Abu Dhabi, UAE: Aspiring Emirati architect Ali Al Khoori, 16, was directed to undertake a dream task in Sunday by designing and building a model of a sustainable family home.
Ali and his classmates designed a silver, three-story home with solar panels, a rooftop garden and a rainwater retention pond.
“The electricity will be absorbed from the sunlight rather than using the government, and we’re going to collect water from rainfall and use it for planting and even going to plant our own fruits and vegetables on the roof,” said Ail of the group’s digital concept.
Ali was one of 16 pupils at Al Bateen Secondary School who volunteered to take part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week In Schools programme.
Mubadala launched the initiative in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council to coincide with the biggest environment, renewable energy, technology and innovation event in the region.
“Our objective was to really allow students to participate in this huge event in Abu Dhabi because usually sustainability week is very much for the leaders of energy and businesses that have any relevance in renewable energy, investors, world leaders,” said Nadine Hassan, Mubadala’s head of social development and partnerships. “As we all know, our future generations are the ones who are going to lead this economy, who are going to grow this country. So who better to target and speak to and engage than youth?”
Thirty schools, including 15 public and 15 private, signed up to take part in the programme’s week-long activities targeting students from Grade 2 and above.
“We developed the week with a lot of different activities, competitions and we supplied the schools with infographic boards and schoolyard games,” said Ms Hassan, noting teachers and students were also given workbooks with tips and guidelines for completing the school projects.
Pupils are also challenged to compete in two competitions: the Junior Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, in which they build and race small wooden solar-powered race cars powered and A Sustainable Model Home.
“It’s a really interesting project,” said Marianne Starkie, head of design and technology at Aldar Secondary School. “It’s obviously the most important thing for the students to understand the importance of sustainability. It’s helping to bring in the idea that it’s their future, not somebody else’s problem to fix and that’s really important.”
The pupils who design the best sustainable model home from each school will get a chance to attend the Masdar Festival on Saturday to show off their creation and compete against other schools for prizes.
In the Junior Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, one qualifying team from each school will get to race a 25-metre track at the festival for a chance to win prizes.
“I’m looking forward to the race,” said Raya Al Hajeri, 10, a Grade 5 pupil at Al Mushrif Primary School.
David Hutson, principal at Al Bateen Secondary School, said the week-long initiative helped focus pupils’ attention on conservation and sustainability, but that his goal was to integrate the topic in school all year long.
“We want our students to be global citizens that appreciate the world around them and within that is the whole sustainability topic about making sure that they don’t exhaust the resources on their planet,” said Mr Hutson.
“As a school we’re mindful that you can’t do that in one week and you shouldn’t limit it to one week in the year, so we make sure that when we’re planning our curriculum and our lessons, that when there is the opportunity to talk about the sustainability, the environment, what our students can do to make a positive difference with these sort of global challenges, that they have an awareness and they can do something about it.”
© The National
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