“We received an Inquiry Grant and at the heart of it, our question was “What can I do to help improve my environment?” We undertook an in-depth study about the environment. First, we worked as a whole class on the topic of transportation. Second, students chose various topics for study. We used various sources with the primary source being the bethechangeearthalliance.org website”
We are a school in a predominantly working class neighbourhood. We are made up of a diversity of backgrounds with Indo-Canadian and Filipino being the dominant groups. These children are all aged 11 – 13 and, as such, the state of the environment will play a critical role in their lives going forward. Hence, it was decided an in-depth study of said topic be realized. We received an Inquiry Grant and at the heart of it, our question was “What can I do to help improve my environment?”
We undertook an in-depth study about the environment. First, we worked as a whole class on the topic of transportation. Second, students chose various topics for study such as water conservation, electricity usage, heating and cooling homes, food additives, as well as upcycling and downcycling. We used various sources with the primary source being the bethechangeearthalliance.org website. We also went on 3 field trips: the Vancouver Convention Centre, Port Metro Vancouver and the Waste to Energy facility in Burnaby. Further, we had the BC Sustainable Energy Association attend our school and deliver a workshop.
Working in conjunction with an HSN grant and Be The Change Earth Alliance, the grade 6/7s engaged in two in-depth projects related to environmental stewardship. In the first instance, we did a class-wide project related to transportation. In the second instance, students self-selected topics of interest such as water sustainability, electricity generation, heating and cooling home, up and down cycling, to name but a few. The key feature was a marriage between online learning and real life action plans that were carried on at school, at home, and in the local neighbourhood. This latter piece was identified by the students as the most interesting part of the study and one that would motivate them into the future. What they ultimately came to realize is that they can make a difference but that there is so much more to this vast topic than just the two studies they undertook.
I, as teacher, intend to build a long and sustainable relationship with Be The Change so that future students will have the opportunities my current class has had. Going forward I would continue to refine this aspect of the study so the actions the students take today evolve into future positive actions they make a central part of their lives forever after. In terms of the future, I intend to keep making use of Be The Change and I have had conversations about ways to bring this to other teachers in Richmond and beyond.