How did they carry out the best practice?

Radviliškis Gražina Basic school has been organizing ecological education for almost 15 years. The 30th of January was a special day for the school because of the practical workshop ”ECO-FRIENDLY HOUSE”.
Three frequently collaborating teachers decided to organize activities that fit the StarT project’s ideology and requirements.
Lithuania has declared 2020 as the Year of School Communities, so the event organizers invited various communities (outside the school) to join their practical workshops „ECO-FRIENDLY HOUSE“.
Six teams agreed to attend the event: Radviliškis Kindergarten ”The Star” team, Radviliškis Vaižgantas progymnasium team, Radviliškis Gražina Basic School team, Radviliškis District Daugėlaičiai and Miežaičiai Rural Communities team, Radviliškis Public Library team and Radviliškis District Municipal Administration team.
One month before the workshop, the communities received an invitation describing the terms and conditions of the forthcoming event. The workshop conditions were simple enough to fulfill:

• To make a team of 5-6 members;
• The team could prepare the frame of an eco-friendly house in advance as they will have an hour to complete it during the workshop;
• To build an eco-friendly house model using environmentally-friendly materials in an hour during the workshop.
The event organizers supplied only small tools like hot glue guns, hot melt adhesives, nails, et cetera.

The start of an event

Laisvūnas Vaičiūnas, the headmaster of the school, welcoming the participants of the event, was glad that today ecology penetrates into various spheres of life.
The choir of primary students put everyone in a good mood, and invited huge applause from the participants .
After the introductory words and greetings, the teams started working. Real construction has begun! The houses looked unlike each other; they were constructed using natural materials (a tree bark, clay, stone, etc.) and various technologies. Within an hour each team was able to create real masterpieces: a model of community village, a cosy wooden hut, a clay house, a shelter in a forest, Santa‘s eco house and a perfect model of a sustainable farmhouse.
This creative workshop set off one more important thing: the older passed on their experience and wisdom to the younger; they managed to build their environmentally friendly homes. Whether it was a model community village or a hut, children could learn in innovative ways.

An hour later the members from each team were interviewed by the event leaders. Participants were asked to answer three questions:

  1. Why did they decide to attend this event?
  2. What materials did they use?
  3. What new things did they discover today?
    Members from Radviliškis Municipality thought that a workshop provides a way to create an intensive educational experience in a short amount of time. The most important thing was mentioned by the town vice-mayor Mindaugas Pauliukas. He revealed the idea of building a real eco-house near our school and there educational activities could be organized for all the students of Radviliškis district.
    Orginizers of the workshop, were delighted with the event and reminded everyone that this event is a great example of community collaboration.
    What was next?

After the workshop eco-houses were exhibited in the school lobby.
Primary teachers prepared an evaluative type activities. First of all, students learnt that physical properties of houses can affect how good they are for the environment. After this, the students were asked to explore the houses and discuss:

  1. What are the walls made from?
  2. What are the windows made from?
  3. What is the roof made from?
  4. Which house model looks the “greenest“?

4th and 5th grade students had to indicate the characteristics of an eco-friendly house on the task sheets. They also had to creat a bookmark „Eco House“ in an ecology lesson.

For first year students their teacher suggested to play a fun drawing game for revising an eco-house parts. Students were divided into 4 teams of four students (each team had a dice). Also, each student had to have a piece of paper and a pencil.
The teacher wrote on the whiteboard:
• 1- WALLS
• 2- DOOR
• 4-ROOF
The students were told that they are going each to draw a picture of a Eco House by rolling a dice and then drawing the part of the house related to the number rolled.
The goal of the game is to be the first team to complete a drawing of a house. The point is that the walls must be drawn first, so students can‘t start drawing until they roll a one. Students must also draw the door and windows before they can roof, solar panels and wind turbines. The first team completes the drawing-wins!

Another fun game “WORD RACE” was offered to 5th grade students. The students were divided into two teams. The student from each team had to run and write down one word or phrase related to the eco-house theme on the board, then run back to their team and pass the marker to the second student. The team continues until one team runs out of words. This game can help revise the vocabulary and engage students in the classroom. If the word is not related to ecology, the team loses a point.
A history teacher gave a statement „ECO-HOUSING IS NOT A EW CONCEPT“ and they had to choose whether to agree or not. The students had to prove their choice by indicating sources they used (Appendix 3).

An ecology teacher, collaborating with an English teacher, created a domino game to revise collocations related to the eco-house. Students had to combine words that usually go together. They also played a standard version of the domino game.