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Enhancing physical geography schools outreach: Insights from co-production and storytelling narratives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Kathryn Adamson, Timothy Lane, Kris De Meyer, Matthew Carney, Leonora Oppenheim, Sina Panitz, Hannah Price, Emma Smith, Gregory Watson

Original languageEnglish
JournalPROGRESS IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY
DOIs
Accepted/In press2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Natural Environmental Research Council grant (Public Engagement Pilot 2016_077). Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors

Abstract

Global environmental change is one of the most pressing issues facing future generations. Equipping schoolchildren with a clear understanding of physical geography is therefore a key educational priority. Effectively engaging schoolchildren with complex scientific ideas can be challenging, but with the appropriate tools, scientists can play a valuable role in developing meaningful science communication experiences. Climate Explorers addressed these issues by forging a collaboration between physical geography and social science academics, and 320 UK school students and their teachers in seven primary (elementary) schools. Using insights from co-production techniques and storytelling, the project aimed to 1) produce new open access, online climate science education resources, and 2) test co-production and storytelling approaches to physical geography science engagement. Our findings demonstrated that school children responded especially well to working with ‘real life’ scientists, where meaningful and memorable educational interactions were forged through the use of narratives, personal experiences and tailored language. Here we summarise our approach, and provide templates that can be readily applied by scientists working across the physical geography spectrum anywhere in the world. The flexibility of the templates means that they can be adapted and developed for a range of formats, from small-scale community workshops to national-scale educational initiatives, for delivery both in-person or online. We hope that our approach will provide a springboard to transform and enhance physical geography science communication more broadly.

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