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Developing Awareness of Environmental Sustainability in Grade 6 Boys Through Project-Based Learning — Travis Flude, St. Benedict's Preparatory School, South Africa

  • Global Citizenship (2015-16)

How can participation in two urban environmental projects improve Grade 6 boys’ understanding of the impact of the loss of biodiversity in their own community and in urbanised areas?

During the third term of 2015, twenty-five 11–12-year-old boys from St Benedict’s Preparatory School participated in two main projects, which aimed to develop awareness of the need for environmental sustainability. The focus of the projects was to re-introduce owls into the community in an attempt to assist with vermin problems, and to create a vegetable garden to feed the St Benedict’s community. The boys were fully involved in these practical projects to encourage them to adopt healthier lifestyles and to be more self-sustaining, both in their individual lifestyles and in their contribution to the community. The data collected were qualitative and revealed how the boys developed an understanding of the way ecosystems are being destroyed due to urbanisation. This new understanding allowed the boys to make mature lifestyle changes to the way they interact with wildlife, and in the choices they make about personal food sources and the systems that produce them. The data collected showed how the boys collaborated, and how shared knowledge can create a new platform of awareness within the community.