Stars and STEM Stories
Primary School in Malta Begins “Whole-School” Journey with The GLOBE Program
In October 2019, the Gozo College Xewkija Primary School (Gozo, Malta) registered with The GLOBE Program for the first time. From November 2019 through February 2020, the students at the school began their “whole-school” journey with GLOBE.
GLOBE Deputy Country Coordinator of Malta, Ramona Mercieca, introduced the program – and provided training – to Josephine Farrugia, who now coordinates GLOBE activities at the school. “What she managed to do is simply amazing,” Mercieca said. “Josephine managed to get every student, from Kinder level up to Year 6, on board.”
“This is the first year participating in The GLOBE Program,” Farrugia said. “We got to know about the program through the Deputy Coordinator, Ramona Mercieca. She explained the various opportunities offered and how our students can be engaged in the scientific discovery.“
“It all started with cloud observations and gradually we got familiar with the GLOBE Observer App, and started uploading our own observations on GLOBE’s database. We set up a GLOBE team at school, and the students got so involved and were so fascinated to see their data compared with the readings by the overpassing satellites, that we thought of going big. After some planning and coordination we decided to get every student on board, by adopting a whole-school approach. The GLOBE Cloud Observations took a different dimension and now it became a project – ‘Let's Get Global .... on Cloud 9.'
The whole-school journey of learning globe included students from Kinder 1 through Year 6. “In the Kinder 1 class, the students use the Emergent Curriculum, and they were learning about rain,” Farrugia explained. “From this topic, they were introduced to some new words about the water cycle. The students observed the weather together with the teacher and reported their observations on a chart. Moreover, the students did drawings related to clouds and rain.”
“In Kinder 2,” Farrugia continued, “the children had a lesson about the number ten and learned the value using 10 droplets. Moreover, the teacher put white foam on the table and the children made several 3D shapes of different clouds. When the foam was flat they wrote numbers, letters, and different shapes. In Maltese we use the word ‘xita’ for rain, so the students also learned about the letter ‘X.’”
“For Grade 1,” Farrugia said, “every morning the teacher and students went outside to the school grounds to observe the sky, and report the weather and cloud cover. Back in the classroom, the students reported their observations on their class calendar.”
“This was not all!! The teacher made a detailed explanation about cloud formation with the help of a video clip and an experiment using a kettle and boiling water. The explanation was complimented with the poem ‘We See’. The teacher read the poem, and afterwards the students went out in the yard to observe different shapes of clouds. The students were encouraged to write their own poem. The teacher used the ‘stepping approach’ in order to explain the poem better by doing movements according to the cloud description.”
“For Grade 2,” Farrugia said, “during a Maltese storytelling session, the teacher used the book ‘Is-Shaba l-Imqarba f’Lejliet il-Milied’ (The Naughty Cloud on Christmas Eve). After explaining the story and shared reading was done, the students looked for phrases that described the clouds and wrote these phrases on cards with the shape of a cloud. They then put white cotton and also wrote their names on the clouds. These wer put on the class’s noticeboard.”
“During a math lesson, the teacher used clouds to explain how to do bar graphs. The students were introduced to the types of clouds using the GLOBE Clouds Chart, and then they were given an explanation about each cloud. They had to choose their favourite cloud type, recreate it using cotton wool, and then present their work on bar graph to show the class preferences.“
“For Grade 3, the English lesson started with an introductory video about the different type of clouds and a new vocabulary was introduced. Then the teacher read the book ‘Little Cloud’ by Eric Carle. The students answered a comprehension text and sang a poem about clouds. They were given a ‘Cloud book’ and they had to fill in the required information about how clouds are described according to height from ground level.”
“For Grade 4, the students were given a detailed explanation of the water cycle, through the storybook ‘The Drop Goes Plop’. They learned how clouds are important in producing rain.”
“In Grade 5, the students were responsible for uploading cloud observation on a daily basis using the GLOBE Observer App.”
“And in Grade 6,” during an English lesson, the students saw a video about the types of clouds. As a follow-up, they had a comprehension about clouds. Together with their teacher, they prepared a chart about the different types of clouds and what the clouds name actually mean.” Farrugia said.
“To reach the community, information about clouds was put up on the school noticeboard for parents and guardians to read. Moreover, all activities were shared on the school Facebook page to reach out to the wider community.”
Mercieca and Farrugia said this whole-school effort was important because it provided a unique learning experience for all students and teachers. “The students were exposed to different learning methods and started to observe the natural environment,” Farrugia said.
“This effort is a perfect example of how GLOBE can be integrated in all subjects with students of all ages. I can be used as a Case Study to promote The GLOBE Program in schools. It was a huge success and received positive feedback from all those involved.”
This Star Story was submitted by GLOBE Deputy Country Coordinator of Malta, Ramona Mercieca, and Josephine Farrugia, who now coordinates GLOBE activities at Gozo College Xewkija Primary School (Gozo, Malta).