A practical example
Launching your own SciencePowerLab is relatively easy. The ingredients: Short films to motivate young people to apply with a video or text, a kick-off workshop where the group develops their themes and teams; a group manager who is just facilitating the group, a protected framework with regular meetings and as additional resources: smartphone, microphone, tools (apps) for cooperative filmmaking, access to the web. It is important to have mentors who accompany the project, as well as a consistent support from the management of a school or institution to create a worthy framework for the presentation of the results of the young researchers.
At a large comprehensive school in Hamburg, a film about the environment and the climate was shown in the classes 5-7 (10-14 years) in autumn 2016. Many people applied for a Youth4planet workshop with a text or video. 25 children took part in a start-up workshop and were looking for a special topic: plastic. They met once a week, formed teams, swarmed out with their mobiles into the community, investigated the role of plastic in shops, in school, in their own lives, made interviews with professionals and people on the street. They learned to develop stories with a solution using the logical narrative model AND-BUT-THEREFORE. They showed each other their videos and decided to start a “plastic-free” campaign at their school:
In a short film, a team tells how plastic is found in a fish, another team demonstrates plastic fibres in clothing with a plastic bag fashion show, while others write a „plastic“ rap song and create a music video together. In order to offer practical solutions, they convince their school director to finance 1000 organic cotton bags, which they sell with their “Hotspot” design at the school.
To start their self-organized final presentation in front of 400 children and teachers, they are launching a plastic waste collection in the district. They show their videos, present a plastic arts competition and a plastic fashion show, invite the German KiKa kids tv channel to report on their action in their program “Earth to the Future”, and finally convince their teachers, to expand the youth4planet activities in the next school year to the elementary school and the middle school too.
Their next goal is already fixed: less plastic in school bags, e.g. by selling water bottles made of metal. Of course with their own design. And they want to send a team to the next climate conference in Bonn.