Objectives of the project

The following translation is graciously provided by ISTIC.

"When the Earth rumbles" is intended primarily for cycle 3 classes of primary school (pupils aged 8 to 11). But this can easily be adapted to younger or older children.Its goal is to make it accessible to all teachers, beginners or experienced, a coherent educational program on natural hazards and thus enable a wide dissemination of this theme in schools.

Do not oppose local and global, action and knowledge

Risk education has two components which should be distinguished, even if they are complementary:

  • The operational component
    This component includes the safety of school buildings, the particular security Implementation Plan (PPMS), learning the actions and the exercises/simulations which save. The operational component is historically the first to have entered the school. Resulting from the methodologies developed by civil engineering and safety/civil protection, this know-how is mastered well and the results are directly related to the time invested and to the amount of finances available.
  • The cultural component
    We are in the field of school education. The objectives are to train future citizens to live with risks in the most responsible way possible, and to give pupils and staff of the school a risk culture which will lead them to adhere to the constraints of the operational component of prevention.
    This cultural component appeared in the schools later. Whereas education to sustainable development (ESD) has made a noted entry into the school world, these last few years, (climate change, saving of water or energy, protecting biodiversity, waste sorting… are topics which schools took on), the prevention of risks is not or very little represented there. However, education on the prevention of the risks is an essential component of the ESD, as shown in the conclusions of the UNESCO world Conference on the ESD (Bonn 2009), as well as the roadmap of UNESCO for the five years to come.

Within the framework of this project we propose adopting an educational approach inspired by the reflection and the working methods of the ESD, such as were developed in preceding projects of "La main à la pâte" (see bibliography):

  • multidisciplinary
    A comprehensive understanding of the prevention of risks requires both the study of the hazard(Earth sciences) and the study of the stakes (geography or civic education), but also an analysisof the vulnerability (social or economic approach). For that, it is essential to cross the subjects.Risk education is thus at the crossroads of science education (in particular, but not only, environmental),  geography, civic education, education to domestic safety, etc.
  • “understand in order to act”
    It is of no use to oppose theory and practice, knowledge and action, as they are so inseparable.The theory is important in that it allows children to understand the nature of the phenomena concerned, the effects of such or such parameter, why is such or such situation more risky. This understanding then enables them to determine, by themselves (but guided by the teacher, who also validates the results obtained), actions to be performed. These actions, as long as they are the result of reflection, of questioning, of contrasting… are better remembered, and integrated in their behavior, in contrast to when they are simply instructions transmitted by an authority (the teacher, the mayor, the book, etc).
  • Global AND local approach
    The ESD can lead to studies of global phenomena, which help pupils to understand great social stakes, but it must also make sense in their immediate environment. Pupils can then reinvest their knowledge on phenomena in situ, and assess the effects of actions which they can implement. In the context of risk education, this corresponds to the work on local risk, to which pupils will bring elements of prevention, in particular for the dissemination of awareness of the risk within the community.
    In the project “When the Earth Rumbles”, we voluntarily propose various complementary approaches: global/local, centered on the knowledge/centered on the lived experience. Through the various sessions, we invite knowledge and competences resulting from sciences and technology, but also from history, geography, mathematics, ICT, or, in a more cross-curricular way, from the mastery of language and civics education.

Science and technology, which constitute the backbone of the project, are developed in conformity with the principles of "La main à la pâte". In this context the pedagogy of investigation is well established and has been presented in detail in the continuation of this teaching insight.
For the other subjects referred to above, certain elements of this pedagogy remain valid (for example, the emphasis on questioning). In these subjects, the concept of evidence does not necessarily have the same meaning as in science. We did not seek to adopt a uniform approach throughout the project, an approach which would blur disciplinary specificities. On the contrary, we sought to respect this diversity. This is the reason why we specify, in each session, which the dominant subject is. Sometimes, some abuses of language remain, such as the use of the expression “book of experiments”, which takes all its meaning in science but that we kept, for convenience, for the other subjects.

Raising awareness and training of teachers

The Foundation La main à la pâte also accompanies schools, districts and communities through awareness raising and training session (educational events, professionnal development, conferences ...).

Socios del proyecto

Fundación La main à la pâte