Dumbarton pupils braced for two weeks of climate lessons to coincide with COP26

Pupils at a Dumbarton secondary school are embracing climate change issues as they embark on a special series of learning to coincide with COP26.

Drawing up sustainable business plans for local firms, studying their own journeys to school and the impact on their carbon footprint as well as considering “meat free” recipes in home economics will all form part of the OLSP COP26 fortnight.

The global summit being hosted in Glasgow kicks off later this week with world leaders descending on Scotland to come together and discuss the climate emergency.

And the important topic is being embraced fully by S1 pupils at Our Lady and St Patrick’s.

Principal teacher Jennifer Sharkey told us: “In school we always speak about sustainability and the environment but we have never really homed in on it.

“COP26 has been in the news for the last year. It gives us quite a good avenue to explore all of those things.”

Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School

The interdisciplinary learning project will see the topic incorporated into all classes being taken by S1 pupils.

Jennifer explained more: “I teach business management and IT. In IT I am looking at how local businesses through different issues look at climate change and sustainability. We have managed to get a few local businesses to give us some information on how it’s going to impact them.

“The kids are going to put together a business plan on some suggestions on how they can do better and will be trying to bring it to life.

“In English they will be studying a poem all about litter pollution, looking at the environment from that point of view.

“In maths, they will be looking at their carbon footprint, measuring their journey to school and thinking about, is there a better way?

“Can they car share and that would minimise the amount of traffic on the road, could they walk or take public transport rather than having their own individual parents taking them?”

It won’t only be the school’s newest pupils who will be learning though as messages will be projected upon the screen in the centre of the school throughout the fortnight.

And the learning will hopefully be helping influence their families and the wider community.

Jennifer went on: “We want the children to go home and educate their own families.

“What is projected on the big screen will be followed up on Twitter with information for parents and families to look at.”

This will include home economics lessons which will be one of the first activities, involving creating meat free recipe ideas.

Throughout the fortnight they will also look at Greta Thunberg’s speech from COP25 in 2019 when she was just 16. She has gone on to educate others about the climate emergency and also inspire young people to make changes to their lives.

The climax of the project will be participation in “the great big lesson” on November 5 when classes across the country will be able to virtually join the conference live and question global leaders.

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