At SCIA, lessons about sustainability is weaved seamlessly into Teaching & Learning. Teachers skilfully create situations where students are prompted to reflect upon their own experiences and worldview, in the process sharpening their critical thinking skills towards saving the environment.
At SCIA High School, the lessons cover a range of topics such as distinguishing between renewable and non-renewable energy sources, positive and negative effects of humans on the environment, habitat destruction, plastics and microplastics, and conservation zones set up by different nations around the world. The students embark on creative projects such as learning about water purification process and creating their own water filter. One such project was exhibited in the Cambodia STEM festival last year in November 2018.
The lesson modules follow a steady progression, in tandem with the curriculum of related subjects like Science and Geography. For instance, the seventh graders learn to recognise how organisms are adapted to their environment. By the end of ninth grade, the students are tasked to search for data independently, on real world environmental issues such as mining, urbanisation, deforestation, as well as the harmful impacts of plastic.
Sustainability education is future-oriented, and at the same time, imparts important skills and values to the students. They are challenged to think about creating a more ecologically just world, to link up knowledge across multiple subjects, to practise inquiry-based learning and to take informed actions. SCIA’s method of educating students stresses on how their current actions have consequences in their future. If we have learned anything from the past and the present, it is the need to preserve the planet and the smallest activities such as conserving electricity and water can lead to bigger changes. As the students grow older, these lessons become part of their behavioural instincts and thus, contribute to the bigger picture of caring for the world they live in. As facilitators in education, SCIA teachers are committed to their role of guiding the children to understand the importance of an interconnected world, a oneness with the planet and the people in it, because realising this value now will turn them into conscious adults.
This year, SCIA celebrates Earth Day with a series of activities for parents and students to gain more awareness and in their own ways, contribute towards a more sustainable environment.
The activities at SCIA Earth Day 2019 include using household items such as bottle caps and used plastic bottles to create works of art and life hacks for home improvement. The projects planned for the day are well-adapted for all age groups. While building a homemade bio-water filter will be more suited for the older students, the recycled paper crafts and paper seed project might pique the interest of the younger children. The seed paper project is particularly interesting and could, in fact, be utilised to easily start a garden. Seed paper is literally paper with seeds embedded into it. When this paper is placed on top of soil and watered, it will germinate and begin sprouting seedlings. Eventually, the paper will decompose, leaving the seedlings to grow into mature plants. A few years ago, a “green newspaper” was invented by Mainichi Shimbunsha, a famous Japanese daily newspaper. It is a 100% sustainable newspaper that follows the same methods of the seed paper. Through all fun and games, a lot of good can come through such endeavours.
SCIA will also showcase the students’ eco brick project. Eco bricks are useable building blocks created by packing clean and dry used plastic into plastic bottles to a set density. Eco bricking a good way to make use of unrecyclable plastic that already exists in our homes and workplaces. These eco bricks can be used to replace ceramic and concrete bricks, and have been used in building homes and pathways in some countries, including Cambodia and Indonesia.
While these activities comprise fun and creative projects, the ultimate goal is to turn the event into a day of practical learning and plant the seeds of environmental awareness in all the participants.
SCIA is optimistic that by planting the seeds today, enormous benefits can be reaped in the future to create a better world for all.
Members of the public are welcome to join the SCIA Earth Day 2019, which will be held on 28 April, Sunday 9AM to 2PM at Eden Garden. Register for SCIA Earth Day event here.