[RRI Good Practice] South-East Europe (SEE) Eco STEAM Challenge

What is the good practice about?

Three science institutions from the SEE region joined forces to address climate change issues through a project engaging schools, teachers and students. In each country, four primary schools with teams of (at least) two teachers and 10 students participated in the challenge during May 2022. Each country selected and awarded the best school team, with the winners from each country presenting their respective projects at the CARNET conference in Croatia in October 2022.

Why is this initiative needed?

For the last two decades, South-East Europe (SEE) has been facing severe and challenging outcomes of the climate crisis. Whether devastating floods, extreme hot and dry periods, or winds of unprecedented strength, climate change manifests itself across the region in a clear and alarming manner.

What are the main objectives?

The objective was to motivate and engage school teachers and their students to collaborate on a goal that they find equally important, which is to tackle the effects of climate change. Thus, the teachers were provided with the 'Green Diary' – a workbook with instructions and methodology on how to correctly measure temperature and how to compare temperature levels across periods, as well as other weather conditions. Additionally, the students were tasked with a creative challenge to think of ways to make their school a greener place and to take action in making this a reality.

What are the main activities?

In each of the 12 schools, engaged teams of teachers and students (between 10 and 30 each) participated in the challenge that we developed around the school practicum “Green Diary”, where children were instructed to track the weather conditions in their schoolyards and create ideas on how they can make their school environments more pleasant for everyday activities. Students from each of the schools had the opportunity to engage in a meaningful and purposeful way in finding their own solutions to fight climate change, along with their teachers. Not only was it made possible for children to experience the research method hands-on by learning how to collect and analyse data, but their urge to act upon pressing ecological issues was also met by allowing them to create their own solutions to make their world greener. This opportunity provided the children with the creative space they sometimes lack in regular school activities and gave them a chance to learn by doing in a project-based manner.

Teachers also benefited from this project as they had the opportunity to express their creativity as well as navigate their students through this creative process. Each school provided substantial contribution to the project, so although they could not all be winners, they recognised the value of such an attempt. There are no necessary resources for this project except for a functional thermometer that can be positioned on the wall. Additionally, the resources needed will depend on the activities that the students and teachers aim to organize in their school surrounding. E.g. one school from Serbia aimed to create a 'green wall' on the outer facade of their school, so they requested financial support from the local municipality to purchase the plants.

Who is involved?

Teachers, students, their parents, as well as local municipalities engaged in a joint effort to create a greener school environment in all 12 schools. The teachers and the students were directly engaged in the creation of the project and the realisation of activities, while the students' parents and local municipalities supported their engagement.

Can this good practice be replicated?

The 'Green Diary' that has been created for the purpose of this project can be copied and freely used. The diary is in Serbian language, which is understood across most Balkan countries. The 'Green Diary' is available in PDF format upon request.

Further links:

Relevant RRI keys: Science Education Type of practice: Promotional activities/events/campaigns

Target groups: youth (children, pupils), the general public, person on the street

Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by POLICY ANSWERS Project support on January 11, 2023
Modified on January 11, 2023