The Class of 2011 is seeking solutions for today through problem-based learning.
The first problem that Team 800 eighth graders are addressing deals with recycling. Much of the waste generated by schools does not have to be bound for the landfill. Students are learning what materials can be reused or reprocessed. Students have explored the procedures currently in place for recycling at TMS. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans are recycled in the lunchroom. There are also procedures for recycling cardboard, newspaper and magazines.
After looking at current procedures, students collected data - painstakingly analyzing the contents of recycling bins -and found that only 50 percent of what the bins contained should have been there. To report their findings, students created circle graphs to convey the information discovered in their "trash digs." In an effort to persuade students to recycle by placing the correct items in the recycling bins, eighth graders began by educating our newest students, the sixth graders. Eighth graders prepared brief presentations using visual aids and went to sixth grade classes to tell students about recycling. They also wrote expository essays to share. Students are continuing to collect data in order to see if their talks have had an impact thus far. In addition, students are developing a PowerPoint presentation to remind all students school-wide about recycling procedures.
A more in-depth video is being produced as a part of the character education curriculum. The video, to be written and directed by students from the Class of 2011, will feature a recycling fashion show.
This group of eighth graders is also taking on responsibility for the on-going care of the TMS butterfly garden. An added component this year is that all of the weeds, grass and organic material pulled from the garden beds will be recycled and used in vericomposting.
It is the goal of these students to create a better school, community and world by teaching their peers to conserve resources and keep the campus beautiful.