Our coolest "collab" this year started with an email from Mr Tully, an Elementary school teacher in Fukuoka, Japan. The school he teaches in focuses on the students' understanding of their surroundings, the world, and their places in it. Even as young as age 9-10 they are introduced topics like equality and freedom, economy, climate impact, biodiversity and conservation. They learn about personal growth and how people can develop their interests.
These topics are all connected and discussed through different units. They often use maps for better understanding, to visualize the issues they are focusing on. Mr Tully is a huge fan of maps in the classroom, even showed Robert's work to the children with reference to their studies: mountaineering, cartography, biodiversity and conservation.
At the time of his inquiry, their next unit was called "Passion Projects" and Mr Tully was curious if the children would be able to connect with Robert somehow, after introducing him and his career to them. As they'd learned so much about the environment and had used maps whenever they could, Robert's volunteering trips and him being a GIS analyst seemed like a perfect subject to inspire conversation about interests and how people follow their passions.
Despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, they managed to find time to record their questions just before the summer holiday. Robert answered in his own video message the next day, so on the last school day the kids had the chance to "meet" him.
The fourth graders, while obviously having fun, took it super seriously and had very original and thought-provoking questions - some better than those from most journalists! We cannot show you the video for privacy reasons, but got permission to use the audio from the files, so you can listen to them in the video below. A transcript is provided in the video description, though we highly recommend listening to them, to hear how passionate and excited they are :)
You can also find Robert's answers here, if you want to know the answer to questions like "What did your parents say when you followed your dreams?" or "Can you describe your life and work in one word?".
Connecting with the class was a great experience for us, surely something we will remember fondly. Thank you Mr Tully, thank you Grade 4!