Disaster Risk Reduction is the key theme in Science at Zlatarski School this year

Skills for Sustainable Living: Students and teachers at Zlatarski School continue their work and efforts in the field of sustainable development and lifelong learning. In tune with the Global Lesson topic suggested by the United Nations and endorsed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, we will study in details the topic of Disaster Risk Reduction. Starting in February 2014, by the end of the school year the topic of sustainable living will be discussed in all grades, focusing on a range of issues like climate change, biodiversity, disasters. Here are some of the activities:

Disaster Risk Reduction: The Group 4 Project of 11 IB science students will focus on natural disasters resulting from global climate change. The students’ teams will have over two months to investigate independently different aspects, like detection, prevention and mitigation efforts related to natural disasters. They will have to make lab reports, presentations, web sites and newsletters to share their findings. All models and presentations will be judged at the Science Fair that will take place at the end of the school year. 10 and 11 grades will also pay special attention to the topics of climate change, natural disasters and sustainable development during their Geography and Biology classes.

Biodiversidad or biologische Vielfalt: 11 graders will also study the importance of biodiversity in their Spanish or German classes using the Science Across the World materials ‘Biodiversity around us’. This will allow them to exchange on this topic with students from other countries speaking those languages. Communicating their ides to others will also help them to prepare better for their language exams. A summary of the best works will be exchanged with partner schools through the Science Across the World network. 11 and 12 grades have already discussed some of the ethical aspects of the topic of climate change and sustainable life during their Theory of Knowledge classes. After studying in details the risks of disasters of all sorts, 11 graders will be experts on the topic and will be able to give lectures to younger students, as part of their CAS activities.

Visiting lectures: To inform and prepare students better for their independent project work, in February we have invited our good friends from the Ecocentric Foundation (ecocentric-foundation.org) to join our efforts. The representatives of the NGO use informal, democratic methods of education to teach the sustainable living skills and train students and teachers in the key competences of lifelong learning.

Spring alive: In Bulgaria migratory birds are associated with spring, a symbol of the new beginning, new hope. But the future may hold surprises, and it is better to face them prepared. Have you ever wandered what challenges birds have to overcome to be able to return here and make us smile once again?

This spring Zlatarski School took the challenge to try to contribute to the international efforts to follow and report birds migration. The project is organized by Birdlife International and coordinated by their Bulgarian partner the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (bspb.org). Starting on 1 March, all students can report online their observations of five common migratory birds. Go to the project website: www.springalive.net to find out more. Learn how peoples’ and birds’ lives are interconnected. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” (John Muir, 1911).

All students are invited to use their knowledge and creativity to help raise the public awareness about migratory birds and the threats to the wildlife. All students’ projects – posters, presentations, poems, essays, models, art works, pictures, video etc. will be exhibited during the Science Fair at the end of June. As part of the project our students will exchange by email, their findings about birds and the efforts to protect them, with a partner school in Nigeria where these birds spend the winter time. Hopefully with common efforts we could save more birds from the perils along the migratory route.