At the secondary school “Herz Jesu Institut” in Rio di Pusteria in the north of Italy there are special project weeks on various topics which take place regularly. During this time, the pupils work independently on their own or in groups on topics of their choice and interest. The outcome of their research and work process is presented by the learners to teachers and classmates at the end of each project week.
In 2020 the pupils of grade 8 (13-year-old) worked on Global Goals. The learners could choose a “Global Goal”, such as: no poverty, clean water, no hunger, reduce inequalities or measures for climate protection. After intensive research on the problem, the young people collected ideas for an action that could be implemented in school in the next school year 2021. The pupils presented the environmental issue and the action they wanted to suggest as a collage, advertising slogan, TV announcement or video to a jury consisting of teachers and the headmistress.
A group of pupils worked very intensively on “climate change”. This is what one of the pupils stated: “One of these Global Goals is to implement measures for climate protection. Our group that dealt with this topic in detail concluded that it is urgently necessary to implement measures for climate protection at our school. In our “Climate Change” group we drew up a 5-year plan with the aim of making our school as climate neutral as possible so that we too can contribute to climate protection. We have assigned these actions in the 5-year plan to certain time periods within which they should be fulfilled as best as possible.”
This plan includes actions such as:
A digital school with digital tests as in distance learning, school trips with self-made cloth bags with glass or metal bottles for water or tea, vegetarian day with local products from the area at the cafeteria, a school garden where students can grow vegetables and herbs and celebrate tree festivals. Fundraising events to plant trees, using Ecosia as a search engine instead of Google, putting more houseplants in the classrooms, various challenges with rewards for classes that have used the least paper in a month and other interesting actions.
For several years now, the school “Herz Jesu Institut” has organized clothes swaps, home-made healthy snacks, and creative upcycling projects with garbage. Now the headmistress and the teachers would like to take up the suggestions and ideas of the pupils that were developed during these project weeks and implement them in the next school years.
In the year 2021/2022 the focus was on raising awareness on water issues. The aim of the projects, which have been taking place since the beginning of the school year, is not to tell people what they are supposed to do, but to investigate and to develop a sustainable water management.
One of these projects was the creation of a calendar with useful information and facts on water issues. The 150 pupils of the secondary school did research on several water problems such as water usage and textile industry, politics of water, virtual water, water pollution and many more. The learners collected facts and information on the different issues and showed them in a creative presentation to their classmates and teachers. They had to include a visual support of the pieces of information and facts they had gathered. Their ideas had been collected and forwarded to a professional photographer who took pictures of their objects. In the music lessons they played short pieces of music which were added to the calendar by a QR code.
The texts were translated into different languages such as German and Italian for the local audience as well as English and Spanish for an international audience.
Pupils from an upper secondary school that focuses on graphic design created the layout of the calendar which was sponsored by a local bank.
Pupils’ feedback (grade 6, 7 and 8):
We had been working on this project for four weeks (four lessons, 90 minutes each lesson). It was a group work where all pupils from all classes were involved. First, we searched for information on different water issues on the internet. Then, we chose three topics for instance: water equity, water pollution or water consumption. Next, we collected ideas on how to show the problem of water in a photograph. We created different sketches and presented them to our classmates and teachers. Our sketches and ideas were sent to a professional photographer who took pictures of our ideas in our school library.
Finally, the pupils from grade 8 translated the texts with the message of the photograph from German into Italian and English.
It was easy to find information on the different issues, but it was difficult to find an idea and to show it in a photograph. In the groups we had to negotiate which topic to choose and to discuss about the appropriate idea. It was not easy to find a solution and to create a picture that each group member liked. The aim of the project was to make us aware of the worth of water. With this calendar we want to show that there are many problems linked to water, and that it is a limited resource, which we should not waste. It is important to consume and use it in a responsible way.
We liked the project because we could include our ideas, work in groups creatively, and we learned a lot about water consumption and water problems.
We would like to raise funds for a water project in Cameroon by distributing the water calendar in autumn.
You can see the photographs and texts with our music in the PowerPoint presentation.
If you would like to support this project, please donate here:
Association Ashia Cameroon:
Bank Linth LLB AG, CH-8730 Uznach
Donation in Euro IBAN: CH13 0873 1002 3930 0200 4
BC Bank Clearing BLZ: 8731