In September 2008, 6th to 8th grade students across the United States were encouraged to 'go green' and team up for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. Sponsored by the National Siemens Corporation and National Science Teachers Association, this is the first and only national K-12 sustainability education initiative aligned to education standards and uniquely tailored to match students’ growing comprehension abilities throughout their school-aged years.
The challenge was for teams of four students to identify an environmental issue in the community, research it through scientific investigation, and create a replicable green solution using Web-based curriculum tools powered by Discovery Education. Eight Montessori sixth-graders signed up to answer the challenge, and UWF’s Construction Program agreed to help sponsor and mentor the project.
|Team members (left to right): Carly, Curtis, and Ander|
Problem Statement—It is our perception that littering seems to be on the rise in our community. Although it is illegal to throw cigarette butts out as litter, it is a common sight to ride behind a car and see someone throw out their cigarette butt.
Scientific Research—We feel that we are able to improve our community by conducting research on the amount of litter on the roadside. Through our research, we will ultimately create a database of information containing the following:
|Team members (left to right): Joey, Maggie, and Morgan|
Problem Statement—Many families in our community believe that if we go to separate cans consisting of once/week garbage and once/week recycle, as opposed to the current two cans of garbage a week, that the one can for garbage is not adequate for them. This is evident due to a current issue recently where our garbage collectors made this very proposal. Many people wrote in the News Journal stating that they could not possibly put an entire weeks worth of garbage in one can.
Scientific Research—Our group plans to conduct research using Montessori families who are willing to put this issue to a test. Our research will create a database of information that will show the pounds of garbage reduced as well as recycled materials removed from what normally would have gone into the trash. We plan to conduct research to provide each family with the resources they need.
|Team members (left to right): Rachael and Victoria|
Problem Statement—Our school has just started a 'green campaign' to remind our students and staff to try to reduce our waste and remember to recycle. The problem is that we currently do not have an established list of recyclable items and a plan for waste reduction.
Scientific Research—Our group plans to conduct research utilizing the input from staff and students to establish a reduction plan. Our immediate thoughts are to look at student lunch boxes to help families to reduce the number of baggies, juice boxes, and other items we typically put into the trash after lunchtime. Our research will create a database of information that will show the pounds of garbage reduced as well as recycled materials removed from what normally would have gone into the trash. We will also establish an education plan for our campus and families.
We have already registered and hope to be among the first 100 teams to register and ultimately complete a project for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. If we succeed, we will receive an award-winning Planet Earth series DVD set. Submissions from middle school students will be accepted through March 15, 2009, and we certainly hope to complete our projects in time to submit by this date.
All student teams entering the challenge will receive prizes for their participation. Top-performing teams, as judged by a panel of environmental experts and science educators, will earn cash, teacher education materials, and unique 'Discovery Experience' trips. The grand prize winning team will receive a comprehensive prize package, which includes an appearance on Planet Green, Discovery’s 24-hour eco-lifestyle network and a once-in-a-lifetime Discovery Adventure Trip, accompanied by a Discovery TV personality.
Stay Tuned To Watch Our Progress!