Student’s Local Projects
Working Group:Low Achievers in ScienceCountry:Czech RepublicLanguages:Czech, EnglishAge of students (target group/s):6-12, 13-14, 15-18Links, resources:
Contact person information:Bara Semerakova
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There are many projects that offer students the opportunity to actively participate in the improvement of place they live in. Students participate in field research and plan it in cooperation with their teacher, classmates, fellow citizens, local enterprises, etc. They work together on the project and can see the results of their work immediately. Usually, they get the credit for doing something useful for the whole community. Examples are bellow.

Extraordinary class
Extraordinary class ( – students register their socially or environmentally beneficial projects and can get financial support for them. They inform about the progress in their project at a special website.

For example students of the 8th grade of Antonin Sochor Elementary School in Duchcov, Czech Republic, decided to tidy up a neglected park in local hospital so that patients can stroll in a nice environment. In cooperation with technical services they tidied up the park, trimmed shrubs, cleaned and painted a fountain, restored benches and planted new plants.

School for sustainable life
School for sustainable life ( is a programme for schools that want to cooperate on their projects with municipality, active citizens and other partners from neighbourhood. The realized projects shall help to improve the environment and relationships in the local community.

For example students of the Kindergarten and Elementary School Žalany have decided to raise awareness of local people and visitors about local natural and cultural places of interest. They prepared 6 nature trail boards with worksheets. They also arranged a recreational area with benches. Students participated even in landscaping and propagation of the nature trail. Parents, representatives of local administration and local people helped the students with their project.

Eco-school ( is an international programme aiming to encourage students to reduce ecological impact of their school and their own behaviour, and to improve the environment in their school and its vicinity. Students and teachers cooperate but a great deal of responsibility is left to students. The work plan has 7 steps that guide the school to fulfil the criteria for obtaining an international award.

For example in Bohosudov, students (with the help of teachers and parents) restored a small neglected pond in the school grounds. They cleaned it and planted aquatic species in it. They even placed new benches in the immediate vicinity of the pond. Students also prepared new information boards for each plant. Everything was planned and managed by students from the school Eco-team.

GLOBE ( is an international program that supports students’ interest in science and develops their research and scientific skills. Students monitor environmental indicators and changes around their school during the school year. They interpret the data and use their results to identify and deal with environmental problems in their surroundings.

For example, thanks to regular measurements, students from Ceske Budejovice noticed that there is a significant degradation of water quality in lower reaches of a monitored stream. When searching for the cause, they discovered that a reconstruction of water mains took place in the vicinity of the stream bed and that a local sewerage was damaged. Students pointed it out to the respective department of nature conservation. The company which carried out the reconstruction of water mains was fined but most importantly, they immediately repaired the damaged parts of the sewerage.Strong points and opportunities:• These projects are interconnected with real life. Students do not only sit at their school desks or work in school environment but they also try adult work. In real situations, they practise skills applicable in real life (from working with shovel or rake to communication with officials). Students often emphasize that thanks to the project they tried completely new activities which they consider practical and meaningful.
• Outcomes of the projects have usually a real positive impact on the environment in place where students attend their school and where they live.
• Students have to cooperate with each other during the project – it helps to knit together the class as a team and strengthens cooperation in the class. Students realise that they can pull together and meet the target. Relationships between students and teachers, the public and the local administration improve during the work on the project. The project offers a potential for future cooperation throughout the community.
• If students work under the wing of an umbrella programme, they can often obtain small financial support for their projects (e.g. to buy material). At the same time, students have the opportunity to follow the progress of other classes online and see that they are not alone.
• According to a survey in Czech schools, Eco-school students are more considerate towards the environment than other students and they more often believe that they can influence the condition of the environment.Limitations:• It may be difficult for a teacher to excite students for the project. In some schools or in some classes, a teacher can meet with indifference and a certain lack of interest from the part of students or other teachers. It is more difficult in schools where it is not usual to work in such a way and therefore, neither students nor teachers see any positive examples in their surroundings.
• Work on the project can often lengthen after regular classes. It could thus be more time-demanding for teachers.
• In some schools, teachers do not have the support from school management and parents for the project work. If parents and head teachers do not see the benefits of the project education and broadened students’ skills, they may think that a teacher should teach in a regular way so that students do not miss some topics from the school curriculum.Added value with regards to the 3 topics of the MASS project:• According to teachers, practical outdoor activities work reliably as an attraction for low achievers to natural sciences. (Over 30% of teachers considered practical activities connected with real life a great attraction, for 15% of them, it was the work in groups, 13% appreciated being outdoors.) The work on projects connects all the above mentioned and adds meaningfulness of activities and visible outcomes of students’ work. They work together and are proud of what they can achieve – there is a visible outcome and they see the practical impact of their work. Except of the feeling of satisfaction, they are often appreciated by other members of the community (adults, school masters, fellow citizens), which is an exceptional situation for low achievers.
• The fact that students can choose how they will participate at the beginning of a project may be very motivating (work with information, writing a promotional text, taking pictures, manual work, etc.). Students that are less successful in regular classes have the opportunity to express themselves in their own way.Any prerequisites needed:An enthusiastic teacher only needs determination. It is advisable to use ready-made project methodologies as a tool for planning. Financial source for small expenses (e.g. material) is an advantage but it is possible to realise many projects even without financial support.