We are excited to be partnering with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to bring teachers the Our Planet Live collection of activities for teachers to join live via Skype. The collection consists of experts and scientists from around the world who can give a deeper insight into the species, locations, issues and solutions introduced by the “Our Planet” series and website. The series explores rich natural wonders, iconic species and wildlife spectacles that still remain and reveals the key issues that urgently threaten their existence.
We spoke to Matt Larsen-Daw, WWF-UK
Matt is Education Manager for “Our Planet” and a member of the Education Leadership Group for the WWF Global Network. His background is as a campaigner, trainer and consultant in participatory community development. Matt is also Chair of socio-educational charity HVP Nepal-UK.
Tell us a bit about “Our Planet”
WWF’s 2018 Living Planet Report revealed the scale of human impact on our precious natural world. “Our Planet,” launched on Netflix in April, takes the story further. The eight-part series, voiced by David Attenborough, reveals the natural wonders that remain and explores what we need to do to ensure a future in which nature and people thrive.
Why is it important to WWF to involve students in this?
Today’s young people will be the stewards of our planet in the years to come, and the future of all life depends on them gaining the knowledge, skills and passion for nature necessary to transform humanity’s relationship with the natural world and build a more sustainable future. With just 10 years to bring huge changes to lifestyles and business practices worldwide if we are to avoid global environmental collapse, young people will be faced with a turbulent and challenging world as they move into adulthood and make decisions about their own personal and professional futures.
How can teachers get their students involved?
Students have a great opportunity to connect in real time with the experts behind the series—you can request a free session via the Skype in the Classroom collection—you can filter by subject, location and availability to find the right expert for your students to engage with. In addition to the live experience, you can support their learning with a range of resources and activities for schools and young people that build on “Our Planet” and ensure that the important subjects and messages in the series can be accessed by a wide spectrum of young people around the world. We are empowering educators in primary and secondary schools to draw on the incredible wealth of free high-quality video resources on ourplanet.com to delve into the key issues of our time with their students.
What are some examples of the sorts of connections teachers can make?
Through his own personal story, polar expert Rod Downie will give students an insight into what it’s really like to visit the frozen Arctic and come face to face with a polar bear.
You could meet a film producer from Silverback Films—the talented team behind “Our Planet”—and learn about the highs and lows of capturing breath-taking footage of the natural world.
You could connect with bestselling nature author Nicola Davies and explore how fiction can encourage a connection with nature.
Collaborate with classes in schools around the world as you explore your local biodiversity and take action to protect and restore nature in your area, guided by the Our Planet LAB toolkit. Find out more and register your interest here: https://education.microsoft.com/ourplanetlab
More experts and educators are joining each month throughout 2019—bookmark the page and look out for exciting opportunities to gain new insight on our planet and the fight for its future.
Extra Resources for you and your classroom
- Bring the story of our planet to life for young people with the spectacular videos and interactive explorable globe available for free on OurPlanet.com.
- Take inspiration and guidance from the Our Planet educator guide, which includes ideas for sparking ideas, discussion and engagement with videos.
- Present to the whole school or even the wider community with the Our Planet Assembly Pack.
And if you are using Minecraft Education Edition in your classroom…
Minecraft: Education Team launched a new curriculum in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to help educators teach biodiversity and conservation. The curriculum includes an immersive Minecraft world and three standards-based lessons. Students will learn about what causes extinction, interact with scientists and tackle threats to our planet’s ecosystems in different Minecraft biomes. Explore these resources for hands-on learning and download the Minecraft world at aka.ms/biodiversity. Tens of millions of educators and students are licensed to use Minecraft: Education Edition. Visit aka.ms/meegetstarted to learn how to use this tool in your classroom!