ATMOSPHERIC RISK PHENOMENA: CONCEPTS, MONITORING AND IMPACT
- Romania, Bucharest
During this project students increased their level of information regarding atmospheric risk phenomenas, by participating in seminars, practical activities, and educational tours for observing, monitoring, interpreting and measuring atmospheric phenomena. By realizing their own filmed show entitled: "My Little Weather Report", students were able to show their creativity, development, and communication skills. The recipients of this education opportunities were different young people coming from different environments and schools within the National Traditional Education System but also from the Waldorf Alternative Education System.
The project aimed to involve 200 students, teachers and parents, in activities of acknowledging the natural laws governing atmospheric processes and phenomena, acquiring the criteria of classification of climates and differentiation elements both at planetary and regional or local level, the development of observation and geographical skills, by interpreting the atmospheric phenomena within workshops of applicative character as well as through individual or team observations.
The objectives of the project are: to increase the level of information among the students regarding the atmospheric risk phenomena, by participating in seminars, practical activities, educational tours for observing, monitoring, interpreting and measuring the impact of their production, on the human activity, respectively; and encouraging the students' creativity and development, and their communication skills, by realizing their own filmed show entitled: "My Little Weather Report".
ATMOSPHERIC RISK PHENOMENA: CONCEPTS, MONITORING AND IMPACT Project was provided with
know-how by the Children’s University (UniCo), after 10 years of experience with such collaborative projects. The project offered knowledge and it developed competences so that the participants can use the concepts in future observations and science communications within different other lifelong learning processes. The final products of the project (“My Little Weather Report” movies) can also be used by future generations as inspiration for the use of the new learned content or as good practice examples of scientific projects.
Inspired by the Children's University - UniCo experience since 2010, the methodology of the “ATMOSPHERIC RISK PHENOMENA” project regards the participation of secondary and high school students in educational tours in order to observe the way in which the evolution of the thermal values are estimated and predicted and the periods with the highest probability of precipitation and other atmospheric risk phenomena indicated in the local urban horizon. At the end of the project, the students were able to put into practice on their own all the knowledge regarding the atmospheric phenomena, producing by themselves a video with the title "My Little Weather Report" and presenting the good practice examples to other young people of Bucharest, members of UniCo. The methodology included: The "Atmospheric phenomena of risk: concepts" Seminar in the premises of the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Department of Meteorology and Hydrology.
Hands-on group activity: "Atmospheric phenomena of risk: observation" in the premises of the same institution and surroundings (it included a theoretical and a practical part regarding the measurements to be made with a Portable Weather Station).
Visit to the National Meteorological Administration.
Individual activity - observation, monitoring, interpretation, problematization.
Creative Workshop - presenting the "My Little Weather report” videos, made by all students, based on the observations and skills acquired within the project.
The activities carried out within the project have led to a better knowledge of meteorological phenomena which happen in Bucharest, but also at national and global level, of the causes that lead to the more frequent occurrence of these risk phenomena on the territory of Romania and to acknowledging the effects they produce. By involving the children in the measuring actions of the atmospheric air parameters, their awareness was raised regarding the problem of the quality of the breathed air and it determined their increased openness for finding solutions to reduce air pollution, with direct health and environmental benefits. The creative workshop "My Little Weather Report'' aimed to help the students to become familiar with the way of transmitting information regarding the production of an extreme event on the territory of Romania, developing skills for science communication and offering information in a non-selective, credible way and without inducing the feeling of panic in the spectators' turn.
The involvement of parents greatly contributes to the improvement of the school-parent-child relationship. The participants gained experience in the use of knowledge and skills, with a view on positive actions, which could lead, in time, to solving some of the existing environmental problems. The learning outcomes had a positive impact on the participants, enriching their knowledge, experimenting with new activities, and finding out new things about their own person.
The school became a valuable player of the local society by being integrated in the community’s strategies regarding the development of a healthy and friendly environment and by increasing the quality of the education act and the respect for the environment, but also by diversifying the ways of achieving specific competences for young people. The organizing school - Ita Wegman High School - itself is an inspiring case. Born in 2002 as an experimental classroom embracing the alternative Waldorf Pedagogical Methods, it is now an independent, public theoretical bilingual high school with 13 educational levels, having an original philosophy focused on the real values of life. In this kind of an open environment and after a long term partnership with the Children’s University UniCo (since 2011), the current project emerged naturally in the context of risk atmospheric phenomena with global and local occurrence affecting our society at local, national but also at international level.
On the one hand, the didactical concept is built upon the didactical concept of the Waldorf Pedagogy (based on an integrated didactical approach of the human being - body, mind and soul).
On another hand, the modern means and methods of research in the field of meteorology, focused on the training of competences using a student-centered approach.
During the academic lectures and team workshops, the students had the opportunity to learn through direct action and experiments, while using specific data collecting means and research equipment for meteorological measurements. Children have also learned to use different methods of data processing and interpretation but also their ability of science communication was enhanced through focused scientific videos and live presentations.
The use of the scientific know-how within non-formal activities in the academic area, including also the identification of the perfect scientist for the project (with participants provided by the Children University - UniCo), involved a complex of different types of non-formal education. The recipients of such education opportunities were different young people coming from different environments and schools within the National Traditional Education System but also from the Waldorf Alternative Education System, working together and using different specific methods, from both education systems and easy to reach for all the beneficiaries, in the academic environment, while experiencing science and science communication passing on scientific knowledge, as a good practice example, to the other participants, members of the Children University - UniCo.
Experiencing scientific technical means and demonstrations with the help of material substitutes (maps, photos, etc.).
The project manager had different meetings with all partners and also with the representatives of the students in order to best shape the project for a better satisfaction of the needs of the young people with the help of the project.
The young helped each other in solving different tasks as they had different ages and different skills, being encouraged to pass on the information within their working groups, but also to other young people, as part of the dissemination process.
Participants aged between 10 and 16 years old were part of the project and the seminars, but also they have actively participated at workshops divided and valued within groups of 4 or 5 individuals, including young people with special educational requirements, different social backgrounds or belonging to different ethnic groups.
The participation in this project contributed to raising children's awareness on the issue of climate change, while forming them a necessary conduct for their further development as well as acknowledging the atmospheric risk phenomena with global and local production, and including observation of atmospheric characteristics and peculiarities in Bucharest as complementary assessments of the theoretical competences developed within the formal contexts of schools.
Experiencing the academical environment of The National Meteorological Administration - ANM, the National Center for Meteorological Forecasting and the Bucharest-Baneasa Meteorological Station, The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, within the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography aimed also to empower and inspire children to be the future experts or researchers in this field of interest for them.
The implementation team is formed of a project coordinator and other 6 local coordinators (1 for each partner school) responsible for the development of the project.
All activities were assessed during the project, and feedback was provided by the young people who got very much involved in the evaluation process.
The final scientific products - the 40 CDs with the video shows called “My Little Weather Report” - offer a general overview of the scientific competences, as well as of the science communication skills, achieved by the young people.
Within the project, for each type of activity, the evaluation was performed using specific tools: observation, to evaluate the teamwork competencies and the social conduct; attendance lists; photos taken during the workshops and the practical activities; testimonials from the students, the parents, and the participating teachers. The beneficiaries were actively involved in evaluating the provided services by completing satisfaction questionnaires, and, at the end of the activities, some of the children stated:
“It was a wonderful project and very well organized.”
“I really liked this project because we had fun learning.”
“I really enjoyed the activity, and I loved it.”
“Thank you for teaching us everything.”
“Continue the activities as they are very beautiful.”
“I am glad that I participated in all the project activities.”
“I am glad that I participated because I learned a lot, and I managed to meet other children with the same interest as I have.”
“I would like to be part of such projects again, very soon!”
The project had a very detailed plan of the activities within the project referring to the competences to be developed by the students, its objectives, deliverables and sustainability.
In order to effectively inform the students about the atmospheric phenomena and the types of clouds that generate them, the students consulted some scientific publications such as: "Meteorology and climate - let's understand everything at a glance!" and “Natural Disasters. Volcanic eruptions, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis”.
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The schools involved in the project are located in different areas of Bucharest (and in different social backgrounds) and they come from two different educational systems: the Waldorf Alternative Education System and the National Traditional Education System.
Ethical aspects regarding the children’s rights and children’s security ware considered as well as all activities ware in accordance with academic ethics.
The activities were generated within a complex of different geographic disciplines, information technology and communication competences being also developed.
The research methods proposed to the young people encouraged the use of knowledge and skills developed from different disciplines such as geography, chemistry, physics and biology.
The young people were split into teams (four of five children in a team) according to their age, but not their school of origin. There was a very well-planned schedule for all workshops, so all the kids could benefit from the professor’s attention and involvement. The final presentation - the show “My Little Weather Report” - was also filmed and edited by the young people, within teams, inside the schools, using the geographical map of Romania on which the students placed the weather symbols specific to the observed atmospheric risk phenomena which were produced during the studied period. The films were burned on a CD also as a team activity and as final activity product.
The conditions that lead to the occurrence of aggravating risk atmospheric phenomena are due to the irresponsible use of fossil fuels with the emission of gases which irremediably lead to global warming. Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is a very large and populated city which requires increased responsibility from each citizen in order to maintain a clean, unpolluted environment, and to be able to better enjoy the living conditions that nature has to offer.
The participation within the project contributed to raising families and children's awareness on the issue of climate change in the context of a crowded European metropolis as Bucharest, while forming a necessary conduct for their further educational development.
The Project Manager, as well as the local coordinators (one in each partner school), partners, young people and parents’ representatives, had meetings in order to decide on the schedule, the best days and hours for the workshops.
The young people decided democratically within their teams the roles that each member should fulfill as well as the membership of the team.
From the preparation stage of the project there were coaching sessions with the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, within the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography represented by Professor Doctor Nicoleta Ionac and with Asociatia Universitatea Copiilor (Children's University) - UniCo represented by its CEO - Mrs. Laura Cristea.
The supervision was insured by the Project Manager & Teacher - Mrs Lacramioara Stoica and by the Principal of the Liceul Teoretic Bilingv „Ita Wegman” - “Ita Wegman” Theoretical Bilingual High School - Mrs. Manuela Wyneken.
The project implementation was also supervised by the Municipality of Bucharest through The Center for Educational and Sports Projects - PROEDUS.
The use of new scientific and laboratory equipment. The production of a video.
The students used the information technology to complete the project activities.
There was a great and close collaboration between all project partners. All partners agreed to do their best for the young people's experience and for the project outcomes. During the final meeting within the project (the closure ceremony), representatives from all partners were present and everybody suggested that the project should be implemented on a regular basis.
The National Meteorological Administration (ANM) was involved in organizing working visits at the headquarters of the National Center for Meteorological Forecasting and the Bucharest-Baneasa Meteorological Station.
Asociația Universitatea Copiilor - UniCo (Children University Association) - was involved in the dissemination process of the project among its students and its partners, as well as providing know-how regarding the organization process and the partners to be involved.
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, within the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, hosted the seminar: "Atmospheric phenomena of risk - concepts” held by Professor Doctor Nicoleta Ionac.
The Municipality of Bucharest, through its Center for Educational and Sports Projects – PROEDUS funded the project, after a careful selection of various proposals.