We have started to refine our moodboards a bit more, getting specific with color palette, imagery and style.
In order for us to begin creating the face of our brand, we wanted to ask some kids who their favorite cartoon characters were and why. Here are the drawings we collected from a 3rd grade class.
Some of their favorite characters/cartoons included:
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Ultimate Spiderman
- Adventure Time
- Tom & Jerry
- Wild Krats
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- PacMan and the ghostly adventures
- Randy Cunningham 9th grade ninja
We were able to ask the teacher some questions as well about what they are learning in regards to the environment.
Is sustainability currently a focus at all in your classroom?
“We just had a Duke Energy assembly about natural resources: saving and sustainability.
Are there any inititives in place to promote sustainability? (Such as recycling, turning off lights when leaving the room, no littering rules, etc.)
“We recycle daily. We always turn off the lights when we leave the classroom and talk about ways to be a good citizen. (ie: not littering, recycling, etc.)
Are there any materials that you feel would be beneficial for you to have that would help better educate students on the topic of sustainability?
“Posters, games, assemblies.”
Do you feel like there are particular topics regarding sustainability and general care for the environment that are not being met by the current curriculum?
“I feel like we only touch on it in social studies and science.”
What do your students currently learn in science class?
“Matter, natural resources, animals, seed/plant life cycles, food chain.”
When asked to raise their hands if they learned about the environment and sustainability at home, only one student out of the 22 student classroom raised their hand. I think this backs up our problem statement completely, showing their is a huge lack of communication at home when it comes to taking care of your surroundings. The 3rd grade class seemed to know a bit more about the environment, pollution, littering etc. but still didn’t have the exact knowledge on why they shouldn’t do it and what the effects could be.
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.
Mrs. Suzcek’s first grade class was asked how they help to take care of the earth. The following drawings are their responsive journal entries.
Is sustainability currently a focus in your classroom?
We recycle and will read books about recycling. At the start of the school year, we will be taking a trip to an apple farm where the students will be learning about plants.
Are there any initiatives in place to promote sustainability?
recycling, lights off when leaving the room, half lights off during the day, saving paper, using scraps. We will be having someone come in from Ohio Soil and Water to talk to the students.
Are there any materials that you feel would be beneficial for you to have in the classroom to help students better understand sustainability?
interactive games, games that demonstrate the importance
Do you feel that there are particular topics regarding sustainability and the environment that are not being met by the current curriculum?
Each grade level has different standards and topics to learn about. First grade focuses more on the scientific process. Next will be the environmental unit.
What do your students currently learn in science class?
Scientific process, observation, prediction, etc. Physical change, properties of water
Do your students already seem to have an interest / knowledge of sustainable living?
Many of the students are knowledgeable about recycling because we do it at school. It seems some families recycle.
We are in the very early phases of developing our brand / packaging for this project, so now is a good time to really start considering the most appropriate ways to design for our audience. We are currently looking at designing for children ages 6-9, but are considering tightening up the gap a little.
Our age group spans a variety of reading levels, so it is important that we are aware of this fact while we develop our content and decide on the best ways to present it. The following information was found in an article titled “Typography for Children” written by Ilene Strizver:
Most children learn to read going letter-by-letter, learning which sounds go with which shapes until they can blend the sounds together to form words. This is why new readers proceed slowly and sometimes struggle with pronunciation and syllable stress.
When selecting a typeface for a children’s text, look for a warm, friendly design with simple, generous letter shapes. The counters (the enclosed shapes within characters) should be rounded and open, not angular or rectangular. Avoid non-traditional letterforms.
Typefaces with larger x-heights are generally easier to read than those with short x-heights, and this is especially true for children. For very young readers, select designs with one-story ‘a’s and ‘g’s (also called infant characters), since these are the lowercase shapes preschool and school-age children learn to write. Save the two-story versions for more experienced readers.
Either sans or serif designs can be used as long as they avoid any extremes that could impair readability. For example:
• Don’t use condensed or expanded typefaces, which make character recognition more difficult.
• Select a book or medium weight; stay away from hairline or very bold weights.
• If you plan to use italics, make sure they too are easy-to-read, and not overly condensed or stylized.
Making the Text Readable
New readers have to learn to follow words from left to right and “jump” their eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. To make this easier, set the text large (14 to 24 point depending on the typeface and age of the reader) and with very generous leading (4 to 6 points).
Make sure there is ample contrast between the type and the background. This is especially true when setting light type against a dark background, as is common in heavily illustrated children’s books. When setting more than one paragraph on a page, consider using line-spaces instead of indents to separate paragraphs. This gives the text and the reader a visual break.
Headlines and Titles
Headline or title type gives you the opportunity to be more playful in style, color and layout, since there are fewer words to read. Decorated typestyles, lots of color, and curved and jumping baselines can all be used to attract and entertain the young reader. Keeping it light and fun is the key to keeping a young reader interested and turning pages.
The following information was provided by Gerry Gaffney and James Hunter
Early Primary Years
- Use text redundantly with images so that pre-literate users can access your product.
- Use simple text.
- Use fonts that approximate how children learn to write. For example, many fonts use “a” and “q” in variants that do not match how some children are taught to write those letters.
- Do not use dialog boxes.
- Don’t require explicit “save” operations. Save work automatically.
- Exclude extraneous content.
- Provide highly interactive and engaging applications.
- Avoid visually noisy interfaces – they are distracting.
- Provide large target areas.
- Allow children to personalise.
- If applications will be used on a smartboard, do not use a footer that can be accidentally activated by children leaning against the surface.
- Avoid errors.
- Support cooperative use, with two or more children using your product at the same time.
- Design to support teachers and parents or guardians, who are likely to be assisting or supervising usage.
Later Primary Years
- Use simple text.
- Provide content that appears more “grown up” than that for early primary years.
- Provide time-saving shortcuts.
- Leverage knowledge children may have from social media and popular games.
- Avoid appearing to patronise.
- Apply sensible defaults.
Sarah (8 years old)
Sarah is an 8 year old girl. She is in second grade at Guardian Angels School. Sarah’s typical day begins around 6:50, when her mom wakes her up. She walks downstairs and watches some morning cartoons while her mother makes her breakfast for her. After eating, she finishes up any homework that she may have forgotten to do the night before, puts on her school uniform, brushes her teeth, and heads out the door to get to her bus stop.
Once at school, Sarah puts her lunch in her cubby (her mother always packs her lunch), and sits in her homeroom desk. The second graders at her school stay in their homeroom for all of their core classes and their homeroom teacher teaches them all of the main school subjects- except for their “specials,” such as music, gym, and art, which take place once a week in different areas of the building. Right now, during the science portion of her day, Sarah is learning about the different types of animals, such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
At recess, Sarah enjoys playing with her friends. She likes tag and make believe games the most. She also really enjoys drawing and board / card games such as chess, tick-tack-toe, Uno, Amazing Labyrinth, and Guess Who. When Sarah is at home, she loves to play on the Wii. In general, she is very savvy with electronic games, similar to many other kids in her class.
Sarah enjoys playing in the woods, on jungle gyms, and climbing trees; however, after school, if she is at home with no other kids to play with, she is more likely to play a video game. Video games provide her with interactive fun and activities and are easy to understand because they are created to explain to rules and guide their users; this makes them easy to enjoy if there is no one around to play with.
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.
The following except was taken from the book Communicating Nature: How We Create and Understand Environmental Messages written by Julia B. Corbett:
We hope to target this issue with our solution. While we can’t exactly orchestrate “direct” experiences for children due to their spontaneous and undirected nature, we can help to promote a mix of “direct” and “indirect” experiences by promoting and providing activities that get children outdoors and interacting with the real world. By providing them materials to plant seeds or make a homemade terrarium, we could tap into guided indirect experiences. An aim of ours is the step away from “vicarious” or “symbolic” experiences but making interactive materials as opposed to flat resources.
Information from Keep Cincinnati Beautiful “Litter Prevention Facts” page.
Littering is a habit and prevention starts with you. Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior—choosing to litter or being careless in the handling of waste. Once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter. A clean community, by contrast, can discourage littering and improve community appearance and quality of life.
You have a role to play in preventing litter. It only takes one person, one school, one business, one organization to positively impact the behavior of others in their community.
Here’s what you need to know:
The cost of littering:
Over 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year.Most of it, 46.6 billion pieces, is less than four inches, according to KAB’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study. That’s 6,729 items per mile. While visible roadside litter has decreased by about 61% since 1969, litter is still a persistent problem. Consider these facts:
- Litter cleanup costs the U.S. almost $11.5 billion each year, with businesses paying $9.1 billion. Governments, schools, and other organizations pick up the remainder.
- Community economy and quality of life suffer. The presence of litter in a community takes a toll on quality of life, property values, and housing prices. KAB’s 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study found that litter in a community decreases property values 7%.
- Litter has environmental consequences. Wind and weather, traffic, and animals move litter into gutters, lawns and landscaped areas, alleyways, and parking structures. Debris may be carried by storm drains into local waterways, with potential for serious environmental contamination.
Who Litters and Why:
Along roadways, motorists (52%) and pedestrians (23%) are the biggest contributors to litter. Research also shows that individuals under 30 are more likely to litter than those who are older. In fact, age, and not gender, is a significant predictor of littering behavior. So why do people litter? Here’s what KAB’s 2009 Littering Behavior in America research found:
- Personal choice. Nearly one in five individuals, or 17% of all disposals observed in public spaces, littered, while 83% disposed of litter properly. And 81% of littering was intentional, e.g., flicking, flinging, or dropping. On the other hand, individuals who hold the belief that littering is wrong, and consequently feel a personal obligation not to litter, are less likely to do so.
- Litter begets litter. Individuals are much more likely to litter into a littered environment. And once there, it attracts more litter. By contrast, a clean community discourages littering and improves overall community quality of life. Availability and proximity to trash and recycling receptacles also impact whether someone chooses to litter.
- It’s “not my responsibility”. Some people feel no sense of ownership for parks, walkways, beaches, and other public spaces. They believe someone else will pick up after them; that it’s not their responsibility.
How to Put a Stop to Litter:
To eliminate litter, KAB research shows we have to address littering behavior and change the environment. According to KAB’s 2009 Littering Behavior in America study:
- About 85% of littering is the result of individual attitudes. Changing individual behavior is key to preventing litter.
- Nearly one in five, or 17%, of all disposals observed in public spaces were littering. The remainder (83%) was properly discarded in a trash or recycling receptacle.
- A strong contributor to littering is the prevalence of existing litter. About 15% of littering is affected by the environment. Litter on the ground begets more litter.
KAB’s “Pressure Points” for Behavior Change
Traditional approaches to litter, most particularly cleanup projects, work only to remove the litter and do little to prevent its recurrence. KAB attempts to deal with the root cause of the problem—littering behavior. Changing attitudes and influencing behavior are brought about most effectively using a combination of methods:
Education – Education and awareness are bedrock tools of behavior change. Think broadly in your approach. Consider tie-ins with public education conducted through youth programs, civic clubs, Chambers of Commerce, businesses, and government agencies.
Ordinances – Changing public policy through codes, laws, or ordinances is one way to change behaviors around quality of life and environmental issues.
Enforcement – Consistent and effective enforcement of existing codes, laws, and ordinances helps change behavior and reinforce the commitment to a cleaner, greener community. Work closely with local law enforcement, and be sure citizens are aware of the laws.
Tools and Resources – This can include such tangible things as a litter pick up tools, sanitation collection vehicles, graffiti removal equipment, litter or ash receptacles, recycling bins, or a pocket ashtray. It also includes strategies that encourage individuals to make different long-term choices, blending knowledge from social marketing with behavior change tools.