sustainability [suh-stey-nuh–bil-i-tee] – Environmental Science. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance
Over the past ten weeks, 7th graders at BFA Fairfax have been studying the concept of sustainability across their four core classes of study. In this interdisciplinary unit, students built upon knowledge from the environmental, political, agricultural, and economic perspective of what sustainability means. Our team’s Core Idea, or Enduring Understanding, throughout the unit was:
“As population grows, humans consume more resources on Earth, and this has negative and positive effects on ecosystems and communities of people.”
Throughout the unit, students dug deep to unearth the differences between industrial agriculture and sustainable agriculture in Language Arts class. In Science and social studies, they flipped the school upside down counting papers, plastics, and other waste consumption at BFA Fairfax. They met with building supervisors to find out the total amounts of fossil fuels used and bus mileage over the course of one school year. This was all in part to find out the school’s annual CO2 emissions and tally a Carbon Footprint for BFA-Fairfax. Students determined that the school emits roughly 966 metric tons of CO2 per year.
In social studies, they studied population dynamics related to demographics analyzing population trends, carrying capacities, birth and death rates, as well as other relative data points to gather information about population growth.
The final, culminating project asked students to research a wide variety of sustainability-themed issues occurring around the globe – issues that stretched from the BFA-Fairfax community solar panel discussion to the Arctic ice sheets, Syrian refugees, Australian koalas, and the Maldives, a small atoll nation in the Indian ocean.
Their goal was to analyze a complex, contemporary problem through the lens of sustainability, population dynamics, and human impact on the environment. Students produced well-researched informational essays and located and analyzed data pertaining to their problem.
On Wednesday, March 30, the seventh grade put on a gallery walk, inviting teachers, students, parents, and community members to see the results of their research. It was a hit, and we are proud of their efforts and learning during this engaging unit. We hope to sustain this valuable learning experience for students in years to come
BFA Seventh Grade Team – Ashley Klein, Dana Hamm, Chris Palmer & Ben Psaros