Hewitt News

Eighth Graders Investigate Sustainable Production and Consumption
Hewitt News

In alignment with the first commitment of our strategic vision, Hewitt is redesigning learning around thorny, interesting, real-world problems. One example of this redesigned approach is our middle school minimesters, which are opportunities for students to immerse themselves in deep, transdisciplinary study around local issues. Each week-long minimester incorporates reading, writing, mathematical reasoning, and historical or scientific inquiry and gives Hewitt students opportunities to be changemakers who take meaningful action both in and out of school.

During their minimester, eighth graders immersed themselves in a study of the United Nations’ goal to ensure sustainable production and consumption. This week of student-led, hands-on learning was dedicated to answering an essential question: What can students do within the Hewitt community to make a positive impact on our material footprint? The eighth grade spent the week investigating sustainability and student-driven activism, with individual groups focused on the impact non-compostable plastics, e-waste, and waste created by the Covid-19 pandemic have had on our environment. 

After researching the power of community activism and the lasting negative effects of certain kinds of waste, each group collaborated on ways to address the real-world issue of sustainable consumption at The Hewitt School. Working in teams, students generated ideas for spreading awareness about sustainable consumption including establishing an on-campus e-waste recycling program and encouraging all community members to bring reusable water bottles to school. Students also developed an immediate action campaign encouraging their teachers and peers to cut the ear loops off of disposable face masks before throwing them away so that they don’t harm marine life. The eighth graders presented their findings to an audience of peers, faculty, and staff, sharing their learning via displays of activist art, talk-show style panel discussions, videos, and podcasts

Three students sit at a table covered in charts and graphs

To begin their research, eighth graders analyzed infographics about the impact of electronic waste on the environment

Three students sit at a table covered in graphs and charts

Students applied what they learned about how electronic waste is generated to their essential question of how to address the real-world issue of sustainable consumption here at Hewitt

Three students stand at a whiteboard making a list of recyclable and non-recyclable plastics

Students created lists of the different types of plastic used at Hewitt and determined which plastic items could be recycled 

Two students sit across a table. A pink canvas is between them.

The students learned about the role activist art plays in communicating messages about critical social issues

Four students sit around a table working on blue and yellow posters

And used upcycled materials to create art envisioning new ways to combat the issue of plastic waste 

Five students sit on stage in front of a %22Let's Talk%22 graphic projected in yellow

Eighth graders presented their ideas about how to promote sustainable consumption at Hewitt via podcast episodes, talk show panels, and displays of activist art

“Sustainability Sister Squad” Podcast: E-Waste and the Importance of Recycling Electronics

A sample of a student-created podcast about e-waste and the importance of recycling electronics