This year at Project Green Schools we celebrate our 10th Anniversary, and we have loads of new excitement and programming for you. The idea behind this re-work has been to make it more user-friendly, as well as an active, living, breathing engagement piece. Imagine if you will a true, authentic, and fun STEM challenge that goes completely viral and sweeps the nation… nay, the world!
Why were the 12 Pathways created?
We understand that students of all ages have an innate desire to want to make a difference. Sometimes, though, the type of change they are seeking can seem a little daunting. The reasons for feeling dismayed are rather innumerable, whether we’re talking about liability motives holding them back or lack of clarity as to relevance.
Perhaps, it even ‘stems’ from today’s educational climate to want to focus on asking kids what they want to be when they grow up rather than what problems they want to solve. Whatever speculations you want to throw out there, it is clear that the whole child has not been catered to. That having been said, there IS a way to prepare for college while teaching the whole child and we seek to introduce a solution to this current dilemma in academia.
Project Green Schools seeks to cater to the whole child by cultivating the natural yearning to make a difference. We believe that natural inquiry can be described using 3 simple actions—Inspire. Develop. Lead. We design all our programs and base all our decisions with these in mind.
We wanted to create a model that guides users of the “12 Pathways” from inspiration to implementation of community-based projects. Through 3 simple actions, we seek to engage students down the Pathway to truly sustainable life on this planet we all share:
- Engage We seek to inspire students by nourishing their natural inquisitiveness and engaging them by providing them with relevant project-based learning opportunities that encourage them to think creatively to solve environmental problems at their school or in their community.
- Develop We seek to cultivate students’ desires to make a difference by providing them with opportunities to discuss ideas in order to plan a solution for how they will tackle environmental problems at their school or in their community. We further seek to connect students with teachers, administrators, and community leaders that will help in developing a plan of action.
- Lead We seek to hone students’ leadership capabilities by providing opportunities to share their solutions and lead the way to greater change in their community, as well as inspire other efforts towards sustainability in their schools/community.
How will the NEW Pathways engage students?
Our “12 Pathways to Greening Your School” were created as a way to make it easier to align students’ innate desire to make a difference in the world with their personal interests. This re-vamped model seeks to engage students (and teachers) with our Pathways and make this resource an active, living piece within their home communities. Using this as inspiration, along with the most “beloved” student fads of bottle flipping and fidget spinners, we asked ourselves “Wouldn’t it be cool to see a true, authentic STEM challenges become as wildly popular?” And so “Operation: viralSTEMchallenge” was born.
The purpose of the Viral STEM Challenge is to connect teachers and students with others across the country and to recognize outstanding work. This program offers a quick ‘idea & solution’ to a given environmental issue which will have to do with a featured “Pathway to Greening Your School.” Each month, students will receive a Debriefing about a monthly issue and will be issued a Challenge to set course on a mission to come up with a solution that their school will implement to solve the problem. To check out the details for how your school can participate, check the Guidelines here.