A Sense Of Place
Classroom Workshops and Activities
Biosphere Explorers is an environmental education project set within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere which aims to educate and enthuse local children about the beautiful area that we live in, and reconnect them to nature and the environment, whilst helping them develop the tools they need to become responsible citizens in the challenging future that we all face.
This pack contains five workshops which were originally delivered by a Project Officer to Primary 5-7's, but which have been made available to all teachers in the Biosphere. It is now also online for any educator to use.
Workshop 1: An Introduction to UNESCO Biospheres
The aim of this workshop is to introducing the children to the concept of UNESCO Biospheres - why they were invented, what they are, where they are and who lives there. This introduction can help introduce the class to the concept of 'A Sense of Place'. The session deliberately starts on a very grand scale, with Earth's place in the Solar System but focuses right down to us and individual humans, in our case, lucky enough to live in/near a UNESCO Biosphere. This gives the class and opportunity to develop a sense of scale to their place in the world.
A second focus of this session is to discuss the interconnectedness of all things, how we are all connected to each other as human beings, and also to all other life on Earth. This session takes the form of a powerpoint presentation to the class, with a lot of room for discussion, plus an associated activity.
This session should take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to complete.
Workshop 2: An Introduction to the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere
The aim of this second workshop in the series is to ground children firmly within the Biosphere in which they live. We live in a unique and very special place, and this workshop aims to help children understand why that is the case. As with the first workshop, we start on a grand scale, with a discussion as to why the Earth itself is unique and special, before focussing right in on our Biosphere. The Powerpoint presentation ends with several slides on notable landmarks and people from the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, leading to an art activity where the children plan, design and create a tourist poster for the Biosphere from a brief.
The session should take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to complete.
Workshop 3: Biodiversity & the Biosphere
Workshop 3 discusses the important topic of biodiversity - the variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity is under extreme pressure due to human activities and more and more species are becoming extinct or vulnerable to extinction. Using the examples of biodiversity found in the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, this workshop introduces the concepts required to understand biodiversity, discusses why it is important and how it can be protected and conserved. The session has a powerpoint presentation, an activity on food webs and then introduces the children to Biodiversity Surveys.
The session should take 1.5 - 2 hours to complete, not including the Biodiversity Surveys, which are an outdoor activity and can take as long as you have available.
Workshop 4: Climate Change and the Biosphere
Climate change is a hot topic (pardon the pun) - and yet there is much conflicted advice and opinions surrounding this subject. In the presentation, the children will be shown some of the basic science behind climate change and then move on to actions they can take to help stop/prevent/reverse it. This subject can be emotional and overwhelming; it is easy to feel hopeless and powerless in the face of such a huge issue. Please take your time with presenting this topic and if possible allow lots of discussion.
The session should take approximately 1.5 - 2 hours, but may take longer depending on the length of discussion you have on the topic.
Workshop 5: Sustainability and the Biosphere
Sustainability is embedded in the Curriculum for Excellence at a fundamental level and is to be included in all aspects of learning and at all levels. The last workshop introduces sustainability using UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goals and discusses how our Biosphere can become more sustainable in its use of energy and resources. There are two activities in this workshop, one discussing renewable energy, and the other showing children how the little changes they make in their lives can make a big difference.
The slideshow should take 1 hour to complete, while the activities can take an hour each.