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Differences and Alternatives, Ulmi Secondary School, Dâmbovița

Why environmental education? Because more than 5.3 million people use natural resources (often abusing them with knowledge and sometime in ignorance). In all corners of this world people cut the trees, extract minerals and energy, damaging the soil, polluting the air and water and generating dangerous waste.

Using an interactive and participatory method with emphasis on critical thinking, research and creative problem solving we aim with this project to help students care about the environment as well as contribute to maintain the environment quality.

The stories we say are always true. Because we really believe this and because we invest a lot of energy in them. I like that every year at the start of the school year I can tell my students an inspirational story about technological education. I like to see their curious eyes listening to my story.

Change story facilitated by Adela Andrei.

List all the problems identified by students:

- The project "Differences and Alternatives" is taking place in Ulmi a small school in a rural community near Targoviste the project started at the first class of Technological Education at the 5th grade.

" ... you will learn how the earth works, what are the results of damaging the environment and that is our role in preventing environmental issues. When hearing this a boy with green eyes said:

- Teacher, we see everyday around us more dust, more trash....

- We heard that plastic bags will be banned! Is this true? said Gabriel the next second

- Our streams are filled with plastic bottles and at the edge of our village there is a lot of trash brought by people. In less than a second we start hearing all students saying

- Destroying the nature we are destroying our home! We are destroying ourselves. "

Explain what problem was selected and why:

-this is how my students feel and the idea started the grow and transform in facts

Who is affected by this problem and how?

Environmental quality directly impacts students and their families lives. Helping them learn their rights as citizens giving them power to take action and feel that they matter and we can raise awareness regarding environmental issues.

List all the solutions found by students.

,, My dears, I am challenging you to imagine that you are superheroes, what would your do? How might we make a difference between what is good and what is not good for the environment and for ourselves? What can we do?

Through debates and other participatory activities such as team work we started a small project to solve some of the environmental issues.

What solution was chosen for implementation?

We decided to work with all classes in the school to implement activities.

Describe what happened:

Through careful facilitation the students decided in an democratic way to put their solutions into practice and built an action plan. We started with:

Name : Differences and alternatives

Motto: „Never doubt us because we are young. We can change the world!"

Project poster:

2. Talented hands

- one team gathered leaves, make little bouquets and decorated the school halls.

- another team planted trees in the school yard

3. Pie ahead!

Because it is pumpkin season we decided to make pie

4. Concurs

5. Returning to traditions

We learned that Mr Ion Sterie can make traditional musical instruments such as violins, mandolins and "cobze". We are very lucky because Mr. Ion is Oana's grandpa our classmate and he easily accepted to come to our school and tell his story "The hands who bring life to wood". Nobody talks, everybody listens carefully. We learned that he is self-taught and he learned to give life to wood ...cut it, glue it and put it together till it becomes a musical instrument. "It is a lot of work and requires a lot of patience, everything is done by hand no machine is uses. Lots of patience, small touches and passion"

6. Environmentally friendly housing

Students from 8th grade build some prototypes for houses which use only sustainable energy.

7. Life box

Identify essential life factors and explain their importance. With parents support the students build wood pots for flowers in which they planted herbs, flowers and vegetables. Every morning when they come to school they first water the plants and are surprised how much the flowers grew since the day before.

7. Contest FIND SOME ONE WHO...

1. Someone who loves to spend time outdoors ___________________

2. Someone who collected the trash last week_______________

3. Is responsible with recycling at home ___________

4. Never thought where the trash goes __________________

5. Has recently been in a park or outdoors _____________________

6. Has a wildlife near his/her house ______________________

7. Heard a bird singing today _________________________

8. Can name an insect that lives close to his/her house____________

9. Has seen a forest ________________________

10. Lives near water (lake, river, etc) _______________

11. Has seen animals migrating __________________________

12. Likes to fish__________________________

13. Can name a tree from his community __________

8.– COSTUME PARADE made out of recycling materials

9. – Good Habits, Bad Habits - role play

Everyone collected the trash from the school yard and recognized that many of their actions are habits. One of the habits that has a negative impact on the environment is trowing the trash. Students discussed that trowing trash is a bad habit.

They did a role play of insects in trash and suggested methods which can be adopted to change the habit of trowing trash. They had established which actions are good for the environment and how can t his actions become habits.

What are the results or impact of your project?

-This project helped the students understand humans interaction with the environment and to discover and aim to maintain environmental quality and to gain experience to take action and protect the environment. We focuses on building awareness, chaining attitudes, and taking actions. In this way we are building an entire generation of youth and adults who care about nature.

How many beneficiaries are there?

more than 100 people

What did people say about your solution? Write one or two quotes?

Parent " We are happy to see the students involved in community actions and that they learn to keep the environment clean"

Folea Mădălina, school director : " This activities are very appealing to the students to keep them motivated and increase their school performance, they have better attitudes towards environment, they have an increased self esteem through becoming responsible and feeling integrated and belonging to the community."

What were some of the challenges you faced during the project?

-Paulo Coelho said ,, When you really want something the Universe helps you achieve your dream" We can say that there was nothing that challenged us

How long did it take you to implement the project?

more then 30 days

What did you do to promote the project?

- Some of our teacher participated to Erasmus+ and our teacher promoted the project to teachers meetings and activities.

How many people learned about your project?

- 20 -50 people

How do you plan to continue with the project in the future:

- We plan to continue with this project in September when we will have fresh 5th graders happy to learn about the enviroment.

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