Many thousands of people enjoy visiting the frogs, snakes, and chameleons in our Vivarium each year, but did you know a key part of the Vivarium’s work is conservation and research into endangered species? Our herpetologist, Andrew Gray, has even rediscovered a rare tree frog once considered extinct whilst on a research trip!
The Museum as a whole is dedicated promoting public debate about environmental sustainability issues. “Developing a sustainable world” is a key part of our strategic vision, and through our collections we aim to engage people in some of the major issues facing our planet such as climate change and habitat loss.
These debates are now reaching our youngest visitors through our learning programme; you may have already read about our new KS2 workshop, Rainforest Investigators: Extinction and Survival.
We love sharing ideas with like-minded people, so we were delighted to be invited to chat to teachers about our environmental sustainability work at the Association for Science Educators annual conference in Liverpool last week. We even brought a snake, lemur leaf frog and panther chameleon to share!
Even though the primary science curriculum doesn’t mention environmental sustainability specifically, as a group we found dozens of opportunities to integrate these issues into teaching. For example, when we learn about electricity, do the children consider where it comes from? When we learn about materials and changes, do we know whether the materials are sustainable or recyclable? And when we learn about fossils of extinct animals, do we consider modern endangered species?
If those ideas have sparked your imagination, check out the collection of our ideas in this document: Linking Sustainability issues to the Primary Science Curriculum.
I’ve also included a number of useful links below.
Let us know in the comments what you do to promote sustainability with young children, and any other resources you can recommend!
- Frog Blog Manchester
- Manchester Environmental Education Network
- Unesco’s Education for Sustainable Development
- Paper about education for sustainability in Australia and New Zealand
- Bourn report into primary education for global learning and sustainability
- Science and sustainability through outdoor learning conference report