What is the Importance of STEM Education in Climate Change and Sustainability Education for Children?

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What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals): It is a universal call to action to eradicate poverty, protect our planet and ensure that all people live in peace and prosperity.

The major objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals are:

  • To end extreme poverty,
  • To combat inequality and injustice, and
  • To fix climate change.

Sustainable Development Goals have three dimensions: society, environment and economy, and it is possible to achieve sustainability when these dimensions are considered as a whole.

What is STEM Education?

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The aim of STEM education is to produce solutions to daily life problems with an interdisciplinary perspective and offers students a high quality, creative and critical education by integrating four basic disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into a harmonious education. STEM education is a way to develop higher-order thinking and gives students opportunities to solve real-life problems.

STEM, from an educator’s point of view: It can be defined as a rich series of activities that replace the lesson-based teaching strategy, with more student-centred strategies based on inquiry and project.

Why is STEM Education Important in Teaching Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals?

STEM education is an important tool in the successful realisation of climate change and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and individuals working for these purposes must have STEM skills, because there is a strong link between SDGs and STEM education. For example, in the fight against poverty, which is the first goal of SDG, students can offer solutions to the problems of developing countries by designing different technologies thanks to STEM education. In addition, to promote health and well-being, STEM education can train future healthcare professionals by providing students with an understanding of how medical devices and medicines are designed, developed and manufactured.

In order to reduce inequalities, STEM education can provide equal opportunities in education by providing technological opportunities that are accessible to everyone. This can make it easier for people of all ages to develop their STEM skills and apply for jobs in the STEM field. To combat climate change, STEM education can create green jobs by teaching students about the design and development of environmentally friendly technologies such as renewable energy sources. STEM education provides students with skills such as solving problems using scientific methods, following technological developments and being open to innovations.

These skills play an important role in the issues addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, people with STEM education in the agricultural sector can develop advanced agricultural technologies to increase agricultural production and ensure food security. STEM professionals, also working on renewable energy sources, can reduce climate change through the design and implementation of low-carbon energy systems. Therefore, educational institutions such as schools and universities should invest more in STEM education and ensure that students are informed about it.

How should climate change and sustainability education be?

1. It should be based on science: Education should be based on current scientific findings on climate change. Basic concepts such as the climate system, greenhouse gases, global warming effects should be conveyed accurately and clearly.

2. Focus on hands-on learning: Education should provide students with hands-on experiences and include practical activities. Students should participate in projects related to sustainability, such as energy conservation, recycling practices, gardening or agriculture projects.

3. It should adopt a multidisciplinary approach: Climate change education should bring together different disciplines such as science, mathematics, social sciences, arts and communication. In this way, students can develop a holistic understanding of climate change.

4. Strengthen communication skills: Education should focus on improving childrens effective communication skills. Being able to communicate information about climate change to others is important in raising awareness and providing support.

5. Participatory and action-oriented: Educational programs should encourage children’s active participation and develop their ability to take action. It should give students different opportunities, such as school projects, campaigns, or collaborating with local communities.

 

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YAZAR HAKKINDA

Çelebi KALKAN

He is the Scientix Project Ambassador to Türkiye.

He is the author of Sustainable Development Goals Competency Book for Children.

He is a finalist in the Environmental Ambassador category of GESS AWARDS 2022.

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