Third graders at Sherwood Heights Elementary School addressed the problem of food waste at their school. Nutrient-rich organic material was going into the trash. They implemented a composting program, collected compost twice daily, and started a garden in front of their school, where the compost is used.
Weighing the collected compost daily and analyzing the results not only built their math skills, it also allowed them to track their progress toward reducing waste. They collected an average of 20 lbs. of compost every day.
As the students discussed environmental sustainability and worked on their composting project in the cafeteria, they also noticed that hundreds of Styrofoam trays were used for lunches on half-day Wednesdays. They collected the trays, broke them into pieces, and used them as beanbag chair filler.
Educating the school community about composting, recycling, and other ways to go green was a big part of their project. As Green Police, they encouraged proper use of recycling, reduced energy use, and even healthier snacks.
The school garden will produce beans and other vegetables that can supplement school lunches at the start of school this fall. In addition, Mr. Murray’s class incorporates a geography and social studies lesson by making use of pumpkins as world globes. This year, they will use pumpkins grown right at the school from their garden.