Grade 4 Students Explore Sustainability Through Hands-On Projects and a Visit to Local Landfill

Students dive into experiential learning on sustainable housing, and wrapping the learnings with a visit to the local landfill.
St. Margaret’s grade 4 students furthered their understanding of sustainability with a visit to the Prima Deshecha landfill in San Juan Capistrano last week. The visit was part of their experiential and special-subject learning around the United Nations’ Sustainable Goal No. 11 to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. 
That goal has led to an interesting unit on sustainable housing centered around work in the Lower School iLab—with help from Upper School students–and wrapping the learnings with a visit to the local landfill.
Grade 4 students recently received valuable information shared by the Upper School environmental club’s presentation about sustainable communities, what these communities look like, and its benefits. The unit also provided Grade 4 students an opportunity to conduct research within the iLab and homeroom classroom on sustainable housing, determining the most sustainable housing options. 
With additional research, the benefits within the environment and local communities provided valuable information to propel grade 4 to utilize TinkerCad to digitally design 3D homes made from the sustainable materials researched. Grade 4 students then crafted persuasive papers advocating for the sustainability of their designs. 
As a highlight of the unit lesson, grade 4 students witnessed sustainability efforts by visiting the local landfill. During the tour, grade 4 students observed the process of how trucks are weighed at the fee station, learned about the conversion of landfill gas into energy, witnessed the current disposal areas for trash, and gained insights into resource recovery, recycling, and composting operations.
The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Goals are urgent calls for action by all countries in a global partnership, and are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all UN member states in 2015. St. Margaret’s uses the UN Sustainable Goals as guideposts for meaningful experiential learning and service learning in the Lower School. 
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