Gr. 6 class embarks on a unique project to be the change

Iroquois Public School Class of 2019 discusses its ongoing fundraiser which is part of a class movement to be the change. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

IROQUOIS – Mme. Margaret Grant’s Grade 6 class at Iroquois Public School is passionate about our environment. They are so passionate that what started out as a class discussion has turned into something much more.

Discussing the environment and the impact humanity is having on it, in a recent social studies class, started the students thinking and talking about how they can “Be the Change” and what they can do to help minimize their impact on the environment.

They talked about all the small changes they could make to help reduce the amount of garbage.

“If we don’t take action, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050,” said the students in a power point presentation they prepared. “Every bit of plastic that is not recycled pollutes our environment.”

The grade sixes were shocked at the sheer amount of single use plastic they were able to collect in just a few minutes of gathering waste in their school.

The class has challenged themselves to “be the change,” and Mme. Grant is fully behind their efforts.

In learning about reducing single use plastic they learned about two simple things that they thought could make a difference in their school. They decided that their school could reduce the amount of single use plastic it consumes if it had a water bottle refilling drinking fountain.

They found that such a fountain costs about $3,500, so they started fundraising.

Selling popcorn in paper bags and donated books in the school is helping add to their tally, but so far the most lucrative fundraiser for them is selling beeswax wraps.

Beeswax wraps are re-usable fabric wraps meant to replace plastic wrap.

The grade six class learned how to make the wraps themselves and are producing and selling the wraps.

Their product is called Keep it Fresh Bee Fresh. They designed a logo and packaging featuring instructions and ingredients lists in both French and English. They even have a quality control team who ensures the products meet their standards.

Grant is incredibly proud of the class and all they have worked so hard to achieve so far.

She said that this project was not something that she set out to do, but when she saw how excited the kids were about what they were doing and the difference they can make in their own school, it was only natural to support them. “This is all them. They wanted to do this.”

“I love how organic this project is,” said school vice principal Candy Campbell. “This has all come from the students’ interest.”

“I am so proud of these students and the work of Madame Grant,” said IPS principal Jill Pensa.

Grant was a longtime kindergarten teacher at IPS who this year is teaching grade 6.

Coming to from kindergarten to grade six, Grant’s experience in providing project-based learning for her students has meant that the grade sixes are experiencing some of that magical learning that happens.

“Great things go on in kindergarten and Margaret has brought that to our grade six class.”

The experience has ignited a great passion in these students that they will carry with them as they leave IPS and head off to Seaway next year.

Last week The Leader was welcomed into the grade six classroom where the students shared the story of this project themselves.

When the class was asked what they liked about this project, every hand of the 30 students involved with this project was raised.

Kylie liked working on the packaging and design and the team work. Olivia agreed and said that working with Kylie on the packaging was really fun. Paige agreed adding that connecting with all the people in her class was really nice.

Emily liked helping with the packaging, but her favourite part was working on the power point presentation that tells people about their project. Kamryn really liked working on the power point too. In addition to that she said that actually making the wraps was really fun too.

Sierra really liked making the wraps.

Hudson really liked grating the beeswax. Ellie agreed. Everyone said that grating beeswax is really hard work.

Alex’s favourite part was coming up with a name for the product and making the packaging.

Emma said it was really good to help spread the word about pollution and what it is doing to our oceans.

Ashton liked best how they as students got to work on the project independently, but also how they were able to help each other.

“We did it by ourselves, without the teacher leading us all the time. I liked that,” said Jenna. She added that they also put up posters around the town and picked up garbage and that was good too.

“We each got to have a say,” said Savannah.

“We were all able to help and I really liked that,” said Connor.

So far, the class has raised over $600 through all of their efforts; about half of that is from the beeswax wraps sales.

Their first run of wraps produced is nearly sold out, but the class will continue to make more as time allows.

The Grade six class of 2019 hopes to have all the funds raised for the water bottle refilling fountain this school year so that it can be purchased and donated by their class to the school as a reminder of their time there and this project.

They welcome donations of materials such as beeswax, parchment paper and cotton fabric to help them continue to make the wraps.

Also, donations funds towards the purchase of the fountain, are welcome and encouraged.

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