Action Projects Gallery
Class action projects encourage students to “take action” on an issue of concern and provides empowering learning opportunities. In this lesson, students build on their understanding of the issue of climate change by reviewing types of action projects and a range of action project examples. Students then identify specific areas of concern to their community and brainstorm possible action projects that they might undertake as a class.
Time Required: 90 minutes
Province: British Columbia
Part One: Identifying Types of Climate Change Action Projects
1. Arrange the class into groups of four students. Provide each group with the Types of Action Projects page. Ask the students to read through it carefully and briefly discuss as a group what type(s) of action projects appeal the most and why.
2. Give each group a set of the Climate Change Action Project Cards. Ask the students to take turns reading the cards aloud to their group. The group should then decide what type of action project each card represents and sort them into piles, using the Types of Action Projects page as a guide. Help students to recognize that projects are often made up of smaller projects and may overlap several categories or not fit at all.
3. Encourage the students to include their own action project ideas. For each new idea, new cards should be made by students and added to the appropriate pile.
4. Debrief by asking each group to share one action project idea that seems most interesting to them, the category (type) they put it into, and why they chose it. Groups should also share their new ideas cards. As a whole class, brainstorm further ideas, and record these on cards also.
Part Two: Examining Climate Change
Action Project Case Studies
1. Ask each group to identify and discuss aspects of climate change that are of concern to them. As much as possible, guide the students to identify local climate change related issues that in some way directly affect their lives and community. Examples could include concerns such as: excessive greenhouse gas emissions due to too many students being driven to school each day; wasted energy for heating the school due to doors and windows being left open or fitting poorly; large amounts of unnecessary garbage due to a lack of a comprehensive recycling program at the school; or minimal green spaces in the schoolgrounds.
2. Ask each group to share their identified issues with the class; record the groups’ responses. Discuss and record any other concerns that arise during the discussion.
3. Help the students to realize how they might address their identified concerns by taking on an action project as a class. Examples of specific case studies can help guide students to decide upon and begin planning an action project. Note, action projects can range widely in scope and duration.
Either describe in detail a few examples of case studies to the class or provide each group with a printed version of a case study to read through and share. Discuss the case studies with the class, encouraging questions. Ask the students if they have been involved in or are aware of other examples of action projects undertaken by classes, schools or community groups; encourage them to describe these projects to the class in enough detail so that the “who”, “why”, “how” and “what happened” are answered.
4. Ask each group to discuss and answer the following questions for at least one of the case studies and record their responses on a piece of paper:
• How did the action project relate to the issue of climate change?
• Were other environmental issues also addressed? If yes, what were they?
• What was the main action or event they carried out?
• What happened: what was the result of their action?
• Can you think of things you might do differently? Why?
1. In groups, ask the students to decide upon one aspect of climate change that interests them the most. Ask them to discuss possible action projects that would address their chosen aspect, including those from Part One. Remind the students that new ideas are fine. In order to share with the class, students should record their aspect of climate change and action project idea on a piece of flip chart paper. In their presentation to the class, they should describe why they chose that aspect of climate change, how the action project addresses it, and a brief overview of a suggested plan of action. Post each group’s summary to create a class display of possible projects.
2. If the class agrees to take on doing an action project, determine what research they may need to do to help them decide on a single project. See Leap into Action to help guide you and the class in the next steps of choosing the action project and getting started.
1. Print and copy the Types of Action Projects Blackline Master (BLM) page and the Climate Change Action Project Cards (BLM) (see attached lesson plan link) for each group of students. Cut the latter to make a set of individual cards. Also, copy the Case Studies of Action Projects in BC Schools (BLM) and cut so that you can give one case study to each group.
2. Read through the provided case studies of climate change action projects in BC schools. Note the details, especially why the project was initiated, how the class proceeded step by step, and what the outcome was. The “who”, “where”, and “when” provide interest and help make the project real for students. Learning that other classes have completed an action project is often enlightening and empowering – students start to become engaged and believe, “Hey, we can do this too!”
Note: A variety of action projects can address climate change. These include action projects that reduce fossil fuel consumption, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Also, action projects that conserve or enhance native ecosystems and projects that involve planting gardens or trees address climate change by maintaining or increasing the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by vegetation.
3. Check for examples of action projects that have been undertaken by other classes at your school or other schools in your district. They may serve as case studies for your class. If at all possible, find and use examples that address the issue of climate change.
To find action projects involving the greening of the school grounds in your community, check:
Choose an example action project from the case studies. Ask the students to suggest what aspect of climate change it addresses and why. With the class, create a list of criteria for evaluating what makes a good outline of an action project that addresses climate change. Possible criteria include evidence of:
• understanding of the impact of climate change on both the abiotic and biotic components of ecosystems
• understanding of how humans can have a positive effect on the environment, especially on local ecosystems, through action projects that either reduce the amount of CO2 emissions and/or increase the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere
• identification of all the components of an action project (e.g., planning, conducting, evaluating, and celebrating).
For each group:
-Set of Climate Change Action Project Cards (Black Line Masters (BLM)) (see lesson plan )
-Copy of Types of Action Projects (BLM) (see lesson plan )
-Copy of one case study from Case Studies of Action Projects in BC Schools (BLM) (see lesson plan )
-1-2 sheets of paper
-1 sheet of flip-chart paper
-Set of markers
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