Very early in the morning of Wednesday 31 March a group of 20 excited students gathered in a classroom of Phạm Văn Đồng Teacher Training University in Quang Ngai City.
Teachers provided some introduction to the activity that was bound to happen that day: a try-out of a module for outdoor activities related to Biology and Chemistry with the title “Investigation of pollution issues at Tra Khuc River - the stretch from the Sugar Factory to Tra Khuc Bridge 2” . The location for this try-out activity was set at the bank of the Tra Khuc river, which is the home of the ‘Ca Bong’. These tiny little fish are one of the main food specialties of the province.
The module has been designed applying the Problem Based Learning approach. VVOB is supporting Teacher Training Institutes (TTIs) in applying Problem Based Learning (PBL) for the organization of outdoor activities. In short, Problem Based Learning means that students learn from the results of the process of solving problems. This approach is particularly useful for the organization of outdoor activities, although it is not limited to those.
After the short introduction delivered by their teachers, the students - who themselves will be a teacher one day - mounted the bus to arrive 10 minutes later at the river bank. While the rising sun was clearly promising a hot day, the students started their assignments in different groups. One of the assignments was to collect water samples from the river and to test the water quality by using some chemicals and specific devices. The groups had to decide themselves how to organize the tests.
After collecting the samples, conducting tests and interviewing a number of residents living along the river bank, the students looked for some shadow in a nearby park to prepare the presentation of the results. Finally some volunteers of each group presented the results of their activities.
One of the students entrusted the VVOB staff attending the try-out that this is for sure the kind of activity she wants to organize for her students later on.