Two things can be said about today’s youth: they’re more tech-savvy than ever and — if last month’s climate strikes are any indication — they care about the environment.
A group of students at Vernon’s Beairsto Elementary have embodied both of those traits by creating a website designed to share information about green energy sources.
Beairsto Elementary’s three Grade 7 classes have been working in small groups since the start of the school year. The idea is get students to work together on a long-term project that will have an impact beyond the classroom.
“This idea came from some experiences I’ve had in the past with students doing small inquiry projects in class and how it really allows them to take learning in their own direction and the things that they’re interested in,” said Beairsto teacher Deborah Adam, who brought the idea to fellow Grade 7 teachers Aly Lypchuk and Billie Jo Beaudoin in August.
Classmates Isaac Willms, Kameron Beardsell, Raco Vera-Zierler, Sam Danford, Wyatt Keller and Aiden Forsyth are working together on the website, which features information pages on solar, wind and hydro energy systems.
“Aiden and I, at first, just started having discussions about solar panels and then it became bigger and bigger, and then we got to the idea of a website,” Willms said.
The more the classmates researched, the more they realized they had to expand the scope of their project.
“We got thinking, why don’t we just do green energy?” Willms said.
That idea has since germinated into a plan to link the website with the websites of green energy companies, and to make an excursion to Vancouver to do explore some of the technologies to be found there.
“One thing I like about this project is we can do something that actually interests us,” Willms said. “I know some projects, for me, don’t interest me, so I don’t put my best effort in, but with this I can do what I want to do.”
Once the website is complete, the next step will be to build an audience.
“We already have the website, now really all we need to do is grow it,” Danford said.
Adam has been impressed by the students’ self-direction, and how they’ve been able to combine their individual strengths.
“A few of them are really strong in technology so they’ve taken the lead on the website part, and some of them are stronger in research. So everyone kind of has their own strength and are bringing that to the group.”
The website is still in progress, but the students expect it to launch in December.