Kortright Hills P.S.
- 17 Challenges Completed
- 0 Challenges not completed
A Green-Powered Canada
We chose Option 2 for this challenge. As part of our Conservation of Energy unit, we researched renewable energy sources. Students had class discussions about their research and became familiar with the term Sustainable Energy. As part of their research, they looked more in-depth into wind and solar power used around the world and in Canada. They discussed the pros and cons and the predictions for how both of these energy sources will be more widely used in the future.
We had a fantastic class discussion about different types of transportation that are good for us and good for the planet. We created a very lengthy list of ideas. We talked about which ones were more practical for our daily activities and which ones we should be using more and encouraging others to use more. They each created a poster to let other students in the school know which modes of transportation their families should be using the most and why. They were asked to go home and have family conversations about their transportation ideas and how their family habits could become more eco-friendly.
First, we watched J.B. MacKinnon's presentation of "Rewilding: To Restore to its Natural Uncultivated State" as a class. It was fascinating to see the big ideas that the students took away from the presentation. It inspired them to want to Rewild a corner of our school yard. They began researching what native butterflies, insects, birds, frogs, animals, etc. are native to this area and what plants/habitats they thrive in. Then they measured out 12% of our school yard, which is the amount that J.B. suggested for rewilding. As a group we discussed what section of the yard would be most practical for rewilding. The students created diagrams showing their well-detailed plans for rewilding and bringing more native species to our school yard. Next, we filled out paperwork for the board office, seeking permission to do this. We are still waiting for confirmation. In the meantime, we have discussed what groups would love to help us with this project. We have a very active Kortright Neighbourhood Association and a very enthusiastic Parent Council and a group called Our Energy Guelph who the students have invited to make this rewilding happen (hopefully!) by the end of June 2021.
Images & Downloads
Do You Really Need It?
I handed out the worksheet. We had a class discussion about things they use every day at home and at school that need energy. Then we reviewed the difference between needs and wants. After they filled in the charts, we talked about what they would be willing to give up from their list for one day. And they were asked to choose something that would be a bit of a sacrifice. In other words, something they would notice and think about if they had to go without it for at least a day. Most of the students chose their phones. Interestingly, most said that because of covid, they've enjoyed playing outside more. Afterwards, we discussed if they found it easy or hard to give up their item for a day. There were mixed responses but most agreed that it felt good to use less energy, to give up their device for a period of time, and instead to play outside or play board games, etc. more.
We talked about photosynthesis as a class and then the students did some research about it. They looked into why photosynthesis off-sets carbon levels and why plants and trees are so vital to us and the planet. Next, they filled in the photosynthesis worksheet. We planted beans in wet paper towels and taped them to the classroom window. And we monitored and discussed their growth. It took longer than the students thought it would! Some beans survived and some didn't so we discussed that too and the possible reasons. After three weeks, there was enough growth that the students could fill in the planet life cycle worksheet and I could take a photo.
How Big Are Your Carbon Feet?
We did Option 2 for this challenge. We talked about what carbon footprint means. This was a new concept for most of my class. Then we did some research on how much carbon some of our daily activities produce. I walked them through how to calculate their annual carbon footprint. They found this challenging but they stuck with it. Next, we discussed how a lot of eco-friendly things that we talk about every day such as having waste-free lunches and reusable bottles and playing outside more all help our carbon footprint. They decorated their feet and I posted them up on the wall.
Limited Edition: Game Time!
We chose Option 1 for this challenge. We watched a video about food waste in Canada and then we had a class discussion about it. We discussed ways that we waste food at home, at school, and at restaurants. We discussed what happens when food waste ends up in the garbage or recycling instead of compost bins. We talked about the energy that goes into food production, transportation, and storage and how most of us take it for granted when others go hungry every day. We had a great discussion about ways we can each cut down on our food waste. They filled in the worksheet. We had fun playing charades afterwards.
One Hour No Power
Several times a week, we made a point of turning off our classroom lights and devices for an hour or two at a time. Because we are in an interior classroom of the school with NO WINDOWS, that meant going outside for some extra hikes and playing in the snow. This has made an enormous difference to not only saving energy but the mental and physical health and happiness of my students and myself. We have unanimously agreed to continue doing this several times a week as a group!
Round and Round it Goes
We chose Option 1 for this challenge. We discussed what Circular Economy means and talked about why it's important for the planet and for our health. And it saves money too! We discussed different examples and then the students went on the chromebooks to research one specific example such as a glass jar or a cardboard cereal box. They looked at how it's manufactured, how it's transported and stored, and how it's recycled. The students found this very fascinating and were eager to learn more.
We chose option 2 for this challenge. We had a class discussion about energy issues and created a list. The kids talked about the energy we waste every day in our homes, schools, cars, devices, etc. I asked them to imagine what the world could be like 30 years from now. If it's an energy-wise world then, what would that look like? We brainstormed and then the students were asked to write letters to their future selves 30 years from now about their energy hopes for what things (hopefully!) will look like.
We had a class discussion about the word "WASTE". We talked about all of the different ways that we waste things in our daily lives. Then we talked about the many issues with wasting things eg.more money, more electricity (and water and oil etc), more pollution in our air and in our rivers and oceans, more garbage in our parks, etc. We discussed WHY people in Canada waste so much. I walked them through how to fill in the worksheet with their families over the next 5 days. The pages were returned and we added up the total # of items not thrown in the garbage. Amazing results and discussion!
The Phantom of the Classroom
We discussed what Phantom Power means. We talked about all of the things that use energy in our classroom and our homes. We created a list and then as a group they guessed which items use the most energy and which ones the least. Then we talked about which items tend to be plugged in all the time, even when not in use. They were asked to go home that night and to a)notice where Phantom Power exists and b) unplug items (when practical to do so) when not in use. We talked about the Phantom Power in our classroom. They were asked to draw sketches of our classroom from a birds-eye view and show clearly where our Phantom Power locations are.
Tips and Tricks
We chose Option 1. We had a class discussion about why saving energy is important and how we can encourage good energy saving habits in others. Then we brainstormed a list of energy saving ideas for both home and school. They did some research to add more ideas to the list. They created fantastic posters using some of the list ideas. We put up the posters in the front hall of the school to share with other classes. The kids came up with some great energy-friendly ideas to share with their families and with the rest of the school.
The students researched and discussed reusable bottles at enormous length for several weeks. There are massive benefits to us and the planet when we use reusable bottles regularly. They chose to create the advertisement to encourage the rest of the school and our community to use more reusable bottles every day. We are hoping to encourage 75% of our students and staff to use reusable bottles by June 1st. The students wrote the script and decided how the advertisement should be organized. They created the posters for the ad. A student videoed it and took the photos. We had to be creative to include all 24 students in a social-distancing way and get it under a minute. When it was all done, we put it on our video morning announcements for the school to get the conversations started. We also stated our 75% goal. Then we put all of our posters on a bulletin board in the front hall of the school. Next, the video was played for our Parent Council meeting and at our virtual staff meeting. The students are extremely proud of this 100% student made original advertisement stating facts about why everyone should be using a reusable bottle every day, everywhere they go. Enjoy!!
We discussed all the many ways we use water every day, both directly and indirectly. We continued our on-going discussions about water issues and why we need to appreciate and conserve our water. They took home the page and calculated their water use for one day. We had a discussion about what they noticed about their family's habits. We figured out our class total. Then we discussed different ways we could encourage our families to use less water every day. They took the second page home and recorded the results. As a group, we looked at the change in numbers
What’s For Lunch?
We did option 1 for this challenge. We talked about what local food means and then researched what local foods we have in this area within 100km. Then students researched/created recipes using those local ingredients and wrote them down. They shared the recipes with each other in the class.
What’s Old is New Again
We had a class discussion about why it's important to reuse materials, clothing, etc. as much as possible. We talked about how much water and energy it saves every time we reuse something instead of buying something new. We quarantined some recycling before the students were asked to build something creative. All of our recycled projects were displayed proudly around the classroom before they were taken home. Here is a picture of a sustainable house that one of my students built, complete with solar panels, a rain barrel, a garden, and even an eco address!