Sustainability Teaching and Learning Archive
'Students Using Compass Model For Sustainability'
At Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Senior School students have many great ideas for ways to improve the environment of their school and community. Many of these ideas have been shared and implemented within the school curriculum, and through both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities using the Compass Model for Sustainability.
Within the School Curriculum
After completing a workshop on Alan AtKisson’s Sustainability Models, some of the teaching staff have begun to use a "Compass Model for Sustainability" lens on our curriculum.
Example 1: Students in Grade 8 MYP Science are required to use the compass model when approaching the issue of how to build a Sustainable Farm on a 10 rai (3.95 acres) plot. All areas of the compass model must be presented when discussing how this sustainable farm can be created.
Example 2: In an activity called Farmers and Bankers, students in Grade 9 MYP Maths use the compass model to help decide what products are needed in purchasing farm equipment, how loans are distributed and what gives the most sustainable outcome regarding simple interest rates and compound interest rates.
Example 3: IB Diploma Biology students are given the classic compass model problem on how to sustain proper fish population levels and maintain viable fishing seasons for up to ten years in a row. Using a sustainable fishing game model, students decide, in "fishing groups", how many fish will be taken each season and why that number is required regarding society needs, profit needs, impact on the environment of the fish and well-being of the fisherman’s families.
Co-curricular and Extra-curricular
Several students have now begun to implement their own take on sustainability and the Compass Model through their co-curricular activities.
In one after-school club, Roots and Shoots for a Sustainable Future, the students wanted to improve the paper recycling within our school and the surrounding community. Using the Compass Model, students devised a plan to build a paper recycling center on campus.
The primary focus of the compass model was on Nature and the impact on waste disposal sites and tree cutting, but then the other three points on the compass model were considered. The students thought of Economy and how the recycle center might employ local people near the school to work with the paper recycling center.
In guided discussions, the students thought about creating paper products, such as gift cards and boxes that would display local area artwork from Northern Thailand and displaced persons from Myanmar.
The students considered the community’s Well-being and the employment such a paper recycling center might bring to the area as well as income derived from the sales of the gift cards and boxes. In Society, the students were able to think about the impact such an operation might have on local governments and laws regarding waste removal in the community. This project is still being worked on at the planning stages.
Many important works have been completed through another club, the Environmental Club. This year Roots and Shoots for a Sustainable Future will combine with Environmental Club to have an even greater impact on global issues and the challenges of a sustainable future.
Using the Pyramid Model for decision making, the students developed a name for their new organization by collaboratively voting on various titles and what each title meant to Sustainability.
Prospective titles were presented, analyzed and discussed. In the end, the whole club decided on ‘Eco-Revolution’ as the name that best defined the philosophy of what students hope to achieve with sustainability.
On Earth-Day, 2009, Grades 8 to 12 were put into mixed groups to use the Compass Model for Sustainability to consider issues related to a real school problem: "How to reduce Energy Consumption at Prem Tinsulanonda International School?"
After using the Compass Model and creating banks of ideas about problems that contribute to energy consumption, the students used the Pyramid Model for decision making to arrive at a group agreed solution for the problems. It was a tremendous challenge to boil 180 ideas down to one solution, but within two hours and forty-five minutes, it was achieved.
Using the Compass Model for Sustainability and the Pyramid Model for decision making allowed every voice to be heard and every idea to be recorded and discussed. Eventually, a decision was reached by the student body. As a consequence of this exercise, all students from Grade 8 to Grade 12 had a say in the decision.
MYP Science and IB Biology Teacher
‘International Year of the Forest’
How can we help out? Let’s have a look at the kinds of houses we all live in.
Here in Thailand most people live in concrete brick houses. The concrete comes from limestone which is mined from nearby mountains. Most often in limestone mining whole mountains are removed, blasted to pieces and then ground-up and made into cement. The results are staggering: the loss of an entire mountain is quite remarkable to see. To help combat this we decided to help celebrate the International Year of Forests, and to protect mountains, by building a small sala in the middle of the Prem library using only completely sustainable materials.
We cut bamboo from our campus and used the traditional style of notching it so the pieces could slide together with minimal use of wire to hold the bamboo together. We collected teak leaf roof thatch from the local villagers who gather the leaves as they fall in this season and then weave them together into wind- and water-proof panels which are attached to the roof framework using bamboo string.
Then came the fun part! We made the walls of the sala from mud, rice straw and hard work! This technique, called wattle and daub, was enjoyed by students from EY1 all the way up to Grade 7, and found them in a tub filled with mud and a little water. This mud was mixed with their feet and then smothered over rice straw woven through a bamboo frame to make the walls. When the walls were dry we covered them with beautiful natural paint.