As a culminating event to the Conservation Creative Problem Solving task that students in Ms. Saunders’ classes spent a few months working on, they got to talk with an environmentalist from the community. Ms. Ameila Baker, owner of the Green Alternatives general store housed in the Five Points Community Farmer’s Market in Norfolk spoke with the children. After having the students play a game about the environment, Ms. Baker spoke with the children about the language, skills, and products of an environmentalist. Students learned that, while you can make a living as an environmentalist, you can become an environmentalist–even at age 10–by simply modeling eco-friendly behaviors and inspiring others to follow your lead!
In addition to suggesting and implementing several conservation solutions around the school such as notes posted on the recylcling cans informing everyone of what can and can not be recycled, weekly tips and reminders about conserving water and electricity and a proposal to switch from soap and water to hand sanitizer to name a few, students entered a contest using the CPS project.
The We Can Change the World contest sponsered by the National Science Teachers Association, Discovery Education and Siemen’s encourages students to find an authentic environmental problem in their school or community that they can work towards fixing. The research and problem solving that students completed for the CPS task in fourth grade seemed like a great fit for the contest. So, a small group from each of the fourth grade cluster classes worked with Ms. Cabotaje to complete applications that represented the entire class’ work. Though we’re not expecting to win a big prize, seeing how classroom work transfers to real-world competitions was a great experience!