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.