Overflowing trashcans in city centres, community masks on the curb and trash in the ocean. But how can we tackle these issues?

This EU‐funded project establishes partnerships between schools and their communities (families, science education providers, citizens, businesses, etc.) to work jointly on nvironmental school‐community projects (SCPs). In [Freiburg] MOST project partners are [the Stadt Freiburg, the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE), as well as the Walter‐Rathenau vocational school].

Aim and realization of the individual Social‐Community Projects

The aim of these projects is for students and citizens to work together scientifically on the topics waste (2021) or rather energy (2022) to develop regionally feasible solution approaches. The acquired knowledge will then be purveyed to third parties. The spreading of results can be accomplished via short video clips, pictures, posters, flyers, newspaper articles and many more.

How could a project of this kind look like?

An example: An eight grade joins forces with a vendor of the local organically sourced store, an employee in regional waste management, an environmental consultant and a freelance journalist to investigate, as part of their math curriculum, how to reduce waste in private households of their town. After a shared brainstorming exercise small groups are working on different tasks: One group would for example analyse the inhabitants needs and interview passers‐by on their shopping behaviour. Another group would collect the house waste over a set period and compare their measurements with the amount of waste produced by consciously shopping over the same time period at the same scale. The vendor will offer them valuable insights. The result will be extrapolated for the entire town. As final step the students will create a list of instructions on how to minimize waste in their town, as well as which impact these will produce. The results are then prepared for an exhibition in the school and the local mall, where the local press will report.

By participating in this project with all their knowledge and abilities, all participants not only learn about themselves and others, but also widen their scientific knowledge and transversal skills (teamwork, strategic and innovative thinking, time management etc.). The aim is to awaken an interest in natural sciences and scientific work, which in the long term will lead to more students in Europe choosing to pursue a scientific career – an aim, that’s hugely important to the EU regarding the advancing technical developments and global ecological challenges.

What role does the international networking of MOST play?

To achieve this goal, 23 partners from 10 European countries formed the MOST consortium. The consortium helps schools to initiate “Open Schooling” projects on waste management and energy consumption on a local level, as well as helping to look for suitable partners in the area and accompanying the projects with educational and scientific materials.

The project is active on three levels: In all 10 countries, regional “Open School” projects are initiated and interlaced on a national level. This is achieved through regional MOST fairs, where experiences and examples of successful “Open Schooling” are shared. An “Open Schooling” network will be formed on the European level, which will spread the idea to a broader public and enable schools and participants to access and utilize it in the future. In addition, a final MOST conference will connect all Open‐Schooling‐Projects across Europe to a vibrant science‐learning network that opens up for further countries and communities.

The core of the project is the integration of diverse participants: science and research, formal and non‐formal educational institutions, politics, economy and society – on a local level by cooperating within “Open Schooling” projects, as within the project consortium, which contains all named institutions. The cooperation of diverse participants is the prerequisite to develop solution approaches, which take the needs of all concerned parties into consideration. At the same time, this is a driver for innovation, which will motivate all participants, to commit in the long term.

Project partner university logo (Pädagogishe Hochschule Freiburg)
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871155