Step 5: Curriculum Linking
Besides increasing the status of the Eco-Schools programme, linking activities and results from the Eco-Schools process to the curriculum ensures the progamme is integrated very well with the school community. In addition to increasing awareness on environmental issues, such linking helps address cross-curricular issues such as citizenship, personal and social education, health, business, and sustainable development education.
The simplest way to go about doing this is to infuse environmental education (as in Eco-Schools activities) into the already existing subjects in your school. The amount of linking is dependent on how your school curriculum is structured and the extent to which, you as a teacher, are willing to engage in this initiative. It would be easier to introduce this as incidental teaching where data obtained from Eco-School activities is used across subjects as and when available and possible.
The list below broadly illustrates some ideas on how environmental education can be integrated with certain curriculum subjects. This is not an exhaustive list…..but teachers will be able to tailor their lesson plans in a manner that they integrate Eco-School activities / results..
English / Language
- Discussing and debating various aspects of specific environmental issues
- Writing reports and keeping minutes during meetings
- Writing letters to local municipal / education authorities, community leaders, newspaper editors, business persons, etc.
- Writing argumentative or persuasive essays on important issues like water conservation in the UAE, better waste management practices in the UAE, importance of using public transport whenever possible, etc.
- (Wherever possible, encourage school and students to purchase FSC certified paper, if affordable, or paper obtained from sustainable forests. Recycled paper / stationery can also be considered as an alternative option)
- Designing and conducting surveys
- Collating survey results and presenting them as graphs
- Carrying out mathematical calculations such as the per capita reduction in consumption of water, electricity; reduction in per capita production of waste, amount of CO2 generated by your school annually using the carbon calculator provided to you, etc.
- Managing finances; learning to budget expenses
- (Taking care of all mathematical apparatus like calculators, rulers, and sensible use of graph paper, etc.) Social Sciences
- Reading and producing maps of the school and locality; using map features such as scale bars, symbols and keys to highlight important information
- Understanding how humans interact with their environment...for e.g.: try and find out how the Bedouins lived in the harsh desert conditions years ago
- Understand how dune formation takes place in a desert
- Identify reasons for, and consequences of rapid development in the UAE
- Understand how lifestyle in the UAE changed through the years
- Using photographs, documents, oral accounts and other sources of information to appreciate these facts
- Weather in the UAE – how it affects the way we live here
- Appreciate linking of culture and traditions with certain lifestyle practices in the UAE. You may organize cultural day celebrations in your school, get elderly people to talk of the days when they lived like Bedouins, etc.
- Visit a mountain protected area like Wadi Wurayah in Fujairah…understanding a wadi ecosystem, threats to the wadi, identify management and solutions to protect such areas, highlight role of public and voluntary bodies; visit the local museum or heritage village to understand and appreciate cultural and traditional practices
- Discuss the need for increased consumer awareness on the economics of eco-friendly purchases
- Encourage students to read product labels and buy local produce whenever possible
- Explore the Hajar mountains, the wadis, the desert …factors that influence the type of animals and plants found there…understand relationships between living and non-living things in nature
- Arrange visits to the Sharjah Desert Park when desert animals are to be studied
- Understand how plants and animals manage to live with very little water, try and grow native plants in the school garden, try and grow plants that can tolerate saline water
- Develop knowledge about finite earth resources, the environmental issues caused by excessive fossil fuel consumption and how to reduce the impact
- Raise awareness on the different kinds of materials we use in our daily lives and its impact on the environment
- Raise awareness on advances in technology that could help solve environmental issues…like fuel efficient cars, LED lights, solar powered gadgets, vacuum flush tanks, etc.
- Raise awareness on the importance of renewable energy sources for the future
- Recycle organic wastes through composting
Information Communications Technology
- Use spreadsheet software to organize and present your environmental review results
- Use publishing software to publish reports. Tthese reports can be displayed on the Eco-Schools notice board
- Use presentation software like Power point to prepare presentations about specific topics, say, to a potential sponsor who is likely to donate some funds for a specific activity
- Design and maintain websites to convey information - maybe, help setup a school website
- Try and establish a paperless community in your school; initiate an e-newsletter if you still use paper
- Recycle toner cartridges, if possible; purchase energy efficient gadgets whenever possible
Art and Design
- Draw murals and producing sculptors (based on our natural environment) to embellish your school
- Design and produce posters, leaflets, stickers and other communication material to spread information within your school and community beyond
- Organise art festivals and exhibitions within your school, between schools in your community , and the general community at large to spread the message of eco-friendly practices
(Adopted from Eco-Schools USA, Ekoskola, Eco-Schools Scotland)