Student teachers guide their pupils to make circular economy inventions

Ended project: 10/2017 – 9/2019

The Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki developed a circular economy course for teacher students and openly available educational materials on the circular economy.

What was it about?

The project was part of the Circular economy teaching for all levels of education package implemented between 2017 and 2019. Sitra’s vision was that all graduates should understand what the circular economy means from the point of view of their work and day-to-day life, and what decisions and actions they can take to promote the circular economy. The aim was to increase expertise in the circular economy in Finland by extensively developing circular economy training, materials, concepts and co-operation from different points of view for all levels of education. More than 50 educational institutions, organisations and businesses took part in the package.

What was achieved?

The Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki developed the Inventions for Circular Economy in the Classroom course (five credits) (in Finnish) for teacher students. The course made use of invention pedagogy as part of teaching about the circular economy. As part of the course and development of educational materials, diverse teaching experiments were carried out with students and teachers at the Viikki Teacher Training School.

Educational materials on the circular economy were developed to support the course, and they are available for anyone to use openly. The materials were primarily prepared for the teacher training study unit, but they are also suitable for supplementary training of teachers. The educational materials are multidisciplinary, and they are well suited for use as a theme for multidisciplinary study units pursuant to comprehensive education syllabuses and also as themes for upper secondary school courses.

A total of 11 teachers, 20 teacher students and 300 pupils took part in piloting the course, the actual course and conducting the teaching experiments associated with preparing the educational materials. The course will be kept as part of the studies for a master’s degree in educational sciences.

Who was involved?

Sitra funded the project, and the people responsible for the project at Sitra were Riitta Silvennoinen and Nani Pajunen. The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Education carried out the Circular Economy Inventions in Schools project. Numerous teachers from the faculty, as well as teachers who work in schools, took part in the planning and implementation of the course.


Nani Pajunen
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions

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