Early-age non-formal education for climate conscious behaviour

Pioneers into Practice programme 2013 – group assignment project
Involved pioneers: Ágnes Portik, Dávid Kozma, Edina Kump, Eszter Dalos, Gyula Tóth, Kristóf Simonyi, Mónika Takács, Zalán Weisz
Project host: Mindspace Nonprofit Ltd, Hungary

Our pioneers’ summer assignment was to develop on concepts of climate-innovation. Our group formed around the idea of designing simple games for climate-change related education of children - and thus extend the already existing Get Inspired by the Elements toolkit of Mindspace. After a few initial meetings to clarify goals and design directions, we settled on making a video survey and building two simple game ideas. Our major difficulty was the group being scattered during summertime, but we managed to distribute tasks and chose a day to gather and build the games. Project results were presented twice on events of the pioneers program, and was described on a poster during Climate KIC’s Innovation Festival 2013 in Wroclaw.

Project summary:

Founding assumptions:

1. Tackling the climate change challenge is not purely a question of technological innovation.

Changes in life -style and consumer habits have tremendous effect on the emission of greenhouse gases – especially taking into account the number of people involved in the changes. Adopters of climate friendly life-styles decide for change as a result of awareness and education. Mindspace is focusing on introductory environmental education of the public.

2. Children growing up today in our societies adopt climate change fostering life-styles as default. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is a problem at all. Our success is when the children ask questions.

3. Micro-Survey: we asked random people in the streets of Budapest to answer two questions:
- What is climate?
- What is CO2?

Our non-representative survey indicates that general awareness about climate issues are unsatisfactory. Watch our 4 min video about the survey:

Design principles:
- Experimental education: the children engage all their senses and have a personal experience that we reflect on afterwards.
- Focused theme: deep understanding of a few fundamental concepts – thus pave ground for more complex ideas
- Gamification: use of game thinking and game mechanics for learning to engage children and parents
- Learning in informal settings: the games can be used within minutes and in any setting – from kindergarten to public city events and street actions
- Involving parents through children: our games will attract children’s attention. While the children play, parents are available for conversation.
- Easy and fun to build

Results:

THE CLIMATE GAME

Game rules: use weather signs and place them on the year-chart

Recommended questions:
- What is the typical weather in a given season?
- What was the weather like this year?
- What was the weather like when your parents were children?
- How does your ideal yearly weather look like?

Educational purpose: introduce climate change talk from the change of weather patterns.

THE CO2 GAME

Game rules: 2 or 4 children hold the strings attached to the corners of the game board. Direct the black CO2 ball into the holes of plants and oceans, avoid clouds. Can be played in cooperative and competitive version, and with multiple balls.

Recommended questions:
- Where is the CO2 ball coming from?
- Why avoid clouds?
- Why prefer plants and oceans?

Educational purpose: introduce CO2 emission and carbon cycle.