Climate Explorers - pioneering project to educate children in environmental issues



Icecaps

A unique project led by Liverpool John Moores University is set to produce a lasting legacy of climate change education by creating a suite of new multi-media content for children (7-12 years), parents and educators.

Scientists from LJMU, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), the Met Office and King's College London have teamed up with Children’s Radio UK to tackle climate change issues using radio broadcasts and multimedia including animated videos for the ‘Climate Explorers’ project, funded by NERC (Natural Environment Research Council).

Over 300 children from ten primary schools across the UK will benefit from the project which will introduce them to the key facts of climate change including: natural climate variability; recent changes; what may happen in the future; and how we can try to tackle it. This will provide primary school children with scientifically rigorous knowledge about climate change which has previously been inaccessible.

Fun Kids, the only UK-wide radio station for children, will broadcast the educational shows and accompanying online videos. The use of engaging, multimedia will be freely available for repeated viewing within the classroom and at home. The series is projected to reach over 350,000 listeners during the broadcast period through ten online radio shows.

This national initiative runs as one of 18 NERC backed projects to engage the UK public with major environmental science around challenging issues. Starting in January 2017, the projects will build collaboration between researchers and public groups working together on key issues including pollution, green infrastructure, water quality, energy, carbon capture, climate change, ocean acidification, flooding, invasive species, rewilding and pollinators.

Dr Tim Lane, Lecturer in Physical Geography at Liverpool John Moores University and project lead commented:

“There needs to be more attention given to primary school children about the importance and likely impacts of climate change. This is a critical learning age, when fundamental scientific principles become embedded in a child’s understanding of the world. Most children have a basic knowledge of weather, through their day-to-day experiences, but they do not have a firm grasp of climate. By the time the current oldest primary school children are 21, there is a 50% chance that we will have exceeded our current targets of 1.5°C warming.

“Here at LJMU, my research focuses on understanding how environments have changed in the past, in particular on the Arctic. These regions are particularly sensitive to climate change and seeing these environments helped me understand what a pressing matter climate change is. The project is a designed as a collaboration of academics, public engagement experts and radio producers. Due to this, it affords a unique opportunity to provide high-quality, engaging educational content on a vitally important subject which is not really taught at a primary school level.”

Dr Kathryn Adamson, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University and project collaborator, said:  

“One of the best ways to engage children with learning is through entertainment. Our team has been specially designed to bring together scientists, teaching and learning specialists, and children’s entertainment developers. Our goal is to make accessible, factually sound resources on climate science that is above all fun for primary school children.

“My research examines the impacts of climate change on glaciers and rivers. Much of my work focuses on the Arctic where climate change is having major impacts, not only on glaciers but on sea ice, plants and animal species too. Seeing these changes first hand has given me a real drive to educate and encourage others to take action on climate change.”

Environment is a key research area within the LJMU School of Natural Sciences and Psychology. Much of the research addresses climate change and its impacts on organisms, environments and people, in the past, present and future. To find out more visit the Environment Research Group page.


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