Initiatives

SUCCESSFUL INTERVENTIONS INVOLVING THE E-TEAM include initiatives that created opportunities for writing, reading, listening and speaking. It also encouraged imagining and describing futures, debating current issues, predicting, speculating, arguing a case and researching.


Middle and upper school students designed, built and maintained native gardens, nature trails and sensory walks through selected school areas. The native gardens project encouraged the input of local aboriginal groups - and also involved migrants describing the flora and fauna of their homelands. 

The E-TEAM initiative provided opportunities to develop mathematical problem solving strategies and environmental analysis techniques. It allowed students to apply the basics of measuring, calculation and spatial understanding, skills of reasoning, monitoring, prediction and verification related to environmental issues. 

Plastic recycling in remote locations involves the transportation of lightweight, but bulky, containers. Ten woolbales, approximately 1 cubic metre in size, were attached to a fence so that mixed plastics could be collected and placed inside(no sorting required). A cartage contractor agreed to transport bales as backloading for little charge. The plastics recycler used seven bales for raw material, one bale paid for transport, one bale paid for the energy used in the recycling process, and one bale was profit for the recycler. The students chose outdoor benches as the product to be returned to their community, and negotiated with the local council as to the positioning in the streets and recreation areas. The recycling loop was closed and the community benefitted! 

The E-TEAM initiative provided opportunities to develop mathematical problem solving strategies and environmental analysis techniques. It allowed students to apply the basics of measuring, calculation and spatial understanding, skills of reasoning, monitoring, prediction and verification related to environmental issues. 

300 school students undertook the ‘Checking Your Lunch for Waste’ activity and were concerned at the amount of packaging involved. They requested the parent’s Canteen Committee to provide bulk sultanas and nuts instead of packets of potato crisps, use small paper bags, and add a range of seasonal fruits to the menu. This activity was also a catalyst for the investigation of healthy foods, discussions with district nursing staff, and increased usage of the school canteen (which in turn raised funds for school sporting equipment). 

The E-TEAM initiative, through the use of scientific method, developed an understanding of human interaction within environment through investigation of living things, plants, animals, matter, energy, space and time.

State school systems encourage local control of budgets, but provide central funds for power supplies , telephones, and general maintenance. Students studied "Wasting the Watts’ and instituted plans to reduce the school’s energy accounts by considerable sums - using natural lighting wherever possible, turning off lights and computers when not in use, and appointing roving ‘energy monitors’. The central funding officials reduced funding by the amounts that the students had saved - but were forced to refund them after public protest. The students reduced the amounts of energy consumed and the school had more money to spend on library and sporting materials. 

The E-TEAM initiative encouraged the exploration of interaction between technology and environment. 

Secondary school students, some with a low self-esteem, volunteered to return to the local primary school to assist with environmental activities inside and outside the classrooms. They assisted in the establishment and maintenance of grade-level wormeries to transform organic waste from lunches, acted as surrogate parents to reduce pupil-teacher ratios on excursions, and were involved in the construction of paper pots, seed propagation and the planting out of grasses, shrubs and trees to help overcome salinity problems. There was a noticeable increase in self-esteem in the volunteers, an increase in skills and interest in the younger students, and positive on-going relationships were established between older students and adults. 

The E-TEAM initiative assisted students to develop an The E-TEAM initiative helped develop of personal, emotional, social, physical and recreational values skills and understandings, which can encourage a positive relationship with environment. 

Local budgeting of centrally-allocated funding has already been mentioned. A school was paying a  substantial amount for the collection of 46 large black plastic bins (23 twice weekly) but with the introduction of wormeries, composting, paper recycling and waste reduction techniques the bin collection was reduced to 1 waste bin per week, 1 glass bin per month, and 1 metals bin per month. Tremendous savings were involved and the collection fees were used in other more productive areas. The system spread to pupil homes and the local council landfill requirements were also substantially reduced. 

The E-TEAM initiative assisted students to develop an understanding of social studies and civics through people-environment relationships and the study of structures and systems, cultures and beliefs, heritage and change.

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Print-based materials were made available to selected grades in selected schools. The interest generated lead to extensive projects involving the sustaining of, and reclaiming of, habitat (nesting boxes were built and placed, native grasses collected and grown on, and tree planting undertaken with the support of various community groups). Tree planting involved the reclaiming of large area of a school ground where all previous attempts had failed - students had their names written on wooden stakes, made their selection from twelve different species of trees, planted their selection in any of the 600 pre-dug holes, and staked their tree. The pride and sense of ownership from this activity led to a 98% growth success rate (students watered their trees without being asked to, returned to school during vacations to look after their tree, and passed the responsibility on to younger family members or other students when they left). Students were also involved in fund raising for WWF projects, and took increased responsibility for their pets.

The E-TEAM initiative developed awareness by identifying, clarifying and communicating feelings and ideas about the environment, using multimedia technologies. Issues were explored through data bases, interactive programs and computer modelling.