Well, Sustainable Futures has hit the ground running already making use of our new VR labs to enable the students to visit places around the world impacted by inequity or human activities. For example, students visited the Amazon rainforest to see the impact of deforestation, saw the incredible amounts of plastic pollution in waterways in Manila and eutrophication of waterways in China. They then used creation tools like Minecraft and CoSpaces to model these human impacts.
This led us through to exploring Global systems in the form of the carbon, nitrogen and water cycles in Week 1. Students participated in an Engineers without Borders challenge to create a water filter. This was compounded by representing certain countries and having corresponding access to equivalent finance, resources and technology. This meant that students from affluent countries were able to complete their water filters with clear and easy to read instructions, whereas students from less affluent countries were beset with problems such as windings and poor copies of their instructions!
Currently, students are finalising their Science as a Human Endeavour task which links with these social and scientific issues. Moving forward we are exploring exponential growth and the impact on resources and creating a narrative or vignette, transferring knowledge of this text type from Engineering a Monster to give voice to issues identified in the UN Sustainable Development goals.