I teach high school biology in the US and this last year I had students look at age structure diagrams of various countries, look at various aspects of the culture, determine environmental problems facing those areas, etc. The hope was to get a feel for issues that are affecting other areas of the world. Though they could see the issues, they looked at them based upon their perspective. It was tough for them to see another perspective. My goal was to create a global environmental bill of rights for all citizens. Though I did not reach the final project goal, the work along the way was a great way for students to learn about ecosystems and the environment as well as other cultures.
I really think a project along these lines would be a great way to understand biomes, biodiversity, culture, environmental and economic issues, etc. It would also empower students to find a voice regarding the planet they are about to inherit. Perhaps someone will notice their voices(?)
I am looking for educators from all areas of the world who may want to join in on creating a project that looks at environmental issues as well as others along a global scale.
If anyone else has great ideas, I am also interested in hearing these.
Sounds like a worthwhile project. I teach grade 4/5s (10-12 year olds) in a small rural Primary school in South Eastern Australia (Woodford to be exact - it's on Google maps!). We're looking into sustainability projects all the time - I coordinate the 'Green Team' at school and my own students are currently designing products and services with an environment focus that they can responsibly market (potentially for real). Most of what we tackle is locally based - easier for this age group to really get a handle on, but we do dip into issues on a more global scale on an irregular basis as well (watched a vodcast called 'The Story of Stuff' during the week - brilliant example of what's happening on a global stage and what needs to change ... well worth Googling and using in your own classroom).
Anyway, I appreciate that our time zones aren't very compatible and the age difference between my students and yours might not work but I'd certainly be interested in collaborating further none the less.
There's a good new presentation by Al Gore on the TED website (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/243) that focuses on including the cost of carbon in products ... it's an old concept now (I first came across it in the late 80s as a secondary school student) but no less relevant.
I think they would be able to collaborate regardless of the age. The initial goal is to learn about other cultures from the people themselves and come together to learn about global issues and hear others perspectives. The activities will need to be worked out by the teachers involved. I am sure each teacher will have additional activities that their students work on that is not part of the collaborative project. We can begin talking to see if this is a good fit. Can you email me at email@example.com? We probably should create a wiki or ning to begin planning but can start with emails.
I teach at The Academy of St. Francis of Assisi in Liverpool, England. We are a secondary school with and environmnetal specialism and would be very interested in a project of this nature and are already involved with several other collaborations.
This project sounds great - I think you had done some work on TIG for your project last year? Have you looked at the Earth Charter? www.earthcharter.org
There is an Earth Charter Youth Initiative, which students can get involved in, and I know they have some education resources on their site, too. It's a very global initiative, so there may be some ways to reach out to students and teachers around the world through their work (let me know if you'd like help to connect directly with them). At any rate, the Charter itself would be a really good resource for thinking about what an environmental bill of rights looks like, and is a useful document and initiative for seeing where human rights and environmental rights intersect.