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classwork sample
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Here we provide you a sample – purely indicative – on how to use YXC contents to develop your training activities at school. The case studies are the main ‘ingredient’: a formidable tool to keep your educational path close to the real life. The ‘utilities’ (facts & figures, dep’t store, links, etc.) are intended as additional ‘utensil’ to help you cooking a tasty class activity. The goal: sharing - hand by hand with your students – the fantastic journey towards more sustainable lifestyles!


keywords: energy access & consumption | energy sources | environmental impact | renewables | technology transfer

goal: raise awareness about students’ energy consumption needs and the unbalanced energy access worldwide; underline the environmental (e.g. climate change) and political implications (e.g. political risks of oil dependence) of fossil fuel consumption; show possible alternatives (e.g. solar, wind, etc.); outline that renewable technology can be easily transferred and managed; stimulate more responsible energy consumption patterns (e.g. using solar powered appliances).

risk: topic’s complexity might discourage students if concrete and simple alternatives are not provided with.

YXC level: community at large (3rd level).

subject areas: Science & technology, Languages, Geography, Citizenship education, Social studies.

work planning: Phase 1, testing students knowledge of the issue; Phase 2, intro to the issue; Phase 3, creation of 2-3 teams; Phase 4, individual homework; Phase 5, reporting.

testing student knowledge (with key questions):
bullet What do we need energy for? bullet How would your lives change without energy access? bullet Where does energy come from? bullet Do our energy consumption patterns impact the environment? bullet What are the possible alternatives to conventional energy sources? bullet What’s the impact of technology on our every daily life? bullet Is green energy affordable for all? bullet What can be done to assure energy access to remote, poor, rural communities worldwide?

introducing the topic (suggesting possible answers): all these questions might seem difficult to answer. The Barefoot College story – in ‘Looking ahead’ - can be a very good starting point to try answering them and introduce energy related issues. For example, it can be useful to introduce a lessons cycle on energy access, green energy sources and/or the relation between energy consumption and climate change. The Barefoot College – as all the stories disseminated all along the YXC website - is rooted in the idea that even big changes are possible starting from the bottom, from our daily habits. Issues that seem too big for us to deal with or fare from our homes and with no relations with our lives… become more familiar, hence more interesting.

In fact, the main findings of the ‘Barefoot college’ story can be summarised as follow:

bullet still today electricity access is not guaranteed to everybody (2.4 billion people have no access to modern electricity supply);

bullet smart and simple technology can bring extraordinary improvements in the lives of millions of people (in this case access to electricity with all the related improvements to daily life);

bullet green, namely solar energy can be manageable and affordable also for poor people;

bullet it can provide a solution not just for cooking but also for education and health, and

bullet it can be turned in a profitable business and a social inclusion opportunity - in particular, for some of the most vulnerable people (in this case women).

providing evidence: to support these conclusions and give students a broader overview of the topic, you could use the energy-related statistical sheets gathered in the FACTS & FIGURES: [energy access & consumption] to get informed about the main energy sources and the problems raised by the lack of electricity access in some part of the world; [renewables intro] to familiarise your students with the main development in the field of alternative energy sources. You could invite students to make teams’ researches on one particular renewable source starting from the renewables data sheets - [solar] [wind energy] [hydro] [biomass] [geothermal] [hydrogen]. For in-depth researches you could check the LINKS section to find out further information about the topic or to introduce initiative intended to promote renewables (for example the campaign [www.choose-positive-energy.org]).

To avoid the risk of making students feel powerless when dealing with big issues such as energy access and provide them with suggestions about ‘what can I do?’ you could offer further examples of simple and successful solutions. For example, you may suggest students to surf within the DEP’T STORE to discover innovative products such as the [solar camp fridge]; or invite them to read - in the JOBS section - the success story of [Fabio Rosa], a Brazilian entrepreneur whose aim is to provide low-cost electricity to the Brazilian rural poor.

methodological suggestions: a way to increase students’ awareness on the importance of energy access is to push them thinking about the number of times they use it daily and in which ways they might be wasting energy unnecessarily (e.g. leaving electronic devices, such as TV-set, in stand-by). For example, they may be asked to discuss the pros and cons of not having access to electricity (partially illustrated by the case), and imagine solutions for different use situations (cooking, lighting, etc.).

results assessment: after having analysed complex issues (energy access and energy consumption…), this activity provides examples of innovative alternatives, underlying that creative changes are made possible not only through high-tech but also through low tech, simple, ingenious solutions.

The success of this pedagogical module on clean energy access can be measured by the following results:

informative goals:

bullet students are aware of the importance of clean energy access;

bullet they are aware of the unbalanced access to this basic good;

bullet they know the difference – in both political and environmental terms- between conventional and renewable energy sources;

action goals:

bullet students organise a green energy campaign trying to convince school managers and/or relatives switching to renewable energy sources.

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