Student long-term environmental research (SLTER)
Long Term Environmental and Ecological Action research has proved to be a valuable pedagogic tool with major impacts on learning and teaching. Action Research has been found to be the most effective method to promote environmental awareness, scientific skills, ecological literacy, and the translation of these into action citizenship. Schools in peripheral areas, far from major cultural, academic and commercial centers, are at a distinct disadvantage. Innovative, creative approaches as outlined here can overcome the geographic dictates, and offer a worthy education. SLTER can encourage cooperation between schools in the Negev and the Arava, and special ties can be fostered between Jewish and Arab schools.
The project is based on students’ learning via long term active research projects. The program calls for equipping 15 schools in the Negev and Arava regions with self-contained environmental monitoring kits. These kits will be distributed, including items necessary for measuring climate, ecological impact parameters and social parameters.
learning methodology aims at collecting, analyzing and interpreting environmental data first-hand. Students will learn about the relationship and dependence of their surrounding environment. They will develop spatial and temporal thinking, as well as systemic thinking; and will acquire the tools required for understanding complex environmental and interactive systems. The data will be presented by students as projects in their classes in the middle and high schools. The data will also be analyzed through independent research projects in high schools. Learning through active research will lead the students to grapple with complex scientific problems. The independent projects will link secondary school pupils directly with researchers in the academic world. This project may contribute new important data that will be used by researchers working in the Negev, the Arava and the Dead Sea . The newly opened R&D (Ministry of Science) station of Southern Arava will take an active part in advising the students in their activities and research.
Students and teachers in schools here will build ties with other participants engaged in international projects: the “Globe Program” and “International Long Term Ecological Research”. Ma’ale Shaharut school and other schools in the Negev are already participating in the Globe Program. This is a worldwide hands-on program that promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on investigations of the environment. Data from more than 25 countries world-wide are collected and analyzed by students in these frameworks.
Projects from similar disciplines will be collected in all schools and will be shared via a joint public website, via which students and teachers will participate in an international scientific cooperative community. Conferences will be held in which students and teachers will present their projects. The participants will learn the value of cooperation in solving regional environmental problems, leading to change. High school pupils and students of higher education from other areas can utilize this data for research and teaching purposes.