Holy Name of Jesus
“A small town in the center of Ontario!”
- 17 Challenges Completed
- 0 Challenges not completed
A Green-Powered Canada
As a class, we discussed various ways that electricity is generated and sorted them into renewable vs. non-renewable. Students then independently researched a chosen method, which they recorded on the worksheets. They then presented and shared their new knowledge with the class. Some younger students were corrected by the older students in misunderstandings.
We started by brainstorming ways students get around Hornepayne. We then took that list and sorted them in to those that use energy and those that don't. Students recognized that those that use energy pollute and the other ways don't pollute and in fact, contribute to a healthy, active lifestyle. Students made posters to encourage others to be active and healthy in getting around town, and not choose ways that pollute. These posters are displayed on our Energy Diet display board.
Since COVID restrictions prevent us from leaving the school property, I taught my students about Earth Hour and its purpose to educate people about the negative effects of wasting energy on our planet's resources. Students made posters and comics that I posted on our school's Facebook page and a public Facebook page for our community to encourage the town to participate in Earth Hour by turning their lights off from 8:30 - 9:30pm on Saturday, March 27. I have some screen-shots of the Facebook posts.
Do You Really Need It?
As a class, we discussed needs vs. wants and what the criteria was for things to be in each category. Examples were discussed. Since this was our first activity for the Energy Diet, I explained what we were going to be doing as a class through the Energy Diet and how our needs can be filled while using less energy, whereas our wants often require us to use lots more energy. Students fill out the worksheet. I noticed most students replaced on energy consuming activity with a different one, instead of giving up energy altogether.
I introduced this challenge by explaining the process of photosynthesis and explaining how plants take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. I then connected this to tree-planing initiatives to help remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere. We then planted our seeds from Tomatosphere and watched them grow. The students tracked the growth of the seeds on the worksheet. In the photos, you will see the seeds from when they first sprouted to what they look like today. I've done this activity with my classes in the past and they all look forward to taking the plants home and harvesting tomatoes from them during the summer.
How Big Are Your Carbon Feet?
As a class, we watched a few YouTube videos on carbon footprints so students could learn the concept of a carbon footprint. Then students calculated their own carbon footprint using an online calculator. From this, students learned what strategies reduced their carbon footprints and how to implement them. These ideas were then displayed on the footprints which we added to our Energy Diet display board.
Limited Edition: Game Time!
Students watched a video about food waste. They learned about all the resources and money that gets wasted along with the food and different ways it can be resolved. We talked about the ideas presented. Students used those ideas to complete the worksheet. I asked them to list vocabulary associated with this concept and then students played a game of charades to have other classmates guess the word they were acting out. I thought this might be difficult with words such as "compost" and "methane gas", but they did really well! And enjoyed it!
One Hour No Power
Almost every day during the challenge, we turned the lights off while working during the afternoons. As you can see in my picture, we still have a very bright classroom with the sunlight. After a while, the students just get used to it and we usually end up leaving the lights off in the afternoons for the rest of the school year. Some of the other teachers think it's wierd, but not my students!
Round and Round it Goes
I showed a video of the circular economy by showing how different items can be removed and recycled from electronics/appliances in order to be reused. I connected this to our electronics bin at the town dump saying how it removes these items from our landfill, but parts are used to make new electronics. I then extrapolated this idea into how we "recycle" in Hornepayne (where there is no recycling program available) by offering items on our local Facebook group for people to buy (outgrown children's clothing/toys, scrap snowmobile/bicycle parts, etc.). Students then saw how they do the same at home (like turning old clothes into something useful). I had them use their ideas of our circular economy in Hornepayne to complete the infographic.
Since the class has completed (or are working on) many of the challenges, they felt ready to share their learning with others. Using Pixton, they created comics to show what they've learned through the Energy Diet. Covid restrictions do not allow students to read and share their comics with other classes (as we've done in the past), but these have been posted on our Energy Diet bulletin board for others to read. I've included some of the comics the students have created.
I gave the challenge worksheet to my students and explained how to complete the sheet. I explained that even though Hornepayne does not have recycling, I pointed out a lot of the reducing and reusing strategies that they already use: reusable water bottles at school, our classroom bag of plastic bags, and even when they place items they've outgrown on our local Facebook Classifieds page to sell. The class talked about how their families reuse plastic containers to store leftovers or their parents pack their lunches with reusable cloth baggies to hold snacks. They recognized a lot of ways that we reduce what we throw into the dump that just seem "normal" to them.
The Phantom of the Classroom
We watched a few YouTube videos so students could understand what Phantom Power is and how wasteful it is, both in terms of energy and money. I then used the classroom to show students examples of Phantom Power and what it looked like (usually a light on while the device is not in use - standby mode). I then compared it to something similar - the EXIT sign whose light is on, but that's its purpose. Students went throughout the school looking for examples of Phantom Power and marking it on their school maps. We discussed ways to reduce Phantom Power; by using a power bar that you can turn off when the items are not in use so they are not sucking power.
Tips and Tricks
As a class we talked about all of the things they had learned over the Energy Diet. I then asked students to make posters to share the tips that they've learned. I would then post on our school Facebook page as well as a local public Facebook page to share this knowledge with the community.
I talked with the class how wasting water is related to the Energy Diet as it is a resource that we should not waste. We talked about different ways to save water resources and connected these strategies to the worksheet. Students were asked to record their water usage over two days, using the worksheet, to see if they could save some water.
What’s For Lunch?
We did this activity on Shrove Tuesday, where normally the whole school would eat pancakes and sausages cooked by my class. We couldn't this year, because of COVID, but as a class, we worked together to determine food miles of a Shrove Tuesday feast. We determined the ingredients needed for a Shrove Tuesday meal and where they come from. Blueberries, which can be found in the bush surrounding us, and eggs were given 0km (a student has a farm where her family raises chickens which they sell locally). Students googled the distance from each other source city to Hornepayne, marked it on the map, and the food miles for Shrove Tuesday were calculated. As a class, we discussed how it could decreased by replacing orange juice with apple juice grown in Niagara. Students recognized that because we're so isolated, our food miles are quite high. It could be reduced by living off the land as the Cree and Ojibwe did, but this would mean limited variety in our diet (to which we have become accustomed).
What’s Old is New Again
Due to COVID restrictions, students were not allowed to bring items from home to school to re-use in an art project. However, I found a pattern online for students to cut out shapes from old magazines and/or scraps of paper that were found at the school. These shapes were then organized to create a puppy, cat, or bunny in various positions. This forced students to think of colour and patterns in ways that were complimentary to their subject's body part based on what they could find, rather than following a pre-set plan. Their artwork was posted around our Energy Diet bulletin board for the school to see.