If Floradale Public School’s Grade 5 and 6 students had their way, their school’s parking lot would be covered in grass, there would be a solar panel covering the roof of the building, and the playground out back would be made of recycled materials. This is what the students proposed to a panel of judges last week at the wrap-up of Capital Paving’s ‘Greenest School’ competition, and the idea was met with enthusiasm – so much so that Floradale PS took home the title and the grand prize of $6,000.
The call to environmental action was put out to students from across Woolwich Township at the beginning of this school year and Breslau Public School, St. Teresa School and Floradale Public School put together teams of students and teachers who stepped up to the plate. In September, Capital Paving approached a number of schools in Woolwich and challenged Grade 5 and 6 students to design the ideal “green school.” Their design was to be energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable for years to come.
“What they came up with blew us away,” said Capital Paving’s George Lourenco. “The skills the students showed us and the detail in their models far exceeded our expectations.”
During the finals, the schools presented their projects in three formats. Each group presented a written description of all the ‘green’ characteristics their school design has to offer, and how each of those items positively impacts the environment. Then, they displayed their constructed model illustrating the green design. Finally, the students had the opportunity to show other schools a short video clip about the process of building their project and the creativity that went into the final product.
Floradale students made a video which explained their design and even included TV news-style clips of students being interviewed as to why their school should be greened.
“We were able to integrate this project into our curriculum here quite a lot,” said Floradale PS teacher and project facilitator Jody House. “We did work on this project in a number of our classes: science, language, math and art.
The students had to research environmental concepts and present them, which involves reading comprehension, critical thinking skills and oral presentation skills.”
The students each wore a number of different hats during the creation of their model and video. House said the enthusiasm from the students was extraordinary.
“They were really excited to work on this. They really liked the hands-on building experience of making the model and the real-life experience of interviewing other students for the video. It was neat to see.”
Since Floradale’s renovation this past year, the students have had a bit of exposure to environmentally friendly building techniques and they were happy to employ them on their own model. Some students looked to their social networks to get assistance with the project.
“My dad is a carpenter and I have done woodworking before,” said student Brent Sauder. “I built a playhouse in my backyard, so this was kind of like that.”
Now that they have won the contest, the Floradale group has shifted their focus from model building to real-life planning; their recycled playground dream might just become a reality with the money they have won.
“We have talked about a bunch of different ideas,” said House. “We would like to step up our recycling program, implement a composting system and put a focus on litter-less lunches so we can make less of an impact on the environment. The kids are really excited about being green.”
At the final competition, St. Teresa came in second place, winning a $1,000 prize. Breslau PS was third, collecting a prize of $500.