Thursday, 30 May 2019

Taking Climate Change and Internet of Things into the National Curriculum

Members of SELA Cohort 2017 have created and delivered a programme of lessons for school students, exploring the Internet of Things, linked to current affairs in climate change.

The programme of work was designed to be part of a wider scheme of work being taught on the David and Jane Richard’s Family Foundation’s Big Data course. It draws on a project SELA members have been undertaking with Urban Flows Observatory, a research centre at the University of Sheffield.

Rolling out the programme at Tapton School, SELA students introduced young people to local environmental monitoring, linking aspects of engineering, biology, geography, and international activism surrounding climate change. The children also created their own air quality projects, using sensors provided by Urban Flows Observatory.

Megan Naylor, SELA student and the project leader, said: ‘Creating the lesson material has given us the opportunity to apply the creativity and problem solving skills that we have learnt through SELA to frame the climate change discussion in a new way.

‘Through approaching the topic from an engineering perspective we were able to introduce the students to lots of new and exciting examples of how technology can be used to monitor, assess and ultimately tackle climate change, using Urban Flows as a case study.

Through the National Curriculum-linked lessons, children met Steve Jubb, Chief Technical Officer for the Urban Flows Observatory, and saw its electric van Mobius – a mobile urban data collection platform – to understand how their local environment is monitored using real-time data.

Steve, who has also mentored the SELA students, commented: ‘We enjoyed working with the foundation’s students who showed a real hunger for knowledge and understanding.

‘The future of our environment will rest in their hands and we were very happy to show them how to measure the impact of city life on the world around us.’

As part of the wider Big Data course, David and Jane Richard’s Family Foundation have installed a new network at Tapton School, to introduce young people to the potential of connected devices, and their application to reduce pollution and improve quality of life in Sheffield.

David Richards said: ‘We want to encourage students to use their imagination and creativity to apply what they discover for the benefit of the world around us.’

The curriculum that SELA developed, and the wider Big Data course, will be rolled out to other schools in the future.

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