A structured guide for See Through News volunteers to use STN’s fun, friendly, factful, free teaching resources
See Through Education is where a range of See Through News (STN) projects are consolidated, and optimised for busy teachers and novice mentors.
See Through Education offers a range of free, field-tested teaching resources. This guide is intended to help See Through News volunteers, in the role of teacher/mentor/facilitator/parent/tutor, to use them most effectively.
STN has deployed these resources in many different contexts, to children and adults, in different countries. This guide summarises our experiences. We defer to local knowledge and specialist expertise – a teacher always knows their pupil best – so this guide is provided as a general guide to best practice. We hope it will help anyone:
- unfamiliar with STN projects
- inexperienced in delivering training/teaching
The resources provide a wide range of accessible and enjoyable starting points. All journeys end at the same destination, the See Through News Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active.
If you want to get your students thinking about carbon drawdown, net zero, and sustainability in a general, brainstorming way, we’ve listed suitable resources and links in a separate article.
These established projects form the basic building blocks on which different types of training/teaching can be constructed. Here are the most relevant ones, with their main focus:
- The Think Game: prompting how we evaluate effective climate action
- The Learn Game: gamifying learning our most effective carbon-reducing actions
- The Superhero & Supervillain Drawing Competition: distinguishing rational fact-based ad rem debate from ad hominem rhetorical bluster
- How To Live Without Plastic: bringing generations together to re-learn sustainable living
- The Vox Pox Project: demonstrates the power of careful, agenda-free listening, and the impact of editing in visual storytelling
- 1 Sunday Morning, 4 Films: unique experiment in community filmmaking, leaving a lasting legacy for aspiring professionals and community activists
- Learning For Real film night: three documentaries that stimulate discussion, ideally between teachers, parents and children, on the importance of giving children real responsibility
- Languages Speech: inspirational 15min video of a speech that combines audience interaction, the joy of language learning, physical activity, memory tests, all while smuggling in vital carbon drawdown information. Can be used as the basis for classroom discussion for language learning, history, culture, mathematics, physics, politics and environmental science
- The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories Podcast: a podcast series that tells almost entirely true stories, challenging the human instinct to prefer convenient lies to inconvenient truths
These resources can be used:
- As standalone projects for a single lesson or event
- In combination, to build up a programme of STN activities over a morning, afternoon, day or week
- To serve third-party programmes that align with See Through News’s Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active, e.g. Finastra’s 2023 Hack To The Future Junior Hack Competition, in which children age 10-18 submit videos outlining their ideas on using Finance to meet Net Zero goals
These resources are all design for maximum flexibility in various aspects, including:
- Ages: most can be used or adapted for children as young as 6, up to a maximum age of approximately 125.
- Duration: the table includes some suggestions, but they can form the base of day-long, week-long, or term-long projects.
- Subjects: the table lists the most obvious curriculum subject areas the projects cover, but they’re designed to slot into a range of standard school curriculum topics.
- Function: all projects are suitable for use in and out of schools, by groups or individuals, in-person and remotely, but we list a few of the key ways they can be used as illustrations.
For detailed instructions/lesson plans, click on the links to the individual projects.
Sli.do or similar
Basis for our ‘opinions’
Basis for role play
|How To Live Without Plastic
|Shoot: Mobile phone/video camera/Zoom recording
Edit: mobile phone/laptop
Empowers old people
Storytelling through editing
Real sustainability solutions
|Vox Pox Project
|Mobile phone/video camera
|1 Sunday Morning
|1 month prep
2 months action
Importance of listening
Storytelling through editing
|Learning For Real
|3 x 30min
Languages Day event
|Truth Lies Podcasts
All See Through News projects follow the same underlying taxonomy, which means they should blend quite seamlessly.
Anyone is welcome to mix and match these free resources in any combination, but here are a few suggestions on how these resources might be deployed in different contexts.
Warmers (10-15 min warm-ups to get students engaged and focused)
Fillers (10-15 min class cool-downs when students are tired/distracted)
Single Lessons (45 min-2 hour contained lessons)
Morning/Afternoon Activities (in-depth, teams working in parallel)
Intensive Programme (1-2 entire days, or 1-3 hour activity spread over a week or two)
Outside classroom Events
Extensive Programme (2 months, or ongoing)
Age, Ability & Language Differentiation
We’re all wired up differently, and have different starting points for these projects.
- Age: Children of different ages require different teaching methods, sometimes different resources too
- Ability: People with experience, education and cognitive ability require different training from novices, the uneducated or poorly-educated, and people with learning difficulties.
- Language: Non-English-speakers need to be able to access these resources in their native languages
See Through News seeks to be as inclusive as a zero-budget operation can be. While it may not be practical, at least for now, to offer full differentiation for all aspects of diversity across all projects, we do our best to design flexibility into them all.
Experienced teachers and mentors are adept at adapting teaching resources to their particular students, and will need no advice. We try to support less experienced volunteers by offering in-person and online trainer training workshops, and online advice for people delivering education for the first time.
We also design flexibility into the projects themselves, for example:
- The Superhero & Supervillain Drawing Competition has specific integrated age-differentiated resources and lesson plans
- 1 Sunday Morning, 4 Films offers filmmaking training for both advanced and novice participants
- Languages Speech can be delivered in any language, and adapted for multilingual audiences.
- The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories podcasts require a more adult-level of vocabulary & English language proficiency, but can be adapted to suit different ages, abilities and languages.
Experienced teachers/mentors will immediately know how to adapt these resources to suit their students, and create their own extension activities using the STN resources as source material.
The project articles assume novices are delivering them, however. As well as providing step-by-step instructions for the projects themselves, we also offer support and resources for inexperienced trainers, such as:
All Fun, Friendly and Factful. And all free. If you find them useful, please share them widely.
Making and Distributing Content Online
The poorest third of the human population lack smartphones and online access, and suffer most directly from climate change. When you need to adapt to climate-induced flood, famine, fire or fleeing, the resources you need are food and shelter, not iPhones and broadband.
For the two-thirds of humans with online access, climate change is a less immediate, life-threatening challenge, and we have the luxury to try to exploit this amazing, almost-ubiquitous technology to reduce carbon as soon as possible.
Smartphone makers and social media platforms have reduced the technological barriers to making and distributing high quality content online to almost zero:
- Cheap phones can now produce better images than professional cameras did 10 years ago
- Post-production that used to require a million-dollar studio can now be done on a laptop
- Live interviews that used to require booking satellites can now be done on Zoom
This technological revolution has its pros and cons. The main pro is also the main con: anyone can now upload a video to the Internet.
The democratisation of content-making is good, but means we’re also drowning in an ocean of content, with an even higher content of pollutants and rubbish than our actual oceans.
These See Through News projects are designed to generate high quality, entertaining, engaging, shareable content, all with a serious purpose – Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active.
With 5Bn of us being able to access online content, that’s a target audience of 5Bn Inactive people ready to be made Active.
Plenty to be getting on with.