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Published June 2, 2019

Circular economy teaching materials for primary school, upper secondary school and vocational school

Are you looking for more effective tools for teaching about the circular economy in primary school, upper secondary school or vocational school? Here are some teaching materials that are appropriate for many different subjects.

Circular economy is a skill for the future that all of us need in everyday life and at work. We need circular economy skills to tackle climate change, to stop the waste of natural resources and to defend natural diversity.

The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and more than 50 Finnish educational institutions, teaching organisations and companies have planned and piloted circular economy teaching materials and educational packages for primary school, upper secondary school, vocational school and higher education. Most of the material was produced in Finnish, but English can also be found in some sets of material. We brought them together: grab the best for your lessons!

Start here

Do you want an easy and inspiring start for a circular economy lesson? A Lifestyle test allows students to calculate their personal carbon footprints and get tips from among 100 Smart ways to live sustainably tailored for a more sustainable everyday life.

For primary school

In primary school (ages 7-12) you can use practical means to teach different ways to act smart in everyday life. Through homework you can also encourage parents to join in and study things such as energy options for the home or different options for hobbies.

Teaching materials:

  • Circular ClassroomA site maintained by Walk for which teachers and students have worked together to develop videos, exercise books, exercises to be done together in class and homework assignments for teaching about a circular economy. There is also a support module which offers teachers additional material for teaching the circular economy. Suitable for the upper primary grades.
  • Adventure game My2050In the game by Visia Cooperative and partners, players spend an hour having adventures in a real urban environment, while learning about a future affected by climate change. The game is suitable for children in sixth grade and above and it can be played in Helsinki and Espoo.
  • Yrityskylä Primary School*: is a learning package about the circular economy and the world of work aimed at 6th graders, which includes teacher training, ten lessons and a visit to the Yrityskylä learning environment.
TIP

Smart activities for everyday life at school

In addition to actual lessons, circular economy skills can be practised as part of other daily routines in school. In the school cafeteria, for instance, it is possible to teach how to minimise food waste, or you can set up a place where pupils can borrow recreational equipment.

For upper comprehensive school

In upper comprehensive school (ages 13-16) you can teach about the circular economy as a broad phenomenon which spurs sustainable development while offering solutions for tackling climate change.  A young person considering a future profession can also be reminded that in nearly all professions it is possible to affect climate change through circular economy skills, whether someone plans to grow up to be a lawyer, a YouTube video producer or a merchant.

Teaching materials:

  • Circular ClassroomA site maintained by Walk for which teachers and students have worked together to develop videos, exercise books, exercises to be done together in class and homework assignments for teaching about a circular economy. There is also a support module which offers teachers additional material for teaching the circular economy. Suitable for the upper primary grades.
  • Adventure game My2050In the game by Visia Cooperative and partners, players spend an hour having adventures in a real urban environment, while learning about a future affected by climate change. The game is suitable for children in sixth grade and above and it can be played in Helsinki and Espoo.
  • Kiertotalousnetti*: The Finnish Nature League has developed a number of tasks, tests and games involving the circular economy, which are applicable to teaching pupils at the secondary school level. You can also book a Nature League school visitor to teach a lesson about the circular economy or to take part with the class in the Nature League’s Circular Economy competition, in which participants design a future circular economy city in their own style, by drawing, writing or possibly producing a video. Kiertotalousnetti Is available primarily in Finnish, but some exercises (Circular economy town and What is being asked?) can also be found in English.
  • Yrityskylä Seconary School*: A learning package aimed at pupils in the ninth grade on circular economy and the world of work, comprising teacher training, ten lessons, as well as a visit to the Yrityskylä learning environment. Part of the Sitra circular economy teaching package. Available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

For upper secondary and vocational school

In upper secondary and vocational school (ages 16-19), you can teach the circular economy as an extensive phenomenon and bring out other phenomena that are connected with it. In vocational school you can teach circular economy solutions and tools linked with a specific profession, which already exist and which still need to be developed.

Teaching materials:

  • Circular ClassroomA site maintained by Walk for which teachers and students have worked together to develop videos, exercise books, exercises to be done together in class and homework assignments for teaching about a circular economy. There is also a support module which offers teachers additional material for teaching the circular economy. Suitable for the upper primary grades.
  • Adventure game My2050In the game by Visia Cooperative and partners, players spend an hour having adventures in a real urban environment, while learning about a future affected by climate change. The game is suitable for children in sixth grade and above and it can be played in Helsinki and Espoo.
  • TAT business courses*: With the help of four online courses developed by TAT young people learn about the circular economy, commercial know-how and future skills needed at work to help them succeed on the global job market. Available in Finnish and English.

*The content was developed with support from Sitra as part of the circular economy teaching package.

PSST

Many other skills will also be needed in the future

Utilise tools in your teaching that teach durability and future thinking.

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