Addressing problems in our own environment
In this activity, you will finally address some environmental problems yourselves. As a class, you will identify some real-life problems in your own neighbourhood, or even on the school grounds. Is there serious littering? Are exhaust fumes or noise being emitted by trucks on a nearby main road? Identifying a problem will be your first task.
The activity will involve many of your skills, and a lot of careful thought. You will all be telling stories, writing, creating a play, performing, and designing and making a comic.
You will work in small groups. One of the people in the group should be the news reporter from a local newspaper, who keeps notes and will later write up a newspaper report, to inform the world of this important story.
You will need:
A large sheet of paper for each student (ideally A3 or A2,
Pencils, sharpeners, and erasers
Water-colour paints (or another colour medium: eg. crayons, oil-pastels or pencil-crayons)
To the Teacher
The following activity incorporates drama, drawing and group discussion, in order to debate and attempt to solve local environmental problems. It requires some time to do properly, and may need several sessions. Through this activity your class will identify certain problems, enact them for each other, in groups, and then together brainstorm a “solution” – or at least a way forward.
Part 1. The drama
With your small group, identify an environmental problem in your community. It should be a very real one. It could be, for example, that litter is thrown about by residents and is not collected; that there are not enough water taps for the community; or that water runs constantly in the gutters. Perhaps there is unhealthy air pollution, emanating from a nearby factory, or unbearable noise pollution from trucks on the nearby roads.
As a group, turn your environmental problem into a short play. Each person will take on the role of a character. For example: an angry neighbour, the Mayor, the owner of the factory, someone ill from breathing dust – whatever is appropriate to your story.
Plan it, rehearse it, and then perform the play for your class. Keep it short!
Part 2. The discussion
Immediately after each performance, a discussion should be held, open to the whole class. Discuss options for addressing each “community’s” problem, and for taking the matter forward.
New characters could step in: you can “rewind” the play, and change the ending!
Part 3. The comic
Now you will work individually. Think about your drama (or play): how many separate “scenes” did it have? Divide your sheet of paper into a number of rectangles (they might differ in size). In each rectangle, make a careful pencil drawing of one of the key scenes of the play, in sequence – so that together they tell the whole story. Use “speech bubbles” in which to write the dialogue (the words spoken by each character). Once you are happy with the whole drawing in pencil, colour the images to complete the comic.
Exhibit them in your classroom, and invite other students and teachers to see them. This may lead to many more discussions about the environment you live in.