At the British International school of Charlotte, students in Years 5 through 8 have been collaborating in small groups to tackle the second MIT Challenge: The Curious-City Challenge.
A key component of this challenge is for students to identify and describe an environmental problem in their city and the impact on the overall health. After much deliberation our students decided that food waste was of great interest to them. They set about researching and gathering primary and secondary data to help them better understand the problem. They invited an expert, Crown Town Compost’s CEO David Valder, to run a workshop for them. Isabel, Julianna and Naomi found the facts they discovered extremely motivating:
“We were shocked to discover from Mr. Valder that only 19% of food waste was diverted from the landfill. This was enough to motivate us to change our habits and the habits of other students across the school.”
The students sprang into action and began a composting initiative in school. They provided bins for compostable items to be placed into at lunch times and encouraged students in other classes to use them too. They monitored progress by weighing how much was composted each day.
“By the end of the project, the highest percentage of daily waste that was diverted was 57.5% with our average being 35%. This shows that our project succeeded in raising awareness and positively impacting students’ habits.”
Success! But the students were not finished…they wanted to ensure that the impact of their findings would go beyond our school building. They met with children in BISC classes to encourage them to compost outside of school too and were impressed with the responses they received. Their next step was to decide how to present their learning in a fun, creative way, including infographics, movies and board games, in order to encourage businesses to follow suit. Companies including: Food Lion, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Earth Fare, Earth Farms, Publix, McDonalds and Red Robin will be approached in the final phase of the Curious-City Challenge to encourage them to consider how they control food waste.
Well done to our students who have made a difference through a carefully considered, creative, scientific approach.