater concentration of CO₂ the temperature is higher, due to the greater concentration of the presence of the gas.
Consolidation activity and level of comprehension:
Did you know that we emit CO₂ in our houses? Use the emissions calculator on the handbook’s web.
Do you know any of the consequences that uncontrolled emissions of this gas can have as regards the climate? Do you think it has any relation with the greenhouse effect?
6. Energy Activities.
Title: What about building a solar oven?
Description: Build a solar oven.
Objectives: Raise awareness about renewable energies. Experiment with solar energy.
Timing: 25 minutes.
Materials: A pizza box, black card, a transparent plastic bag, aluminium foil, glue, scissors and a pencil.
First of all, we will cover the pizza box with foil. Secondly, we will cut the card to cover the inside of the box. Then we place a plastic bag inside, which allows the sunlight to pass through and inside the bag we will place a food item, like for example a ham and cheese sandwich which will be placed on the base of black card.
Once our oven is ready, we will place it in the sun, making sure the box lid is tilted so that it receives sunlight inside and is not in the shadow of the lid. After a few minutes our sandwich will be warm and ready to eat. This oven can reach up to a temperature of 70º.
Title: Renewable energies game.
Description: A dynamic game about the different forms of energy and their possibilities of lasting and being stored and renewed.
Objectives: Raise awareness of the importance of the use of clean energy.
Timing: 30 minutes.
Materials: Cards and signs with the names of the different headquarters or power stations (solar, wind, nuclear and coal) and another with rubbish.
The teacher will give out name cards of the different roles to be played: there will be five of each power, five sun, five coal, five nuclear and five wind. There will be four electrical appliance cards which work with one of these energies and lightening.
In the place where the activity is carried out four signs with the names of the different power stations will be put in each corner, where each one’s resources will be stored and in another place the rubbish sign.
The participants who have resource roles will have to recognize each other by means of mime, and then holding hands go to their station or headquarters. Then the different electrical appliances (refrigerator, cooker, heater and fan) representing their role and by miming each one will head to a power station, stretch out their hand and when the resource takes hold will start working, running round the space. If the lightning touches their hands the resource is broken and if it is not renewable it will go to the rubbish. In the case of the renewable energies they return to their power station. The electrical appliance will return to its headquarters and look for another resource to work with. The game finishes when the fossil fuels run out.
Complementary activity and consolidation:
Count which of the energies are clean or dirty and draw conclusions as to the use of each one.
7. Soil activities.
Title: Don’t remove my protection!
Description: A fun and dynamic activity on the essential role of trees in protecting the soil and avoiding desertification.
Aims: Understand the importance of the function of trees as elements of soil conservation. Foster conservationist attitudes towards nature. Encourage reforestation action.
Timing: 30 minutes.
Materials: Patio or garden, sheets of newspaper or recycled paper, stones and chalks.
First of all, the ground will be divided up using chalk into three squares of approximately 20m². The game starts giving instructions and handing out roles to the participants: four pupils will be erosive agents; rain, snow, wind and groundwater. The rest will be half trees and half undergrowth and bushes. The undergrowth and trees hold the soil together thanks to their roots. Twenty sheets of paper will be placed in the first square and the pupils who represent trees and undergrowth will position themselves on them, trees standing and undergrowth squatting. Pupils who represent the erosive agents are ready on the edge of the square waiting for the coordinators signal. When they give the signal, the four pupils should go into the square and try to snatch as many papers as they can, whilst the trees and undergrowth defend them with their hands and feet. They can also hold each other’s hand to stop the erosive agents getting through. After a few minutes the coordinator will give the sign to stop and write down the number of papers obtained, which symbolize fertile soil.
This second time the participants will go to another of the squares, but this time twenty sheets of paper will be placed on the ground held down by twelve pupils, trees and undergrowth and the others by twelve stones. The signal is given again for the rain and snow etc. After a few minutes, the signal to stop is given and the number of papers obtained in the same time, are counted.
Finally, pupils acting as erosive agents, will go into the last square, which will have 20 sheets of paper held down only by stones and the same sequence of giving the signal is repeated, to start and to finish when all the papers have been taken.
To finish, the teacher will show the results obtained in the three cases. They will talk about the importance of trees and vegetation to fix and protect the plant cover, and of the great problem and risks that deforestation implies.
Consolidation activity and level of understanding:
With the figures available, the teacher will ask pupils to express in their own words the conclusions they have drawn after going through this dynamic, and provide specific proposals of good practice to avoid soil erosion.
Title: Providing solutions, involving our hands.
Practical workshop on Japanese reforestation techniques, called Nendo dango, which means balls of clay. It involves making small balls of clay, with seeds of different species of trees and shrubs, and scattering them over the ground. The layer of clay, once dry, stops the seeds becoming food for the birds, rodents and other animals, and it is the rain that frees the future trees from their protective coating and helps them germinate.
Learn a simple and efficient reforestation technique, with the aim of improving nature, create carbon dioxide sumps and protect fertile soil.
Two sessions: one of 30 minutes to make the clay balls and another to scatter them in the designated area.
A plastic bowl for every four or five children, 400 grams of clay, 100 grams of potting compost, humus or manure, 100 grams of a variety of seeds grasses, legumes, shrubs and indigenous trees of the area, Cayenne pepper or thyme and water.
First of all, we explain to the pupils what we are going to do and what the germination process is of each seed that we are going to use, in what order they will do it and what function each one will carry out. The grasses and legumes first, breaking up the soil, generating a micro climate and providing nutrients in the case of the legumes, which fix nitrogen, so that favourable conditions and temperature are created for the next occurrence: shrub-tree.
The technique consists of coating seeds in clay which will act as protection and provide the appropriate means for germination. The legume seeds will be put to soak three or four hours before, so that they do not absorb the water in the clay and break the clay ball on expanding.
All the material will be placed on a table protected with plastic.
The instructions are the following:
Mix the clay and small seeds and potting compost. Add the cayenne pepper or the thyme which will act as repellent to protect the clay balls from animals. Add water to this mixture. Knead well until of a firm consistency. Shape into a disc-like shape, give…. Cover them and make a small ball of about 2 or 3 centimetres with the help of the table top or between our hands. Let them dry. In summer, dry them in the shade so they do not crack and in Winter, dry them in the sun. The small Nendo dango balls are thrown around the areas we want to reforest or enrich… The best time to carry out reforestation is in the autumn with it being the rainy season.
Complementary activity and consolidation:
Projection of the film The man who planted trees, based on the novel by Jean Giono.
Reforestation could be suggested on a global level for the whole school, involving families, and tackle nearby area, where there have recently been forest fires.