Back from an inspiring trip to Ghana – where she shared lessons on climate and conservation with local students and teachers – Rainforest Alliance education manager Maria Ghiso recounts her experience…
“There is carbon in the atmosphere, run, run, run…” Students are chanting these words and clapping and laughing as they play an adaptation of musical chairs created by teachers in Ghana to help students understand the carbon cycle.
For three days, the Rainforest Alliance team has been working with a dynamic group of teachers from Ghana’s Western Region, sharing lessons on the carbon cycle and the role that trees play in climate change. During the workshop, we analyze observed changes in climate, graph real world data of historical carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, talk about the world’s forests and look at Ghana’s changing forest landscape. To bring theoretical concepts into practice, participants measure the amount of carbon stored in trees around the workshop site.
Today, teachers are putting their learning into action and leading activities for 100 students in a school in Adaikrom. I am sitting in the back of a classroom listening to one of the teachers lead an activity about the value of forests, watching the students volunteer more ideas about why trees are important and add to the growing list on the blackboard. Another set of students uses a carbon meter to make the invisible carbon dioxide a little more tangible, measuring the carbon produced by their breath and the exhaust from a car.
This moment is by far my favorite part of the trip. I am enjoying spending time with this committed group of students, who came in on a Saturday to help their teachers and continue to learn. It is inspiring to watch these educators, clearly in their element, put into practice concepts we learned only hours ago — concepts that they will continue teaching throughout the school year. They will also help to share our curricula with other educators at their school and will participate in community meetings about climate change.
We have used these lessons in classrooms in Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala and the US. Now, you can use them, too – we’ve added new, free climate curricula to the Rainforest Alliance Learning Site.
Do you want to learn more about cocoa farming in Ghana? Check out our new third grade unit, and share it with the budding environmentalists in your life.