"TRASH IS A DIRTY WORD"
~That's what my 6th graders mused after a 6 week unit on ecology-themed Challenge Based Learning (CBL). Most of our 'trash' can be recycled and diverted from our landfills.
I launched a CBL project this spring to explore ecology. I finally did it this year! :) The kids' task was to form groups around interests, then identify and DO SOMETHING to help solve a local eco-issue! We filled a board with ideas and narrowed it down to human pollution of air, land, and water and how that pollution affects living things. We created a graphic organizer of all topics/categories and who was doing each topic in each hour/class. We kept that on the board...so kids could talk to each other about their topics and go to experts as needed.
One topic was LANDFILL Pollution and there were 5 kids working on this between my 3 science hours.
And so we begin....
This is the story of 5 kids, a round-the-corner-out-of-breath-answer-your-phone-Mrs. Gilly moment from a special place in KC called Missouri Organic, a school lunchroom.....and something called composting!
This is the story of realizing your school and community are contributing to an ecoproblem and realizing YOU, a 6th grader, can and maybe even 'should' do something about it.
This is the story of some 8th grade teachers who became heroes in my 6th graders' eyes, by taking them outside, answering a million questions, giving the kids kits and supplies, and taking part in their interviews and surveys. They did this with smiles and enthusiasm.
Finally, this is the story of learning from 2 businesses in our city, Missouri Organic and Boulevard Brewery! We used Missouri Organic's generosity to aim for Zero Landfill (less than 10% goes to the landfill) in our lunchroom, like Boulevard has done. (Boulevard actually got rid of their dumpsters.)
To start off our story, you should know that the kids found out after a couple weeks into the project that our school was 100% LANDFILL in our lunchroom. All trays, lunch sacks...EVERYTHING... was dumped into one trash can. The trash was taken to the green dumpster on the dock. The dumpster for 1000+ kids was filled and picked up DAILY, and delivered to the landfill. Easy, right?Read More