Benchmarking

Hands on Plastic

Hands of Plastic (HOP) is a kit created by the American Chemistry Association to aid teachers in teaching their children about plastic in school. This seems like a great resource in terms of plastic education, but doesn’t seem to focus as much on the sustainability issues that plastic presents. The kit seems much more chemistry based than anything that we are trying to focus on. It will be helpful to read about the information that this kit will provide us with, particularly with how it follows the Science Standards required for teachers to teach their students.

“HOP science education investigation kits contain everything you need to design and implement a thorough and engaging investigation into the chemistry and the characteristics of plastics. The original HOP science curriculum kit was developed by the National Middle Level Science Teachers Association (NMLSTA), produced by the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and distributed to more than 30,000 teachers nationwide. A nominal charge for the kit materials and shipping can allow the Council to continue providing valued and long-lasting science tool.”

http://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Education-Resources/Hands-on-Plastics-Jr

EarthShare

EarthShare is National non-profit federation that connects people and workplaces with ways in which they can support crucial environmental causes and charities. They have created a program called EarthShare @ Work, that gives employees opportunities to connect, contribute and volunteer by spreading awareness and taking sustainable action at work and home. EarthShare helps causes having to do with climate change and energy, environmental health, environmental education, greening business, land conservation, parks, and planning, water and wildlife protection.

There is an interesting section on the website that goes into detail on environmental education. Teachers in the Ilsesboro, Maine school district have decided to take a new approach to teaching kids about the environment. Growing up in a tech-savvy world, kids are exposed to technology at a younger age, so teachers have decided to incorporate this into their curriculum. By combining the traditional method of learning of textbooks with the new age technologies that kids are being exposed to, teachers can offer their students a more familiar way of learning while integrating an actual outdoor atmosphere as well.

While exploring the environment around them, the students are given digital cameras and tablets, in order to upload images and actually document their findings on a website. The students receive feedback from real life experts on their findings which allows them to further study and take interest in their findings. Having this website created by kids be available to the public really starts to get the community involved and lets them know that their local schools are creating a positive atmosphere, while getting others to notice a good cause.

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.30.19 PM

Nature Watch

Nature-Watch provides educational nature products and craft activity kits designed to teach children about nature. Since 1987 Nature-Watch has provided environmental science curriculum and nature craft projects to thousands of schools, camps, museums, nature centers, park and recreation programs, zoos, libraries, after-school programs, scouts and many others. Their hands on educational materials and crafts engage, enlighten and enliven the learning experience for children while being a great resource of nature instructional materials for indoor and outdoor educators.

In addition to hundreds of hands-on nature education products, Nature-Watch has developed 50 Nature Craft Kits aligned with National and State Education Standards.  Instructors appreciate the educational value of Nature-Watch craft kits while children think they are FUN!

This will be a hugely beneficial resource for us as we consider the different options that we have in regards to what we would want to include in our own “kits” for kids. While Nature-Watch does offer a product very similar to what we hope to create, their products don’t seem to be quite as aimed to an “after school / do on your own” type of environment. We want our kits to be educational and fun, but also aimed at a group of kids that would be doing the projects on their own, because they want to, not because they are doing it in a classroom environment. We hope that developing a full brand with a “character” as the face of our brand will really help to engage and encourage the kids to really fall in love with the activities and main ideas.

Nature-Watch provides educational nature products and craft activity kits designed to teach children about nature. Since 1987 Nature-Watch has provided environmental science curriculum and nature craft projects to thousands of schools, camps, museums, nature centers, park and recreation programs, zoos, libraries, after-school programs, scouts and many others. Our hands on educational materials and crafts engage, enlighten and enliven the learning experience for children while being a great resource of nature instructional materials for indoor and outdoor educators.

http://www.nature-watch.com/

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

KCBLogoForWeb

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that decreases litter and blight, promotes sustainability, and cultivates community pride through education and beautification. They help residents improve their neighborhoods and the environment by providing innovative programs and resources, leveraging partnerships, and organizing volunteer events.

The organization offers schools free assemblies on the topics of water conservation, littering, and recycling as well as classroom presentations (focusing on Environmental Outreach, Litter Prevention, and Recycling) and field trips to places such as the Rumpke Landfill, Burnett Woods Trailside Nature Center, and the Materials Recovery Facility.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful also runs a program called Sustainability In Action (SIA), which supports sustainability initiatives identified by Cincinnati Public Schools as well as encourages student and faculty participation in green practices. They combine a hands on approach with environmental lessons to give students the tools and understanding they need to continue green behavior at home, on the playground, and with their neighbors. 

Since the pilot year, we have shifted the focus of SIA to creating a cohesive sustainability plan for all 54 Cincinnati Public School buildings. To start, KCB, Rumpke Recycling and CPS began implementing a district-wide single-stream recycling program! All schools are now equipped with the proper receptacles, supplies, and information to make recycling successful and cost effective. KCB is in the process of helping each school build a recycling program that fits the needs of their students and staff. 

While Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is definitely doing awesome things in Public Schools to promote environmental awareness and sustainability, it seems more “at school” focused. Hopefully we can take a lot of their teaching methods, subject matter, and ideas to help us make kits for kids to take home and work on outside of school.