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Kids put climate change under the microscope

Wednesday, 18th November, 2020 5:46pm

Students from four Cork primary schools got to analyse their carbon footprint as part of a range of activities during Science Week.

20 schools across the country had the opportunity to learn about climate change thanks to expert volunteers from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These workshops were developed by Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI) in conjunction with the EPA and were delivered online as part of a blended learning experience.

Participating schools in Cork were Scoil Barra, Ballincollig, Cappabue National School, Gaelscoil Ui Riordáin, Ballincollig and Beaumont Boys School.

Through hands-on activities, students analysed their carbon footprint and completed an energy audit of the classroom, allowing them to evaluate the human impact of their class. The students learned that Irish people have amongst the highest greenhouse gas emissions level per person in the developed world, but we can work together to reduce our impact.

However, once they understood their impact, the students were then able to brainstorm ways in which they could collectively and individually reduce their impact on climate change.

Ellen O’Regan, teacher in Scoil Barra, said: “My students thoroughly enjoyed the EPA environmental workshop, the content showed how the students could have a positive impact on the world around them in a fun and accessible manner. The virtual format worked really well and the level of engagement with the topic and our expert volunteer from the EPA was fantastic.”

Patrick Chan, an EPA volunteer, said: “It was an incredible experience to be able to help students develop an interest and understanding of climate change and environmental issues at primary school level.

“The students I worked with in Scoil Barra really got stuck into the interactive activities. I have to say it was not only inspirational to see their level of engagement but it was great fun also. I think I may have got as much out of the experience as the students did!”

Helen Raftery, CEO of JAI, said: “The educational value of students working with role models and getting the chance to learn from them is well-established. Thanks to the EPA, 800 students had an exciting opportunity to experience environmental issues brought to life in a real and meaningful way.

“We are grateful to both our partner schools and the 28 EPA volunteers that helped us to communicate these important messages to young people all over the country.”

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