Earth Day 2020 at The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) was a memorable week-long celebration. Residents and teachers enjoyed hands-on activities focused on reusing, recycling and reducing.
Teachers at BRC’s school always create engaging lessons for residents that provide quality academic instruction and support their treatment plans. Earth Day offers excellent examples of this strategy for all grade levels.
Elementary-age residents listened and danced to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by Jack Johnson. They talked about the ways they do these things – throw trash in trash cans, reuse paper, and share clothes with their siblings and cousins.
Children painted Planet Earth pictures using their thumb print – leaving their positive print on Earth – and made promises to keep their planet safe. They put learning into action by visiting the playground and safely picking up trash.
“I want my students to remember the decisions they make matter. They can make a difference in taking care of their planet. We learned that no task is too small,” said Michele Young, lead elementary teacher. “Reducing, reusing and recycling are things they can do to love and care for their home.
“One of my students discovered trash on his way back to school and said, ‘I am going to pick up that trash and throw it away. I want to take care of our planet. Don’t be a litterbug!’ He used a napkin to pick up the trash and washed his hands. He was very proud of himself!”
Middle and high school age residents chose from among several Earth Day projects. These included creating informational posters, PowerPoint presentations, songs and poems.
Christine Kennard, science teacher, focused her lessons on gardening and sustainability. She guided residents in hands-on work in BRC’s garden as well as learning about plants and plant growth.
“One of my main goals was to show them they are capable of producing their own food and to show them how to ‘think outside the box’ with upcycling and repurposing,” she said.
Her students spent two days in the garden to observe plant life and insects, using technology, such as Google Lens, to take pictures and help identify plants and insects.
“We successfully cleared out the garden beds, and my homeroom class planted two rows of corn. We’ll be planting the rest of the garden when the weather clears,” she said. “Most classes planted seeds earlier in the year, and students have been taking care of them in the classroom.”
In art class, teen residents made recycled and upcycled items using materials from around campus and from home. Some of the girls made outfits and bags, while the some of the boys created animals and sculptures.
“We wanted to show our students the continued usefulness of items that we so quickly discard,” said art instructor Brien Egan. “They really enjoyed making clothing and other items.”
To continue the fun and emphasize the lesson, students also planned to do a show and tell/fashion show to display their creations, he added.
Learn more about BRC’s education program.