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About "Energy is our Future"


Since 2006, the Energy is our Future school programme has made a substantial contribution to enhancing and supporting energy education across the curriculum in schools throughout Europe. The programme goal is to raise awareness of how changes in energy consumption behaviour can contribute to protect the climate and how advanced materials such as plastics can help save energy and world’s resources.

Programme scope

For the school year 2008-2009, the programme aims to:

  • encourage teachers to integrate innovative inquiry-based approaches into science teaching in schools in response to the needs of students and of the society;
  • reinforce science education at all levels in schools by offering a set of activities that are based on multiple innovative practices;
  • publish and maintain a website where teachers can get support through educational materials as well as opportunities to interact with peers across Europe;
  • encourage parents, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and local communities to make a contribution to science education in schools.

The programme is designed to value, promote and disseminate science teaching experiences that are based on:

  • problem-based inquiry;
  • hands-on and minds-on activities;
  • teamwork and individual work on open-ended questions;
  • cross-curricular activities;
  • relevance of science content in the school context.

A cross-curricular approach to science teaching

The “Energy is our Future” school programme is designed to suit a number of school subjects: sciences, languages, art, geography, social sciences, history and computer science. Teachers are encouraged to approach the programme in a cross-curricular manner.

The programme covers three main areas:

  • Energy efficiency as a result of design impact and material selection on energy consumption;
  • Climate protection through reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Resource efficiency through conserving natural resources and sustainable development.

Classroom activities and competitions

The school programme consists of four online activities and competitions that are accompanied by specific guidelines. They are:

1. Design competition

Age group: 16-20
Languages: Native language
Description: Classes are provided with a set of four scenarios that feature challenges about energy and resource use. The participants are invited to propose and describe a solution for their chosen scenario.

Outcome: Teams of maximum three students coordinated by a teacher can make a contribution that contains text accompanied by a multimedia file in the following formats: photo (jpg or gif), Power Point Presentation (ppt or pps), movie (wmv, mov or avi), Flash presentation (swf) or PDF.

Optional: Participants are also encouraged, if possible, to create/design a tri-dimensional representation of their solution to the chosen scenario and its challenge.

Prizes: There will be awarded three prizes for each of the four scenarios. The first prize winning teams will be invited to Brussels to attend an exciting European event while the second and third winning teams will get educational design software. More about the competition.

2. Energy Scouts competition

Age group: 10-16
Languages: Native language
Description: Participants are invited to identify positive examples of energy and resource-saving behaviour in their local communities. They are expected to include within their option a “model” of the FuturEnergia Hero which can be downloaded from the FuturEnergia website. Participants have two options for their contributions:

  • either they make a short film showcasing the behaviour or situation by featuring the “model” of the Hero and explaining why they have chosen it. The explanation must be incorporated into the movie, as a narrative or
  • hey take two photographs of this behaviour or situation featuring the “model” of the Hero. The photographs should be accompanied by a short text explaining why the behaviour or situation is energy-efficient and for which reasons they have chosen it.

Outcome: either a movie or two photographs accompanied by an explanatory text.
Prize: a digital camera for winning students; a visit to their school by the FuturEnergia hero, a PlasticsEurope delegation and local politicians and media to hand over a trophy and certificate. More about this competition.

3. Energy debates

Age group: 12-20
Languages: Native language
Description: Schools are invited to organise energy debates, as classroom activities, around one of nine themes (eight given themes and a theme that may be proposed by the participating classes). The themes are accompanied by a set of relevant resources that help teachers prepare and organise a debate activity.

Outcome: Schools are invited to submit a summary of their debate activities and two relevant photos (or a photo and a video). The website offers publishing space and visibility to all interested schools. More about this activity.

4. Chats

Age group: 12-20
Language: English
Description: The chats are monthly online activities which involve an expert and a group of selected schools. They gather in an online chatroom to discuss relevant themes. The chats are based on a set of related online resources that enable them to prepare and discuss the topic in the classroom and decide what questions they wish to ask during the chat session.

Outcome: The main outcome of this activity is a chat transcript that is published on the website. The transcript allows website visitors to find out more about the topic and the online discussion. It can also be used as a teaching tool to support further discussion in the classrooms.

General information

The “Energy is our Future” project is being run by European Schoolnet on behalf of PlasticsEurope.

PlasticsEurope is one of the leading European trade associations with centres in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. We are networking with European and national plastics associations and have more than 100 member companies, producing over 90% of all polymers across the EU27 member states plus Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Turkey. The European plastics industry makes a significant contribution to the welfare in Europe by enabling innovation, creating quality of life to citizens and facilitating resource efficiency and climate protection. More than 1.6 million people are working in about 50.000 companies (mainly small and medium sized companies in the converting sector) to create a turnover in excess of 280 billion € per year. The plastics industry includes polymer producers - represented by PlasticsEurope, converters - represented by EuPC and machine manufacturers - represented by EUROMAP. For further info see the web links: www.plasticseurope.org www.plasticsconverters.eu www.euromap.org

European Schoolnet (EUN) is a consortium of 31 Ministries of Education in Europe that provides major European education portals for teaching, learning and collaboration and leads the way in bringing about change in schooling through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Since its establishment in 1997, EUN has been supporting the European dimension in schools through projects, competitions, activities, communication and information exchange, building synergies between communities of teachers, learners, developers, researchers and policy-makers in Europe.

For any questions about the “Energy is our Future” school programme and its activities send an email to Petru Dumitru at: futurenergia@eun.org

For more information about PlasticsEurope, please contact Hanane Taidi at the following email address: hanane.taidi@plasticseurope.org or visit: www.plasticseurope.org