The Paper Volcanoes Laboratory (PVL), an experience-based program created within the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) Educational
Group, helps young children become familiar with natural hazards.
Paper Volcanoes Lab: A Way to Engage Early Childhood and Primary School Children on Earth Science: Report
Overall aims of the project
The Paper Volcanoes Laboratory (PVL) is an experience-based program enriched with pedagogical elements, created within the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) Educational Group, to help young children become familiar with natural hazards such as volcanic eruptions. The IUGG grant aims to enhance the educational experiences of (pre) primary school aged children in Africa by connecting them with an understanding of volcanoes and to their cultural significance.
1. To connect with teachers and volcanologists in African countries to share the experience and to create the Paper Volcanoes Toolkit for Africa.
2. To support early career geologists in Africa to deliver scientific results at national and international levels.
Most of East Africa’s volcanoes are currently dormant but they could erupt in the future. About 25% of Africa’s volcanoes had eruptions in the last 100 years. This highlights the need for communicating preparedness, resilience and response, and for the preparedness of young children, learning settings and communities. Kenya’s volcanism allowed the country to put in place a mature geothermal energy program utilising heat from volcanoes. Although the knowledge of volcanism of the region is limited to specialists, the rural communities and native culture hold in their history and stories the knowledge of volcanism.
The project employs a comparative case-study methodology to explore the implementation of the PVL in the chosen African settings and evaluate the benefits of the Paper Volcanoes Toolkit (PVT) which has been successful in diverse pre-schools in Italy and New Zealand, and to connect with local researchers and teachers in Kenya. On 6 April 2022 a preparatory pilot involved a cohort of four teacher students (Turkana University College) who studied and experimented with the PVT, and the results were presented at COV11. In September 2022 a more extended pilot consisting of four workshops involving stakeholders, teachers, and elders was run. The workshops were designed to enable teachers to learn, share ideas, connect with geoscience specialists and sociologists, and to find strategies to allow children to be active learners. Starting from a volcanic rock from Turkana we connected with traditional stories told by the elders while the hands-on experience of the PVLT helped them to learn different ways to communicate information about volcanoes to children.
Alternative materials to be used by teachers in rural schools, where getting paper may be challenging, were explored as well. Foundations were set to create a Paper Volcanoes Laboratory Toolkit linked to local tradition, to create a new way to comprehend volcanoes and maintain unity with Turkana cultural identity and their views of science and the Kenyan curriculum.
Who is involved
The team is multidisciplinary and included Dr. Stefania Amici (PI), from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, a researcher specialised in natural hazards communication to children; Professor Marek Tesar (CO-I) Head of School of Learning Development and Professional Practice, and the Associate Dean International at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland; Professor John Ng’asike (CO-I) Kenyatta University in the Department of Early Childhood Studies; Anny Bertoli (CO-I) a PhD candidate in learning development at University of Auckland; Simon Eleman and Peter Emase, early career geologists from University of Nairobi; Roberto Sulpizio (Lead Applicant ) – IAVCEI Secretary-General.
Interested in teaching and learning volcanology in Africa?
We will present the results of the project and the next steps at IUGG2023 in Berlin. Feel free to get in contact with email@example.com. The project was supported through the IUGG Grants Program.
This post was culled from a recent IUGG newsletter.