A film and video games in a lorry are teaching students good environmental habits, writes Lai Ying-kit
A dozen Primary Four pupils shout in excitement as they watch the 3D effects in 15-minute film Earth Heroes inside a lorry's mini space-age cinema.
Wearing their 3D spectacles, the students from the International Christian School in Sha Tin follow the film's animated dog character, Nick, on an adventure to different places that face environmental threats. Illustrators are on hand to help guide the students.
The lesson is taking place in the Green Studio, a Mercedes-Benz lorry modified by power company CLP and turned into a mobile classroom for environmental education. It is the first in the city to make use of young people's favourite entertainment media to promote green issues.
Since its launch in March last year, the Green Studio has shared the joy of learning through play with more than 30 local schools and toured 35 community venues.
The truck also uses LPG fuel, which is cleaner, and is equipped with solar-powered devices to supply part of its electricity, demonstrating how it is possible to use greener energy.
The International Christian School visit last week coincided with its launch of an English-language version of the film and video game environmental lessons.
The movie looks at the bad habits that are damaging the earth, such as excessive shopping, power wastage, over-usage of plastic bags and paper. Nick the dog tells his audience how they can adopt greener living habits.
The students play video games on mobile phones in the lorry's classroom. One shoot-'em-up game challenges the young players to pass through three stages by sniping at sources of carbon dioxide emissions, such as vehicles, lights and plastic bags.
Meanwhile, in a question-and-answer game, the students score points for choosing the right tactics to reduce gas emissions.
'I'll remember to check that the lights are off when I go out, and I'll remind my dad and mum if they forget to do so,' says eight-year-old Isaac Tang Lok-hei, after watching the movie and playing the games. 'I learned that we should save energy to reduce pollution.'
Isaac says he likes watching 3D films and playing video games. He says learning through the new media is more interesting, compared to traditional classes.
'It's more fun to learn this way. There's a film to watch and video games to play.'
Primary Four student Esther Fan says she has learned how bad plastic bags are from the movie. 'Burning plastic bags produces large amounts of harmful gases,' she says. 'I'll ask my friends and parents to use fewer of them.'
Chow Lap-man, a CLP director, says the earlier environmental education is brought to young people, the bigger the impact it has. The idea behind the Green Studio, he says, is to use media children and teenagers are most interested in to grab their attention.
'3D animation movies and handheld video games are big-hitters,' he says.
'Young people, in particular, love them. Using these as the media to convey knowledge to them can be very effective. They will remember the information more easily.'