Nailsworth pupils have been leading the way in a new ‘Eco-twinning’ project, by building a weather station and writing to other local schools inviting them to do the same.
Domonic White from Nature’s Racers has been working with year 3 students at the school to teach them about climate change by first looking closely at the weather on our doorsteps.
Building on their own findings and observations, the children went on to understand the difference between weather versus climate, and what causes extreme weather. They also explored why rapid climate change can be so problematic, and how we can all work together to improve the current situation.
In small teams, the children re-used everyday waste materials from home to build a weather station for measuring rainfall/precipitation, wind direction, wind speed, plus shadows and other effects of the sun. They recorded their findings in charts using weather symbols they had learnt about earlier on in the project. One team focused purely on observation – noticing the shapes of clouds, listening out for insects, birds and other animals, and noticing any changes in the intensity of colour or smells.
Domonic explained: “Children are growing up in a world where some of the biggest challenges they’ll face are likely to require collaboration across all levels of society, and on a global scale.
“As adults we use eco-buzzwords and sometimes forget to explain the basics to our kids. This can be unsettling and confusing for them, especially when they see dramatic images of floods and wildfires in the news. It’s therefore important to take the time to give them the detail, and to lead by example when it comes to teamwork.
“Headteacher Liz Gellar and her team are an inspiration and have really embraced the idea of ‘eco-twinning’ with true pioneering spirit. Led by their Year 3 teacher, Imogen Bradley, the children wrote to several other schools in the area invitingthem to also build weather stations and to share their findings. I’m excited by the responses I’ve heard about so far, and hope this will become a framework for collaboration which the children can feel ownership for.
“I’ve also been speaking to schools much further afield, including several abroad. These include both primary and secondary schools, and with one local secondary school we’re exploring the possibility of some older children mentoring the younger ones, to hopefully inspire them further. I’ve been so impressed by the pupils at Nailsworth, their intelligence and willingness to learn, plus their caring, polite and friendly approach is exactly what the world needs right now.”
Liz said: “I would recommend working with Nature’s Racers to any of the local schools in the area; taking part in this weather project has beautifully complimented our Year 3’s topic work on ecology and extreme weather. It has been great collaborating with Domonic as he is such an embedded member of our community.”
Year 3 teacher Imogen Bradley added: “The children have really benefited from constructing this weather station as part of their Nature’s Racers project work. Not only have they been able to gain a better understanding of weather’s link with tracking the wider climate, they also have had the opportunity to build a station that is more intricate and imaginative than what we might have created on our own. They have developed team building and problem-solving skills but above all they have become empowered to care for and protect their environment.”
To find out more about how your school can get involved, email Domonic: email@example.com