LEADER Catalysing Biodiversity
Catalysing Biodiversity is part of our ongoing Seeding Sustainability programme at Coláiste na Sceilge, with Mr. Francis Courtney to create a 1KM Health and Well-being trail on the school grounds. The Catalysing Biodiversity programme was further supported by additional funding from our SFI-funded Muinín Catalyst Sustainable STEAM programme and our Clár Innovation programme and the Irish Research Council, enabling the learners to work with our colleagues from UCD and the Environmental Planning and policy department, School of Architecture and Engineering.
Seeding Sustainability is a project-based learning module that uses the local place to enable learners to gain knowledge and skills around local ecology, environmental factors and issues, and project management and execution. The overarching project includes lessons plans, related modules support, and encourages linked-learning. A forward planning guide enables teachers across subject areas to collaborate and plan in order to develop learners’ understanding and skills to complete the module.
The Catalysing Biodiversity project worked with Transition year students from Jan 2022, using our project-based learning thematic and place-based STEAM pedagogical approaches and resources. Integrating local place enables learners to gain knowledge and skills around contemporary global issues through local engagement and 21st Century Skills. The 1KM Health and Well-being trail used the Seeding Sustainability module themes, which are broken down into micro-modules and lesson plans work toward the completed project. This year, 93 students completed the design programme, related modules and a 3 and 5-day design sprint, Climate Change Engage that included developing an awareness of Climate adaptation and game design skills to raise awareness with 15 - 17 year olds. The programme sought to:
Address a gap in knowledge around eco-anxiety and environmental issues through positive action
Raise awareness of the issues around biodiversity
Develop students’ skills and competencies in the areas of place-based STEAM, biodiversity and environmental action, as well as sustainable development / tourism.
The training programme uses a Catalyst Approach and includes the following;
Full Design-Thinking training - research and design-specific to the location and the aims of the project
Project Management skills including planning and delivery
Pitch / presentation skills
Construction and Landscape design
The project used a selection from the following learning resources to deliver 145 hrs of focused content / over 16 weeks to two classes and a self-selecting cohort with some adhoc classes in addition (total 93 students) as follows:
Climate Change Engage - 5-day design Sprint
Problem to Pitch is an 12-week (12 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) Design Thinking module
Examining Edible Medicinal Plants is an 8-week (8 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) local foraging module
Food Sovereignty and Growing and Foraging combines 23-weeks (23 hrs of lesson plans and worksheets) food sustainability module
Climate Change Engage is 5-day design sprint that can be also delivered over 12 weeks / 36 hrs lesson plans and worksheets
Ready Steady Build is a 3 day Design Sprint - from design, prototyping to building.
Media Communication is a supporting micro-module that covers Moving Image, Graphic Communication, Presentation and Podcasting
Over 5 days students were taken through the Design Thinking process through practical activities focused on a real world problem in this instance. Problem to Pitch has been structured to lead students through the process of identifying the problem, working through the problem and developing ideas presented in a Dragon’s Den Style pitch. This introduces students to state-of-the-art skills that are increasingly necessary for the 21st Century whether in education, training or employment.
The P2P design sprint was adapted to create a 5-day design sprint (36hrs of learning by doing) using game design to raise awareness of Climate Change and adaptation in 15 - 17 year olds. Working with colleagues from UCD's Environmental Planning and Policy department, School of Architecture and Engineering, students learnt about CLimate change, the built environment, nature-based solutions and integrated their knowledge into their game design. On the final day, students pitched their prototypes.