PCEP Update: September 2016

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Aloha · Talofa · Yokwe · Paing Kowos · Kaselehlie · Ráán Ánnim · Mogethin · Alii · Håfa Adai · Tirow

Greetings PCEP Partners! Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) is happy to present the August/September 2016 bi-monthly PCEP Newsletter Update. We have stories from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Pohnpei, Kosrae, and American Samoa.

The reports in this update illustrate PCEP’s ongoing support to schools and communities in addressing climate impacts in their local places. The first report focuses on water security. The second is about Indigenous and personal connections to significant places that are affected by climate change impacts. Both the third and fourth reports are about professional learning. Each example demonstrates how specific PCEP resources and partnerships support climate education in the region.

Also keep an eye on our web portal, where we have several new resource added since the last update. For any comments or questions, please send to Emerson (odangoe@prel.org).


Learning STEM for Change – FEW-LOTS Summer Program for Youth

Food and water security are critical issues for the Marshall Islands, and more so in the light of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change such as drought caused by more frequent El Niños. This June 2016, 20 youth from Marshall Islands High School (MIHS) and Life Skills Academy (LSA) learned and practiced skills crucial for self-sufficiency and community resilience. They participated in three courses over 2 weeks, taught by The Wellness Center (a PREL partner) teachers from MIHS, and by the COOP (Cooperative) School. This event was sponsored by the Food, Energy, & Water: Leveraging and Organizing Toward Self-sustainability (FEW-LOTS) project, a joint supplemental grant to PCEP and Water for Life (WfL).

The first course was FEEDFood Education Every Day with staff from The Wellness Center. During this course, students learned how to use food grown in the MIHS and Life Skills Academy (LSA) Learning Gardens to prepare healthy and delicious lunches, including ma ‘breadfruit’, Chinese cabbage, chili peppers, green onions, and ni ‘coconut’. As the students prepared the food, The Wellness Center staff shared information about healthy lifestyle choices, diabetes prevention, and nutrition.

The Exploring Appropriate Technologies and Science (EATS) course resulted in the making of eight rocket stoves, three smokeless stoves, and one solar oven. Guided by Mr. Savu Nivau, a 4th grade and garden teacher at the COOP School, the students scaled up a demonstration solar oven to one large enough to hold a pot of food. Rocket and smokeless stoves use very little fuel, thus conserving energy. Each student made a rocket stove to take home. Two of the smokeless stoves went to schools in the Outer Islands, and one remained in Majuro.

The most popular course was Water for (4) Life. Mr. Charlie Donalin led a team of water ambassadors to test the quality of water on the MIHS and LSA campuses. Based on the test results, the students had to develop a plan to filter and clarify the water in order for it to be potable. Next, the students had to apply what they learned at home. After testing the water at home, the students developed and executed a water clarification plan for their families.

This summer program built on the positive experiences of PREL’s PCEP, FEW-LOTS and WfL projects, accentuating that everything is connected—food, energy, water, climate change—they are all part of Earth’s systems. Through learning about and practicing self-sufficiency, the participants are building their own resilience as well as the resilience of their communities.

report by and photos courtesy of Dr. Koh Ming Wei

Recognizing Nan Madol as a Site for Place-based Education

During the week of July 18–22, 2016, the Pacific Storytellers Cooperative—a component of PCEP—brought young Micronesian students at the College of Micronesia (COM) and members of the Pohnpei Youth Media together at the COM National Campus library for a learning exchange. Central throughout the week-long workshop was the desire to encourage youths around the Pacific islands to explore and—through place-based learning—to rediscover their rich environmental heritage and tell others how this heritage reflects their own sense of being and identity.

Students were taught different techniques of using modern digital devices to capture images and lay them out for intriguing storyboards by renowned journalist Daniel Lin. They listened to stories of Nan Madol from respected and educated elders such as Dr. Rufino Mauricio. They were given guidance and access to COM’s Pacific collection for further references. They went to Nan Madol to rediscover the place with the guiding question of, “How do you feel that Nan Madol is now part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites list?” Nan Madol’s recent inception the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites coincided with the Storyteller’s workshop. At the same time, Nan Madol has been listed as an endangered site, meaning that Nan Madol is finally documented as culturally significant (by the global audience), yet it is in critical condition. How do local students feel about this?

The students’ stories of Nan Madol that resulted from the week-long workshop are now being shared globally. The Pohnpei Storytellers are still shy and self-conscious whenever they see their stories and pictures in the Kaselehlie Press—the local newspaper—or shared on social media. Nevertheless, they recognize the significance of storytelling and have been motivated to make the COM Pohnpei Storytellers an official club at the college. They have taken on Story Hour (every Thursday, 3:30–4:30PM) at the Pohnpei Public Library as a community service activity for the group. With constant threats of climate change impacts all around them, the students look forward to learning more about their surroundings and heritage so they can share more of Pohnpei’s stories with others, especially their younger brothers and sisters.

report by C. H. Rilometo; photo courtesy of Corrin Barros

Learning, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Place(s)

Teachers in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) possess a wealth of knowledge and experiences that connect them to the places of their families, clans, communities, ancestors, and descendants. These teachers are also constantly building their knowledge regarding climate change education. Opportunities for knowledge-building often take place during professional conferences. PCEP uses such opportunities to further professional development on the effective use of PCEP resources to support teaching and learning for students through a place-based education framework.

Lelu Elementary School-Kosrae Department of Education hosted this year’s Micronesia Teacher Education Conference (MTEC) from July 18 to 21. MTEC is an annual conference sponsored by the FSM National Department of Education. PREL was represented in this conference by Dr. Emerson Odango, Dr. Ethan Allen, and Joyminda George.

Emerson and Joyminda led a session titled “Learning from Our Place, Learning from Each Other,” focusing on PCEP’s professional learning framework. The PCEP professional learning framework supports the implementation of PCEP resources to benefit student learning in a way that values place as the first site of contextualized learning—as opposed to turning to resources like textbooks as the first and/or only source of information.

The session consisted of a diverse group of participants from all of the four FSM States. The participants were expected to (1) gain a deeper understanding about their place; (2) know how to extend such knowledge to climate educational resources and activities; and (3) be able to model what they have learned. The session began with a brief tour outside the school building. Each group used their five senses to explore a close-by area and discuss among themselves what they know (and want to know) about the place—a place of great significance, given Lelu’s connections to Kosraean history, culture, and identity.

In another activity, the participants created fictional stories using the High and Low Island posters. Emerson and Joy emphasized that resources about climate change can have relevance for subjects such as language arts and cultural studies. Students can connect what they know beyond the classroom walls into the learning activity, regardless of specific subject matter.

report by Joyminda George, with contributions from Dr. Emerson Lopez Odango;
photos courtesy of Joyminda George and Eterny Edwin

Climate Science Teacher Institute Travels to American Samoa

The Climate Science Teacher Institute—in partnership with the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, PREL and Voyaging for STEM—held its third workshop on climate science for high school teachers. This year’s five-day workshop took place in American Samoa from August 15 to 19 in partnership with the American Samoa Department of Education and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Eighteen teachers from fourteen schools were hosted by Tafuna High School.

The workshop was structured around climate science and climate change themes with 15–30 minute-lectures followed by a practical demonstration or application. Fifteen presenters from nine different organizations gave talks on topics such as the weather patterns in American Samoa, the effects of increased sea surface temperatures on coral reefs, and the resilience of coastal communities to climate change impacts.

Each day, the teachers summarized what they learned and used the material to create their own lesson plans adapted to their grades, aligning them with Next Generation Science Standards. Some of the highlights of the workshop were the open house at the facilities of the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, a snorkeling trip to a local reef, and of course the teachers’ presentations of all their work, followed by a traditional American Samoa meal, which was delicious!

Pictures of the workshop and updates from teachers can be found on the Climate Science Teacher Institute Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hnlclimatescience/. All the presentations and teaching material will be made available online on the PREL PCEP website. It has been a great third year for the Climate Science Teaching Institute and we are looking forward to receiving news from the teachers on how the training has been applied to the classroom. Through collaborations with the American Samoa group Voyaging for STEM and the Department of Education, the Climate Science Teaching Institute is helping build capacity in country and enhance climate science understanding in American Samoa.

report by and photo courtesy of Annick Cros

New Curricular Resources

Since the last update for June/July 2016, we have added three more new resource to the PCEP web portal Resources page at pcep.prel.org/resources/. These resources provide curricular support. Two of them are resources adapted from the activities of the Developmental Approaches to Science, Health, and Technology (DASH) program, geared toward grades 3 and 4. The other resource is a set of five connected lessons on mangroves for grades 3–5.

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