By Michael Wall
Lockdown, furlough and working from home were full of challenges for ALIenergy’s Education Officers, but after the long-awaited end of remote learning for pupils, we finally had the opportunity to get back to the process of ‘normal’ learning with S1 pupils in the our project area.
In autumn 2021, with invaluable support from staff at Campbeltown Grammar, Lochgilphead Joint Campus and Tarbert Academy,we were once again safely back in schools delivering our specially designed ‘Climate Quest’ workshops, raising awareness of STEM learning and climate change.
The sessions were designed around content to maximise the tie-in with other curriculum links at S1 global warming, and focused on the vital role STEM has in tackling problems associated with it. A real plus was that we were able to time the delivery of the workshops to coincide with the run-up to COP26 which was due to start in Glasgow a few weeks later. This meant we could capitalise on how much of the news agenda was focusing on Scotland and ongoing efforts here to support meaningful climate-related change.
The workshops strengthened pupils’ understanding of both the causes and effects of climate change, as well as how human activity relates to this, Importantly though they also highlighted the part STEM-related roles and industries can (and do) play in addressing these issues. Despite all having to be masked up, the workshops were full of interactive fun for pupils and gave lots of time for discussion and follow-up work around a specially created workbook we had produced.
There was even a STEM-themed version of a popular tower building game, giving small groups the chance to engage with different interactive challenges, while also trying to avoid the collapse of their towers. This was STEM in action in more ways than one!
Overall, the series of face-to-face workshops gave the 140+ pupils they reached the chance to explore local and global challenges at the centre of the COP26 agenda and reflect on potential future pathways open to them in STEM to help meet the challenges ahead. ALIenergy is already building on this work with two more targeted activities linked to the workbooks used with the schools we visited. With the continued support of the project funders at SPR ALIenergy are developing the project further, widening it in new ways, many of which have sprung from these evolving times since the start of the pandemic.
ALIenergy’s Education and Skills Development Programme is funded by ScottishPower Renewables’ Beinn an Tuirc 2 Windfarm Community Benefit Fund