Getting children to think about the environment

Corgo School, in Vila Real, and Ribeiras Primary School, in Matosinhos, have even more reason to celebrate this year's World Energy Day. Their school projects have been awarded the Future Up 2020 prize, promoted by the Galp Foundation

It's a really strange building, with no roof and almost nothing but its ecological ambitions. Its walls – which are actually wooden pallets – have already been raised in the playground at Corgo School, in Vila Real, and other recycled and reused materials will gradually be used to create it. The pandemic caused by the covid-19 virus has brought the work to a halt, but has not discouraged those involved. Students, teachers, parents and staff are eagerly awaiting September to continue their work and to create, with the countless improvements made possible by the Future Up award, what is due to become the scene of plenty of fun and games and eco-friendly learning.

The sun, rainwater and wind will be the main sources of energy. The roof will be made of a transparent material to take full advantage of the sunlight and to provide a view of the sky, birds and butterflies. There will also be a solar cooker. The rainwater collector is designed with an upside-down plastic bottle from which the water will flow to be used for washing and watering the vegetable garden and the aromatic herb patch, which will all be part of a mini-farmyard that will include a chicken pen. In part, says the teacher and project coordinator, Dulcídia Teixeira da Cruz, “because a lot of boys still don't know where eggs come from”.

The eco-friendly institution, the coordinator explains, “featuring everything you can possibly imagine, is for the use of both pre-school and primary school children; it's intended for everyone, we're a family”. And she concludes: “This type of project work is an essential part of these children´s meaningful learning process, enabling them to acquire new skills”. Or in other words, tools for life.


A project is underway in Matosinhos, more specifically at Ribeiras Primary School, geared to studying, researching and raising awareness on marine life, the seas and oceans to help children understand the need for marine conservation from an early age. It's called the Study the Oceans Atelier and is inspired by the work “Mar: Atividiário”, based on which the research into the geography and features of the oceans and seas on planet Earth and its different ecosystems will be conducted.

The project is in the start-up phase and was due to enter the practical phase in the third term to make the most of the good weather, however due to the restrictions arising from the new coronavirus pandemic, it will be continued in the coming academic year. It includes scientific trips to the beach and research activities in connection with the History of Portugal, with a class of year-3 students assuming the role of explorers. The idea is to include the children´s families too, and, as Emília Bento, the teacher and driving force behind the project, says, “to create a logbook together as in Portugal's Age of Discoveries about a certain sea or ocean and share the findings with the school community”.

Now that they've been awarded the prize, the group intends to visit the Natural History Museum and acquire a set of special microscopes that, according to the teacher, will enable them “to carry out a detailed in situ study of different aspects of marine life and to conduct research from there”.

These two projects were the winners of the 2020 edition of the Future Up awards, created by the Galp Foundation, in the category of projects developed by students in primary education. This award carries the slogan “The future is in your energy”, and aims to promote a change in behaviour through education and knowledge, exploring and addressing topics such as energy transition, green energies and sustainable mobility together with the school community.