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Do the Green Thing

School: Capital City Public Charter School

City/State: Washington, DC

Grade(s): 7, 8

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

7th and 8th grade students at Capital City Public Charter School created this guide to energy efficiency as the capstone project to a seven-month expedition on Green Building. During this expedition students worked under the guidance of an interdisciplinary team of teachers (science, humanities, math and art) to learn about smart energy use. Through partnerships with the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as input from a green building expert, Capital City’s students explored the problem of overconsumption alternatives.

During the course of this expedition, students visited the National Building Museum where they worked together to build a structure with various “green” features such as passive solar lighting, bamboo and recycled carpet floors, various types of insulation and a water collection system.  On “Energy Expert Day” students met with experts to learn the pros and cons of energy sources including biofuel, coal, nuclear, hydropower, geothermal, wind, solar, natural gas and geothermal energy. Students also participated in a daylong canoeing trip, and planted wetland plants in a rejuvenation area in the tidal zone of the Anacostia River. The expedition ended with a trip to Sidwell Friends LEED platinum-rated middle school building. 

The students used the information gathered through these experiences to put together this book and present it to the Capital City Board of Trustees and builders/architects as part of their recommendations on green features that they would like to include in the new Capital City school facility, currently under construction.  

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Presenting their work to the Board of Trustees allowed students to have an authentic voice in the future of their school’s physical surroundings
  • Solid scientific instruction strengthened the student’s resolve and their ability to articulate why and how the school could “go green”
  • A strong example of a science expedition with tie-ins in humanities, math and art
  • Focusing on an issue that is current and relevant to student’s lives is motivating and inspiring

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums to present an idea.
  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey ideas and concepts using relevant information that is carefully selected and organized.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use the writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • I can use technology to collaborate with others while producing and publishing writing.
  • I can use a standard format for citation.
  • I can build on other’s ideas during discussions.
  • I can use effective speaking techniques (appropriate eye contact, adequate volume and clear pronunciation).
  • I can integrate multimedia components and visual displays in a presentation to clarify information, strengthen claims and to add emphasis.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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