Sensing Nature: Experience Design for Learning the Interplay Between Materials and Emotions

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The Design After, Cumulus Conference Proceedings Series, Volume 19, issue 6
While the importance to human and planetary well-being of meaningful contact with nature has been well documented, less attention has been paid to creating educational activities that correlate emotional well-being with nature. This study is transdisciplinary research-in-practice, focusing on three main matters: human-nature connection, materials (from nature), and emotions (from humans). This project i) co-designs digital-physical learning experiences – from enquiry into sources to construction of 3D prototypes – to explore relationships between emotions and materials, ii) explores tangible and intangible tools such as meditation and natural inks, iii) investigates the effects of sensorial experiences with nature on children’s behaviour from a social and environmentally-sustainable perspective. The aim is to create meaningful learning experiences to enhance children’s understanding of themselves and of the natural world. The approach is mixed-method; the primary methods are Participatory Action Research and co-design, including workshops with educators (n=35) and children (n=80; aged 12-13), and co-creation sessions with field experts (n=11) in Psychology, Design, Education, Cognition, and Materials in Finland. The outcomes are the design and evaluation of a toolkit including i) the 4h-step process and ii) guidelines for educators to implement “Emotional Nature” learning experience to explore the origins of emotions and materials. This study contributes to Finnish and global discussions in environmental education related to emotions and nature, and UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 4: ‘Quality education’. It is the first stage of a broader ongoing research project called Sensing Nature.
human-nature connection, education, well-being, sustainability, biomaterials
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Rueda Mejía , S L 2019 , Sensing Nature: Experience Design for Learning the Interplay Between Materials and Emotions . in The Design After : Cumulus Conference Proceedings Bogota 2019 . Cumulus Conference Proceedings Series , no. 6 , vol. 19 , Cumulus Association , pp. 589-600 , Cumulus Conference , Bogota , Colombia , 30/10/2019 . < >