This EU‐funded project establishes partnerships between schools and their communities (families, science educators, citizens, businesses, etc.) to work jointly on environmental school‐community projects.
The aim of these school-community projects is for students and citizens to work together scientifically on the topics waste (2021) and energy (2022) to develop locally feasible solution approaches. The acquired knowledge will then be shared with the community. The problems to be investigated or questions to be tackled are authentic questions relevant to the school and the local community.
An example: A Year 8 class joins forces with the owner of a local store, an employee in waste management, an environmental consultant and a journalist to investigate how to reduce waste in private households of their town. After a shared brainstorming exercise small groups start working on different tasks: One group would, for example, analyse the residents’ needs and obtain information on their shopping behaviour. Another group would collect the house waste over a set period and compare their measurements with the amount of waste produced when shopping with a conscious mindset over the same time period. The result will be extrapolated to the entire town. As a final step, the students will create a list of instructions on how to minimize waste in their town, as well as the possible impact of such a measure. The results are then prepared for an exhibition in the school and elsewhere, where the local press will report.
By participating in this project with all their knowledge and abilities, participants not only learn about themselves and others, but also broaden their scientific knowledge and transversal skills (teamwork, strategic and innovative thinking, time management etc.). The aim is to increase interest in natural sciences and scientific work.
To achieve this goal, 23 partners from 10 European countries form the MOST consortium. The consortium helps schools to initiate “Open Schooling” projects on waste management and energy consumption on a local level, and provides support in finding suitable partners in the area and accompanying the projects with educational and scientific materials. In Malta the MOST project partners are the University of Malta and Wasteserv Malta.
The project is active on three levels: In all 10 countries, regional “Open School” projects are initiated. These are linked through regional MOST fairs, where experiences and examples of successful “Open Schooling” are shared. An “Open Schooling” network will be formed on a European level, which will disseminate the idea to a broader public and enable schools and participants to access and utilise it in the future.
The core of the project is the integration of diverse participants: science and research, formal and non‐formal educational institutions, politics, economy and society – on a local level by cooperating within “Open Schooling” projects.
The UM members of staff participating in the project are: