CarboSchools+ - European network of regional projects for school partnerships on climate change research
CarboSchools links researchers from leading carbon science laboratories in Europe with secondary schools, inviting students to conduct experiments on the impact of greenhouse gases and to learn about climate research and the reduction of emissions.
Scientists and teachers co-operate over several months to give young people practical experience of research through authentic investigations and interactions with real scientists. Pupils also have the opportunity to inform the wider community about climate change by producing a final output of articles, exhibitions, conferences, etc.
Since January 2008, nine research institutes in seven countries have been exploring how they can best motivate and support such partnerships at the regional level across a wide variety of contexts, topics and age-groups. European co-operation makes it possible to compare results, learn from one another and develop replicable good practice.
In support to partnerships, CarboSchools identifies, develops and tests appropriate materials (descriptions of experiments, activities, project ideas, etc.), both at the local and European level, and gives access to them through the project's website. Pupils gain European experience by conducting comparative measurements through a common “school CO2-web” tool. An in-depth study of impacts on attitudes, beliefs and skills allows a better understanding of how knowledge and perception of science and global change are evolving, in part as a consequence of these projects.
Started in 2004 by CarboEurope and CARBOOCEAN *, the two major research projects on the carbon cycle, CarboSchools+ is funded until 2010 by the Science in Society programme of the European Commission with a target of ca. 100 schools directly involved. Furthermore, in 2008-2011, EPOCA, an EU research project on ocean acidification, is also joining forces with CarboSchools.
Country: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom
Coordinator: MPI-BGC, Jena, Germany www.bgc-jena.mpg.de/carboschools
- TSN, Norwich, UK
- RuG, Groningen, NL
- IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany
- LSCE-IPSL, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
- UiB-BCCR, Bergen, Norway
- INRA EPHYSE/EPOC, Bordeaux, France
- CNR-IBIMET, Firenze, Italy
- PCB-LRC, Barcelona, Spain
Target groups: education authorities, parents, primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, vocational school students
Topic: Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Earth science, Ecology, Energy, Environmental sciences, Forestry science, Maths, Meteorology, Oceanography, Physics, Education
Start year: 2008
End year: 2010
Contact person: Philippe Saugier, philippe (at) carboschools.org
CarboSchools is not a research project but a science education project. However, there is a research component focused on measuring the attitude changes of participating students. For that purpose, three instruments are developed:
- Self-evaluation tools (SET) to evaluate CarboSchools projects, implemented either by regional coordinators or by teachers. SET is a short questionnaire for students to collect information on students’ perception of the projects, how they perceive science and school science, and whether their opinions and career plans have been affected by CarboSchools projects. Students’ answers are correlated with their characteristics, such as sex, school level, grades for science subjects etc. SET is available in Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Norwegian.
- Attitude questionnaires to measure students' attitude changes towards science, school science and climate change. The attitude instrument is administered twice to selected groups as pre-test and post-test.
- Interviews with participating pupils and teachers.
The results are published in the Deliverable 4.3 "Report about students' images and attitudes and how the school projects affect these" (coming soon).
CarboSchools produces two kinds of teaching materials:
1) A series of brochures for teachers and anyone interested in climate change research:
"What we know, what we don't know and how we try to better understand global change"
Introduction to research questions, challenges and methods for CarboSchools projects (available in Dutch, English, French, German & Norwegian).
"What we have learned, what we still don't know and what we must do to combat climate change"
Five years of European carbon research: findings from science, challenges for humanity, testimonies from schools (available in English, French and Italian).
"How to integrate hands-on global change science education in secondary education"
Collecting the best materials produced throughout the years of CarboSchools activities in schools across Europe, this third booklet offers concrete ideas and advice to make science learning more engaging, challenging and attractive, and to encourage pupils to experience their global impact on the Earth system and how they can help restore the balance.
2) An online library of resources: "Resources for teachers and people involved in climate change projects at school"
The online library provides descriptions of experiments and project activities, divided into three parts:
- Activities (Indoor hands-on / Outdoor hands-on / Using scientific data)
- Other resources (Scientific reports, Links, tools and videos)
- CarboSchools brochures (mentioned above)