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Climate Crisis Primary Paula Owens



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For GA SCSIG event on 14th September 2021

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Climate Crisis Primary Paula Owens

  1. 1. Empowering Children in Times of Climate Crisis: From curiosity to action with primary geography. Dr Paula Owens
  2. 2. Empowering Children and Teachers Empowerment = authority or power given to someone to do something. Empowerment is about attitudes and values, knowledge, critical thinking and agency. Paula Owens 2021 2 As teachers we may need to follow a set curriculum but we can populate it with precise content of our choosing and teach it according to the context and needs of our pupils.’ Owens, Witt and Willy (2021) p.5 ‘..pessimism turned to hope when witnesses felt they had the power to act.’ (Alexander 2010, p.189)
  3. 3. Functional Core knowledge: facts, vocabulary, typologies, Empathic knowledge Own and others’ meaning- making, values Critical Thinking Decision-making and agency Cultural Critical After Stables, A (1998) Paula Owens 2021 3 Critical Environmental Literacy
  4. 4. Language Matters! • Climate Change • Climate Crisis • Climate Emergency • Global Warming • Global Heating • Global Cooling • Carbon • Mitigation • Adaptation • Sustainable Paula Owens 2021 4 Crisis - a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger - a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point. - a time when a difficult or important decision must be made From the Greek word meaning to distinguish, choose, decide' Glossary sr15_glossary.pdf ( Key Terms You Need to Know to Understand Climate Change | Climate Reality ( Global warming should be called global heating, says key scientist | Climate crisis | The Guardian Global Warming vs. Climate Change | Resources – Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet ( What is climate change? - Met Office
  5. 5. Paula Owens 2021 5 How do we talk about nature? Biodiversity is the diversity of life. … we are embedded in Nature. Dasgupta (2021) p4 … affection can flourish only if we each develop an appreciation of Nature’s workings Dasgupta (2021) p.5 A 2017 Wildlife Trusts survey found a third of adults unable to identify a barn owl, three-quarters unable to identify an ash tree – and two-thirds feeling that they had ‘lost touch with nature’. The hunger is there, but the knowledge is not. . Macfarlane (2018) A single oak leaf Fallen from Autumn glory Glows beneath the tree
  6. 6. What do we mean by Sustainability? A way of living that ensures people live within planetary limits, thereby conserving the environment for future generations. (Scoffham and Owens, 2017 p.258) Paula Owens 2021 6 Sustainability is often thought of as a long-term goal (i.e. a more sustainable world), while sustainable development refers to the many processes and pathways to achieve it Sustainable Development ( The concept of sustainable development was described as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Bruntland Commission Report (1987) society, environment, economy (and culture) (Language? People, places and jobs?) ALL ABOUT FUTURES
  7. 7. From Hicks (2014) Probable, possible and preferred futures Paula Owens 2021 7 What do we think will happen? What do we want to happen? What can we do to make a difference?
  8. 8. Paula Owens 2021 8 Thanks to Years 5 & 6 @AllSaintsCIW All saints Primary School Gresford Considering other points of view Building Supplier Headteacher Café Owner Local Child Home owner dog walker
  9. 9. Critical Thinking in the curriculum
  10. 10. Geography NC: use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment. Practical problem solving Where shall we put the bin? Place: the playground where we play and eat our fruit. A shady place where the heat won’t make it smell much in summer Not near the bench where we sit in case wasps come. Not too far away in case people are too lazy to go there. We can use a map and mark in good and bad places. We can vote. We can check if the idea is a good one. Paula Owens 2021 10 Developing Agency
  11. 11. Paula Owens 2021 11 Enquire, empower, enact Why are their habitats being destroyed? How can we design and build an owl box? Where shall we site it? Where do Little Owls/ Tawny Owls /Barn Owls live? What do they eat? How does weather and climate affect Owls and other animals?
  12. 12. Paula Owens 2021 12 Geography in a coherent curriculum Weather, Rainfall Temperature Barometer Energy Distribution and processes Human activity, climate change, deforestation .. Solar energy and how affected by daily weather. Agency: reducing energy use Where is it windiest and why?
  13. 13. • Where does the food in our lunchbox come from? • How often should we eat meat? If at all? • What is fair trade and is it really fair? • How important are food miles? Air 0.16% Rail 9.90% Road 30.97% Water 58.97% Very little of global food is transported by air; this greatly reduces the climate benefits of eating local - Our World in Data Paula Owens 2021 13 Challenge Misconceptions
  14. 14. Owens, Rawlinson, Willy & Witt (2020) © WildThink Primary Geography Naturally Curious Spatially Aware Globally Connected Deeply Concerned Critically Engaged Geography is part of a basic toolkit that young people need at their disposal if they are to play their part in the world. Scoffham (2019) What can primary geography do? … a lifelong curiosity and fascination about the world and its people (DfE 2013)
  15. 15. Paula Owens 2021 15 KS1 Opportunities in Geography What does the NC say? By end of Year 2 Locational Knowledge North and South Poles, Equator, 4 Compass points N, S, E, W Locational language, name & locate: 7 continents & 5 oceans. Name, locate, identify: 4 countries and capitals of UK & surrounding seas. Place and scale Local scale study UK and non-European country Human and Physical processes Identify seasonal & daily weather patterns (UK & local scales). Identify hot & cold areas of the world in relation to Equator & North & South Poles Skills Begin to ask questions. Identify places using maps, atlases, globes, aerial images & plan perspectives, make maps, devise basic symbols, fieldwork, geographical vocabulary. Essential vocabulary about the weather. Connecting human & physical. Spatial framework to relate to. Get to know & value where you live. Notice and discuss unusual weather. Map seasonal change Think like a geographer Critical thinking to separate facts & opinion
  16. 16. Why is energy more focused at the Equator? Why is the Arctic so sensitive to global heating? How are people coping with change? What’s it got to do with me? What is the weather like? How does it affect our everyday lives? What are the seasons? Why do we have them? What animals live in the Arctic? What is it like? How is it changing? End of Y2 End of Y4 End of Y6 End of Y9 Geography Science What mitigation strategies are there for us? #CurriculumMaking Where are these places? What are they like? Why and how are they changing? What happens when an environment changes faster than an animal can adapt?
  17. 17. Envisioning a Coherent Curriculum Curriculum Making IMPACT IMPLEMENTATION INTENT Is there a vision for sustainability and how does it reflect and support the whole school context? How has curriculum content been selected and sequenced, and how does this reflect the vision? How does the curriculum develop knowledge, skills and values in, for and through sustainability? What curriculum content is selected and why? How good is teachers’ subject and pedagogical knowledge? How well does teaching embed secure understanding and how do you know? How are high-quality resources used to support learning? How do children learn to separate fact from fiction and take other views into account (critical thinking)? How well does teaching provide opportunities for participative decision-making and action? What do pupil outcomes tell us about the appropriateness of the curriculum intent?? How well can pupils make evidence-informed choices and explain actions and ideas? How well does the curriculum link to and support actions and decision-making on campus? Adapted from Kinder and Owens (2019) Primary Geography Autumn 2019 Paula Owens 2021 17
  18. 18. Our 5 R’s Reduce Reuse Repair Recycle Respect What is the vision that drives your curriculum? Paula Owens 2021 18
  19. 19. Useful resources Paula Owens 2021 19
  20. 20. Paula Owens 2021 20 What do you know about changing lives? What do you know about Cookstoves? In Haiti? In DRC? What do you know about micro – hydro? In Peru? About cooler cities in Colombia? Five short films showing different technologies in action. See the School Films too. Stories of hope to investigate with atlases and question grids. Or solar pumps in Kenya?
  21. 21. Thinking Local to Global LOCAL (in the Global) GLOBAL (in the Local) Choosing an Energy Monitor Investigating school water use, food sourcing Patterns of energy consumption Sustainable energy stories from around the world Investigating where food comes from. Home and school energy surveys Investigating Peak Oil Learning about different energy technologies Improving biodiversity in the school grounds cities and their energy use Energy saving games Eco-action games Calculating Carbon footprint Investigating development Learning about weather and climate And see Eco-schools Curriculum Links Resources Global Learning England Young Geographers Go Green Video of Earth’s Light at Night Climate Change cartoons Sea level rise Cartoon climate change timeline Zero Carbon Britain: Making It Happen Teaching For A Better World Gapminder UK Climate Change • Let's Go Zero (
  22. 22. Short videos for use in class (all less than 5 mins) - Climate Change in the Arctic BBC iPlayer - Go Jetters - Series 3: 27. Climate Change, The Arctic Ocean (suggest for activity start at 1:49 – 5:26) (EYFS – KS1) - Energy saving in a primary school Marton Primary School - Ashden (KS1) - Seed gathering in the Amazon Rede de Sementes do Xingu - Ashden (KS2) - Sustainable cities and cooling actions Alcaldía de Medellín - Ashden (KS2) Paula Owens 2021 22
  23. 23. Where despite disparities We all care to protect this world, This riddled blue marble, this little true marvel To muster the verve and the nerve To see how we can serve Our planet. You don’t need to be a politician To make it your mission to conserve, to protect, To preserve that one and only home That is ours, To use your unique power To give next generations the planet they deserve. ….. So, earth, pale blue dot We will fail you not. From Earthrise Amanda Gorman 24 Hours of Reality: "Earthrise" by Amanda Gorman - YouTube 23 Paula Owens 2021
  24. 24. IPPC Report 2021:useful links • Interactive atlas IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas • Technical summary IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf • Glossary sr15_glossary.pdf (
  25. 25. Sources and Reading Paula Owens 2021 25 Alexander, R. (2010) Children, Their World, Their Education. Abingdon: Routledge Allen, M.R., O.P. Dube, W. Solecki, F. Aragón-Durand, W. Cramer, S. Humphreys, M. Kainuma, J. Kala, N. Mahowald, Y. Mulugetta, R. Perez, M. Wairiu, and K. Zickfeld, 2018: Framing and Context. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson- Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Catling, S. (2019) Key Concepts in Willy, T. (2019) Leading Primary Geography Sheffield: Geographical Association DfE (2013) National curriculum in England: geography programmes of study -curriculum-in- england-geography-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-geography-programmes-of-study accessed January 2020 Dolan, D. & Usher, J. Where in the world is Covid 19? Primary Geography Spring 2021 Chorekdijan, L. (2017) ‘Critical thinking to promote sustainability’ Primary Geography, 93, pp. 24-25 Hopkin, J. and Owens, P. (2016) ‘Critical thinking in geography’ Primary Geography, 91, 3 p. 23 9a5ded38a2ac Hicks, D. (2006) Lessons for the Future: The Missing Dimension in Education Hicks, D. (2014) ‘A geography of hope?’, Geography, 99, 1, pp. 5–12. Hicks, D. 2014. Educating for Hope in Troubled Times: Climate Change and the Transition to a Post-Carbon Future. London: Institute of Education Press. Hicks, D. (2019) Climate Change: bringing the pieces together Teaching Geography (1) 20-23 Hicks, D. (2018) ‘Why we still need a geography of hope’, Geography, 103, 2, pp. 78–85. McCarthy, M. (2017) ‘Challenging geography through silent debate’, Primary Geography, 94, 2, pp.7-9 Macfarlane, R. (2018) The Primary Geography Interview Primary Geography Summer 2018 Owens, P. Willy, T. Witt, S. (2021) Editorial Primary Geography, Focus on Empowering Geography, Spring 2021, pp.4-5 Smart Energy GB (2019) Survey reveals children's climate change concerns 5th June 2019 folder/world-environment-day Stables, A. (1998) The Case of the SCAA Guidelines and Environmental Literacy Environment Education Research UNEP (2019) POST-2020 GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK: DISCUSSION PAPER en.pdf Scoffham, S. (2019) Foreword in Willy, T. (2019) Leading Primary Geography Sheffield: Geographical Association Scoffham, S. (2021) Finding Hope at a time of Crisis. Primary Geography Spring 2021, pp.8-9 Trott, C.D. (2019) Children’s constructive climate change engagement: Empowering awareness, agency, and action, Environmental Education Research.