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    Japanese children little have interest in the content they learn in mathematics and do not think about how they can apply the math they learn to their daily lives.  This reality is probably due to school mathematics being so detached from the children and the society.  The lesson described in this case used the subject of mathematics to address a wish at the root of ESD: to enable children to live better in society in the future and to make society better in the future.


An “ESD” Way of Learning Statistics
    Mathematics education at the school focuses on making use of data—in other words, learning “statistics.”  For children who carry the burden of achieving a sustainable society, indispensable skills include not only making charts and graphs and understanding basic statistical terminology and concepts, but practical skills in gathering, organising, analysing, and evaluating data from a critical perspective, and making judgments.
    Therefore, in the “sample survey” (Ninth grade) lesson, students were asked to conduct a survey on the theme of environment and consumption.  Students developed a hypothesis based on the theme, created and implemented a survey to test the hypothesis, conducted analysis and summarised results, and presented the results to the seventh-graders.  The lesson was designed as project-based learning consisting of a sequence of steps.
    The multiple-choice questions created by each group were answered by the others and results totaled.  Thus, it became a general survey of all 147 third-graders.  The overall results were then used to enable students to learn about methods of survey sampling.  Concretely, this consisted of:
Entering the responses of each student into the spreadsheet software
On an analysis sheet prepared by the teacher, looking at the survey results
Using random numbers to pick out several groups of data and comparing the results of this data sample with the overall results
The mathematical goal of the sample survey is in the third step.  In other words, through this activity, the aim is to have students understand the meaning and effectiveness of sample surveys.  However, the meaning from an ESD perspective is even deeper.

Can We Really Trust the Data?
    Concerning their study of statistics, students wrote the following reflections:
    “I often see statistics in my daily life and use them as a reference.  However, I never tried to think about how those statistics were created or about the original group on which the data sample was based--in other words, whether the statistics could be trusted.  Through the statistics lessons, I learned that thinking about this is important and that one shouldn’t straight-forwardly accept the results presented.”
    Among the students were ones who were able to make the connection between the math they had learned and society and their daily lives.


1) Enter the data into the spreadsheet;


2) Display of survey results;


3) Sampling using a chart of random numbers


Learning ESD Through Statistics
    Let’s look closely at two groups in one class.

Group 5: “Fair Trade and World Poverty”
Hypothesis:
People who know about fair trade are also concerned about the problem of poverty.  People who are concerned about the problem of poverty are taking action to solve the problem of poverty.
Questions:
Do you know what fair trade is?
What do you think about buying products at a fair price to support producers in developing countries?
What do you think about buying products that contribute to environmental preservation at a fair price?
If both products were the same, would you choose to buy a socially responsible consumption (SRC) product or the comparable product at a lower price?
*SRC (Socially Responsible Consumption): Consumption activities that include concern for human rights and the environment and that contribute to the development of a sustainable society.


Group 5's Presentation materials

Group 6: “Let’s All Think About ESD”
Hypothesis:
People with an “eco-consciousness” take care of the things they use in their daily lives.
Questions:
What do you do when your pen runs out of ink?
Do you use your erasers as much as possible?
Do you use your pencil case carefully?
Do you fully use your notebooks?


Group 6's presentation materials



Background of Establishing Hypotheses
    The value of the hypotheses that students developed increases when one knows the background behind establishing these lessons.  For three years, the Junior High School Attached to Nara University of Education had been engaged in a whole-school approach to involvement with ESD (Please refer to page 81).  The environment enabled students to think regularly about sustainable development—in their school subjects, the integrated studies period, school events, and further in voluntary activities that took place outside of regular school hours.  For example, school-wide activities focused on poverty in Africa and Socially Responsible Consumption, things like eco-marks* (a mark placed on products recognized as helpful for environmental conservation) and e-marks* (a mark placed on products that make use of a communities local natural resources) were studied in home economics, and on the school trips students had direct interaction with people taking risks to protect living things in the coral and tidal flats.  Students had the kinds of experiences that would shake their values of what happiness means.  These surveys were created in December in the third year after this kind of study and school life had developed.
    The background to the creation of the hypotheses also included reflections of the teachers.  In the prior year, the math department’s effort “Gathering and Exploring Statistical Materials” involved students in gathering and organising data on themes related to the environment, summarising the data in graphs, and presenting the findings.  As a result of the process, teachers recognised that even if students were able to think about global environmental problems, students had only limited answers when it came to how to address the problems.  The students said things like “Let’s not emit carbon dioxide,” “Let’s take care of the environment,” or “Let’s be careful to switch off the lights.”  Students understood these as slogans but it seemed difficult to see changes in children’s own lives.  In selecting the theme of environment and consumption this time, the teachers made use of the lessons learned and considered whether students could be led to think about environmental issues in the context of their daily lives.  As a result, the decision made was to have students consider regular consumption activities.
    Both of the groups cited above were thinking in connection with their own consumption activities.  Behind the hypothesis of Group 6 was the fact that students have the opportunity to obtain eco-products and eco-bags, but that there seems to be inconsistency in their own actions from the standpoint of restructuring their own lives.  This doubt is hidden in the questions.

School field trip to Okinawa: Listening to a Talk
about Protecting the Awase Tidal Flats


Environment and Poverty Were Connected
 
   There was a student who wrote this kind of reflection about her learning: “When I created a survey, I think I was able to learn that one can approach the same issue from a variety of perspectives.  While creating the survey, I felt that the environment and poverty were connected even more strongly, and I think it also became an opportunity to deepen my thinking.”
    Together with knowing that it is possible to approach environmental issues from diverse perspectives, students were able to feel the connection between environmental issues and world poverty and world poverty and our actions as consumers.
    In this way, many students started feeling the connection between themselves and a sustainable future.  Because this was a result that was achieved through a three-year process of feeling one’s way forward, it held great significance for both students and teachers.  One can say that this was one big step forward towards the true meaning of “Think Globally, Act Locally.”


 
Communicate, Connect
 
   The climax of this practice was the students’ presentation of their survey results to the seventh-graders.  At the school, the math department had long engaged in the practice of having the ninth graders talk about what they learned to the seventh-graders prior to graduation.  By recognizing the difference between their understanding and their aims in comparison with the seventh-graders, the ninth-graders become aware of their own growth.  In contrast, for the seventh-graders, this is an opportunity to know and feel the reality of what they are going to learn.  They will not repeat the same thing as the older students; they will receive the baton from the older students and engage in activities that develop the ideas further.  The math teachers believe that the next step will be to develop activities that don’t stop with the school but involve an approach to the local community.

Scene of presentation




To have students develop a hypothesis based on the theme; create a survey to test the validity of the hypothesis; learn methods of processing, graphing, and analysing the data; and, through group work, develop an attitude in which they strive to make use of the data
To enable students to use charts and graphs of the survey results to determine trends and special characteristics of the survey population, and to present the results accurately
To enable students to judged data accurately through evaluating such things as the trustworthiness of the statistical data and the consistency of the logic in deducing special characteristics and trends

■Unit: Sample Survey (Ninth grade)(Unit Study Plan: 13 hours)
 Step  LearningContent  Hours
1  Survey on “Environment and Consumption”
Develop hypothesis on “Environment and Consumption” (Each group made up of 4-5 boys and girls)
Create a survey to test the validity of the hypothesis (Each small group creates four questions with four possible answers
1

1
 Implementation of Survey(Entire Third Grade Class)
Input survey results
Analysis of survey and organisation of results
(Create graph in spreadsheet software, summarise in presentation softwar
1
1
5

2  Presentation Event (Joint lesson between ninth-graders and seventh-graders)
Presentation of survey results and considerations to seventh-graders
Reflection on efforts


1
1
3  Sample Survey
Comparison of sample survey and complete survey
(Analysis of the survey by selecting data based on random numbers and comparing that with the complete survey)
2




Attached Junior High School of Nara University of Education
(Ninth grade) ESD Calendar 2008-09 School Year PDF