The Climathon, a way to enhance interdisciplinary practices and to integrate the school into its environment

At the International Middle school of the Esplanade district in Strasbourg (France), the commitment of the teaching staff and students to sustainable development is not something new. In this context, the Climathon is a good opportunity to involve multiple partners and to offer actions that go beyond the school area. We took advantage of the event to ask teachers and students involved in the project about their vision of this initiative.

On this Monday in early February, it was buzzing with activity at the Esplanade International Middle school! 33 eco-delegates met in groups to reflect on the issues of urban heat islands and the heat wave in the city. The objective for the students was to think about solutions to try to limit these phenomena, which can be implemented at the scale of their school or their neighbourhood. One of these projects will be chosen at the end of the day and carried out afterwards.

An interdisciplinary project supported by multiple participants

The young citizens were accompanied by several specialists and local stakeholders to carry out this Climathon project. Speakers from the OCE (Office for Climate Education) and M矇t矇o France, a doctoral student in climatology, but also a landscape architect so many resource persons who spoke during the morning presentation, and who were also present to answer the pupils questions.

“We are used to initiating a number of actions within the framework of sustainable development and also obtained a french label for schools involved in sustainable development. In this context, we have had one or another partner for a particular activity several times, but never so many partners at the same time on the same day”, explain Paul Kopp, teacher in life and earth sciences and leader of the Climathon in his school.

“Some of the teachers are already used to working together, as we have an eco-Esplanade club and an educational garden”, adds Julie Rocquin-Pruneta, teacher in history and geography. The Climathon also allows crossing the fields of study: a technology teacher and a teacher in physical science complete the teaching team that accompanies the students in this initiative. In this inter-national school, some aspects could also be dealt with in French and in German, underlines the German teacher.

A real enthusiasm from the students

For Charlotte, a middle school pupil, “to be an eco-delegate is also a new way of educating: lear-ning to prefer things made of cardboard to those made of plastic for example, or learning to be autonomous and to use what we have at our disposal, rather than things that come from far away. The teachers see the role of the eco-delegates as a relay to reach more pupils: “once the project is successful, there will surely be other pupils who will be interested in being eco-delegates in the following years”.

Even if taking part in the Climathon represents an additional amount of work for the student volun-teers, the teachers are enthusiastic about the fact that they are indeed there and motivated. For Paul Kopp, “taking part in a practical and local project attracts the pupils, it allows them to go further than the theory or the notions seen in class”. “Project work is always rewarding: whatever the result, they are proud to contribute”, adds his German teacher colleague.

And the winner is….

At the end of the day, a project to plant the windows and balconies of the neighbourhood was finally selected by vote. This approach will make it possible to involve various local stakeholders such as the City of Strasbourg and the districts socio-cultural centre, thus mobilising the inhabitants and making the school a little more involved in its environment. As for the projects that were not se-lected, the teachers hope to bring them to life later through their eco-Esplanade club and educa-tional garden.

Why is it SPOON compatible?
Because it involves many stakeholders not only from the educational side, and the topic also makes it possible to involve citizens from the neighbourhood around the school.

Additional information: Discover the brochure of the green initiatives of the city of Strasbourg, in French, in which the fight against heat islands is part :


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