The Green Team: Reducing Energy Consumption

Original post from The Green Team newsletter – 

This week’s featured topic is Reducing Energy Consumption. Teaching students to conserve energy introduces them to the value of energy efficiency. Students can see how reducing their energy consumption can have a daily impact on their school and home energy use.

Here are some activities and lesson plans that THE GREEN TEAM has created or collected around Reducing Energy Consumption:

  • THE GREEN TEAM Light Bulb Energy Efficiency Lesson: Aligned with Massachusetts curriculum standards, this lesson plan, answer key, and pledge card encourages students to calculate the impact of switching to more energy efficient light bulbs as an action to prevent climate change.
  • Cambridge Energy Alliance Energy Efficiency Lesson Plans: This document compiles a number of activities and lesson plans on energy efficiency, organized by activity length and topic. Easily adaptable for home use, these lesson plans engage students with hands-on projects on subjects such as wind energy, energy conservation, and insulation. Though there is mention of CFLs being energy efficient, students should know that LEDs can be more efficient.
  • Energy Vampire Hunt from the Earth System Science Education Alliance: Students will learn how devices use energy at different stages of activity and identify what electronics are considered energy vampires.

Food Waste Reduction Activities and Lesson Plans

Original post from The Green Team  – 
April 09, 2020

Welcome to the first edition of our weekly eblast sharing environmental education resources that your students can do from home. We hope these emails will help support efforts to engage your students in remote learning while schools are closed.

This week’s featured topic is Food Waste Reduction. Many families purchased extra food in the rush to stay well stocked at home, or are trying to stretch the food they have available to last longer. Now is a great moment for your students to learn about methods of reducing wasted food and composting food scraps.

Here are some activities and lesson plans that THE GREEN TEAM has created or collected to teach your students about the importance of composting and food waste reduction:

  • THE GREEN TEAM Compost Lesson: In this lesson plan, students will learn how soil organisms recycle organic wastes through composting. It has been aligned with Massachusetts curriculum standards for Math, English Language Arts, and Science & Technology/Engineering. Also, check out this quick and easy compost guide: Composting is Easy!
  • Waste-Free Snacks Challenge: As part of the Green Education Foundation’s Waste Reduction Challenge, this activity asks students to think critically and analyze the waste produced from their daily snacks and lunch, and invites them to explore alternatives that generate less packaging and food waste.
  • Save the Food: This website, sponsored by the AdCouncil and National Resource Defense Council, includes tools, tips, practical guidance on how to reduce food waste through proper planning and storage techniques, and impactful videos.

Watch The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry:

The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry

Follow the journey of a strawberry from the farm to the refrigerator to understand all that it takes to bring your food to you. Did you know that 40% of our food ends up wasted? Wasted food is the single largest contributor to landfills in the US—not to mention that it wastes water, labor, fuel, money, & love!

Student Voice: “Bigelow Green Team presents to the School Committee”

On Monday, Jan 13, the Bigelow Green Team went to the School Committee meeting and spoke about their initiatives and concerns. 

“Thank you for listening about how we are trying to make Bigelow more sustainable and reduce Bigelow’s carbon and plastic footprints. Our team first organized in the spring of 2019, and we have already accomplished a lot.

We have ordered anti-idling parking signs from the state to be placed around our school, and they are getting posted soon! Bigelow now collects and recycles markers through Crayola’s ColorCycle program.  In October, we sent over 600 old markers to Crayola for recycling. We placed a paper only recycling bin in the copy room for teachers to better ensure the paper gets recycled. We are working with the custodial staff to solve the problem of incorrect items placed in the recycling bins, as these bins all get emptied into the trash. We are planning an Advisory Activity to better educate the Bigelow community about the choices they make and how this impacts our environment. We wrote a letter to Christine Flutie at Whitsons about our concerns.  We heard back with pretty discouraging news that none of our requests or ideas are being considered. It sounds like this is mostly due to cost issues.

Our first concern is that Meatless Mondays are full of meat! Today is supposed to be Meatless Monday, and sausages were served for lunch. More bottled water options seems to have INCREASED single-use plastic waste at Bigelow.  And plastic utensils are still offered at each meal. We have not seen the reusable food containers that Whitsons promised, and also they have added even more plastic containers to some of the lunches. For example, burgers used to have a wrapper, and now sometimes they are placed in wrappers and then inside a plastic box too.

Thank you for listening to our initiatives and concerns.”

See presentation here: Bigelow Green Team 1_13_20