Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Repair, Reduce and Rot
Sustainability in today’s world is one of the most important concepts we can teach. As part of our Science and Sustainability Curriculum Learning Team, grade levels from across all sections of the school have been planning units of inquiry centered around the UN Sustainable Development Learning Goals, creating sustainability as a meaningful thread throughout the whole school. They have collaborated with Aaron Moniz from the Inspire Citizens organisation, to build these units with relevant learning experiences and actionable goals.
“Science and Sustainability Curriculum Learning Team has been planning units of inquiry across all sections of the school centered around the UN Sustainable Development Learning Goals, creating sustainability as a meaningful thread throughout the whole school.”
In partnership with Aaron, Grade 3 teachers planned a new Sustainability unit of inquiry centered around some of the learning targets from the Sustainable Development Goal Number 12 – Live Better. The above was taken from the Good Life Goals which are the child friendly version of the Sustainable Development Goals.
As part of the unit, students have been thinking about ways that they can bring sustainability into their classrooms and their lives outside school. They have been doing this by using the focus of “The 6 R’s of Sustainability – Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Repair, Reduce and Rot”.
The idea of RETHINKING our actions has also been a central idea throughout the unit. Mr. Frape (IT integration), Ms, Tara (ES Librarian) and Ms. Kerry (Outdoor Learning) planned a Sustainability Make and Take afternoon for the whole grade level. The aim of the afternoon was for our learners to see sustainability in action and be able to create things centered around the 6 R’s with the intention of taking these things home to share with their families and to make them think about alternative ideas. By pulling in some other willing volunteers and with the support of the homeroom teachers, they were able to plan for six different learning experiences.
“The aim of the Sustainability Make and Take afternoon was for our learners to see sustainability in action and be able to create things centered around the 6 R’s with the intention of taking these things home to share with their families and to make them think about alternative ideas.”
After an initial reminder from students about the meaning of the 6 R’s, the first Sustainability Make and Take Afternoon got underway. Each student had made two choices of what they wanted to create (with the understanding that they could make other things at a later date). The choices on offer were; making natural lipbalm, paper making, creating a phone holder from toilet roll tubes, tin can containers, beeswax food wraps and sewing bags from old t-shirts. There was also a reuse building station which was a big hit. Students enthusiastically participated in the afternoon and there was a contented buzz of busy-ness, purpose and lots of big smiles on faces. It was a fun afternoon and a great way to get students involved and thinking about steps they can take to make sustainability part of their lives. The afternoon got them talking about how we can do things differently to ultimately make a difference to the planet.
This unit has been enthusiastically received by students, with many of them taking action such as limiting plastic in their snacks, talking about composting with their parents (after an engaging and informative talk from Ms. Dadiego – 6th Grade Teacher) and making bird feeders from milk cartons that they’ve put in their gardens with the help of Ms. Marcela.
Grade 3 students have been excitedly tracking their actions in Changemaker Journals that they will continue to use after the unit is over. This unit is definitely one that we hope will continue to have an impact well after it is “finished” as we hope it has given our students some new ways of being, doing and thinking. Other Grade Level actions that are underway are raised garden beds and composting. We are all excited to see an increased focus on sustainability, related actions and doing our part as a Changemaker for a more sustainable future.
For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you. – The United Nations