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Teacher-Scientist Partnerships for Global Change Education

CarboSchools is an initiative which promotes partnerships between global change scientists, secondary school teachers and their students in order to raise young people's awareness on the local and global consequences of climate change, to encourage them to discover the scientific research and to act locally to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Philippe Saugier, who works in this project, tells us more.

CarboSchools is proposed by two large European research projects on climate change, CarboEurope and CarboOcean, in which more than 100 institutes from 17 countries are working together to investigate the carbon cycle on land and ocean respectively.

What is a partnership project
Partnership projects are not simply one-way activities like a lecture, but they are a process, over several weeks or months, built on a direct relationship between scientists and teachers to enable young people to gain practical experience of research. They could feature different activities, such as real-time experiments (in lab, on field or at school), site visits, topical lectures, debates, access to research results, follow-up communication by e-mail, etc.

CarboSchools projects are coordinated by teachers. The scientist partners are usually involved in two or three activities within the whole project duration. A final output, such as an article, an exhibition, a conference, a webpage, concludes the work by sharing the findings with a wider audience (parents, friends, local community, etc.).

Support available for the project
The website Carboschools offers the following support to projects:
- methodology: a Teacher-Scientist Partnership Guide provides practical advice based on past experience in various European countries (in English )
- scientific contents: an educational booklet « What we know, what we don’t know & how we try to better understand global change » introduces research challenges, questions & methods. This publication, free of rights for any educational and non-profit use, can be used also by journalists, university students etc. (English & French available, Italian, German & Norwegian versions under development)
- a multilingual database to share resources and results with other CarboSchools participants all over Europe (eg description of experiments, publications made by students…)

CarboSchools in Europe
A number of projects are piloting this scheme in 2005-2006 in Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway and Poland; others are in preparation in Denmark, France, Ireland and the UK. CarboSchools has so far grown through:
- a 4-day launch workshop in Die (France) in March 2005;
- a “Call for CarboSchools” sent to all heads of institutes member of CarboEurope & CarboOcean in July 2005 to promote the initiative;
- a Carboschools training day in Levi (Finland) in November 2005.

Future plans include new translations of project materials and webpages, teacher workshops for regional or European cooperation, training days during projects annual meetings, launch of new regional initiatives, collaborations with other global change science education projects and submission of proposals to the EU Science and  Society and Socrates programmes.

To know more: www.carboschools.org
Philippe Saugier, saugier@netcourrier.com

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