After being inspired by the Learning for a Sustainable Future forum focused on climate change, Ms. Girdharrie's grade 7 class at Mount Royal Public School created Greening Our School, a project designed to integrate green spaces in classrooms to reduce their carbon footprint at school and in their community.
"I'm proud of the leadership skills these students have demonstrated. From encouraging their schoolmates to join the Greening Our School initiative and coordinating collections of donations of supplies from families, students have been working hard to apply the cross-curricular learning from science and technology, geography and social studies," says Devica Girdharrie, a grade 7 teacher and lead of Greening our School.
Within two months, the students met their first goal to provide each of the 43 classrooms in the school with five plants each. With a donation of a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Monitor from CO2 Meter, students then tracked the change in CO2 levels in the classrooms.
"Understanding the variations in CO2 levels helped students grasp the importance of the environmental concerns around the world, including the burning of large areas of the Amazon rainforest and the Australian wildfires, and to be able to apply their learning in the classroom," notes Devica.
After observing the fluctuations in the CO2 levels both inside and outside the classrooms, the students were inspired to build mini Living Walls to be placed in each classroom in the school. The students partnered with grade 5 classrooms and taught them how to create plant wall structures and demonstrated to kindergarten students the basics of planting.
As schools currently experience closures, students brought home their plants to continue their Greening Our School efforts at home. They are experimenting with various methods to propagate their plants. When students return to school, they will be using these plants to continue the Greening Our School project.
"The onset of COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for students to apply skills learned in the classroom to become actively involved and consider the possibility of growing food at home."
What's next? When students return to school, Greening Our School hopes to expand this school-wide initiative to grow food by creating a school garden and working with community partners.
The Greening Our School campaign is also one of the many initiatives submitted for the Our Canada Project.