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“Teaching and learning with living heritage in Ukraine”
Krasnokutsky Lyceum teaching mathematic and biology with ‘mazanka’ (mud) hut
A team of teachers and students from the Krasnokutsky Lyceum, located in the Kharkiv region, shared how and why they will integrate the tradition of mazanka (mud hut) in several subjects of their curriculum.
To start the project, the school team visited nearby villages to observe mazankas from the early 20th century preserved to our day. “We realized that all of them were built with the same rules, using 100% natural materials,” said Natalya Momot, the project coordinator at the Krasnokutskyi Lyceum. – “Most of such houses were built in areas with important clay deposits, where brick factories were built later on. ” Locations of clay deposits and clay production will become the topic for the geography lesson.
For the physics class, teachers and students built three models of houses to study the selected element: brick, wooden and plastered house. “We will heat these huts and take temperature measurements to find out their thermal conductivity,” Natalya Momot told about the planned experiment.
In the past the mud houses are known for their nice isolation characteristics and this technology could also be explored for possible future solution in reply to the increasing temperatures related to the climate change.
Ukrainians used to cover huts with reeds or straw, because the porosity of these plants helps to retain heat. At the biology lesson, students will examine the plants under microscope to better understand their structure. Mazanka will also be part of their history, literature, mathematics and chemistry lessons. In chemistry class, they will create a chalk mixture for whitewashing the plastered houses.
At the end of the project, the school team hopes to be able to learn the traditional technique of building mazankas in a hands on exercise, when helping a local community to restore one of the mud huts
This pilot project “Teaching and learning with living heritage in Ukraine” is carried out by the NGO Development Center “Democracy through the Culture”, accredited under the UNESCO 2003 Convention, in close cooperation with the Living Heritage Entity and the support of the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund.
In the first phase, 15 primary and secondary schools across Ukraine (including 10 UNESCO Associated schools) are pilot testing the proposed methodology on integrating living heritage elements in core subjects, such as mathematics, physics or literature. The project is based on a methodology elaborated within a joint UNESCO/EU project in 2021.