Stars and STEM Stories
GLOBE Malta Students “Rise to a Green Challenge”
In 2021, The GLOBE Program Malta and Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC), Victoria Gozo, joined forces to promote science and environment education through the GLOBE EDIC STEAM Challenge. A total of seven primary, five state, and two church schools registered for the challenge, which involved 600 students and 50 educators.
In this hands-on science investigation, GLOBE students planted seeds, observed the conditions of the environment that promote seed germination, measured and recorded plant growth, and interpreted data collected. The challenge was launched in November and concluded on Earth Day 2021; it was open exclusively to schools in Gozo, Malta.
GLOBE Deputy Country Coordinator for Malta, Ramona Mercieca said that students, through this effort, were able to “rise to a green challenge.” She said, “Planting seeds and watching them grow is one of the most rewarding STEAM activities.”
“Participating schools were provided with seeds of indigenous trees, compost soil, and activity sheet together with data sheet to record plant growth,” Mercieca said. “The Grow 10 Trees Project has provided seeds of seven indigenous plants/shrubs/trees: Carob, Almond, Aleppo Pine, Judas, Stinking Bean Trefoil, Caper bush, and Great sage.”
“On 15 January, Arbor Day, a live Question-and-Answer session was held online. Stephen Mifsud, botanist at Eco-Gozo within the Ministry for Gozo, gave a detailed insight on the scientific aspect of trees. He focused on the features and specialties of trees, the types of trees according to their origin, and highlighted the importance of safeguarding the local indigenous trees. Adrian Gatt, founder of The Grow 10 Trees Project, explained the methods involved in growing and nurturing local trees with an emphasis on how and when to collect and sow seeds and watering frequency for a successful growth rate.”
“The challenge was concluded on Earth Day, 22 April, with a virtual event. GLOBE Malta and EDIC Gozo celebrated the achievement made by the seven schools participating in the GLOBE EDIC STEAM Challenge. Dr. Denise Mifsud (Gozo College Principal), Bara Semerakova (GLOBE Europe and Eurasian Regional Coordination Office), Ryan Janda (U.S. Embassy Valletta), and Dr. Elena Grech (Head of the European Commission Representation on Malta), were impressed by the dedication, commitment, and enthusiasm shown by all GLOBE students and teachers. They congratulated and thanked them for instilling hope for a better, greener tomorrow. All seven schools were given a tree to be planted in the school garden for successfully completing the challenge and to commemorate Earth Day 2021.”
“The GLOBE EDIC STEAM Challenge is one of several STEM initiatives taking place in schools through The GLOBE Program. The restrictions posed by the pandemic did not stop GLOBE schools across Malta and Gozo from carrying out data collection and scientific investigations,” Mercieca said. “This year, three schools, including a primary school, submitted their research reports for the GLOBE International Virtual Science Symposium, all of which received international recognition.”
“Through GLOBE, there is an increased interest in science not only amongst school-age children, especially girls, but also in adults through citizen science initiatives. This scientific discovery is also being linked to a better understanding of the earth system and global environmental phenomena.”
This Star Story was submitted by GLOBE Deputy Country Coordinator of Malta, Ramona Mercieca.