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DAIS 5th Grade Steps Towards Sustainability

In Mid-January, our 5th grade class taught Chinese students visiting from Harbin and Dalian, about the 17 Goals for sustainable development. The 17 Goals are 17 problems around the world that the United Nations decided that need to be solved by the year 2030. Our experience teaching the kids was extraordinary. It made us think about how important our community is and how pressing it is to tell everyone about the 17 goals for sustainable development. We were thrilled, and they were very interested in learning about how the goals connect to the Compass points, [S]ociety, [W]ellbeing, [N]ature and [E]conomy. We were excited to teach them activities that created community between us. We played the Hula Hoop game, the Compass points and the 17 Goals. We were halso impressed to learn that the visiting students shared their own ideas on how to work on the goals and how to connect to the Compass points.

After introducing the children to the 17 Goals, we were spilt into 4 groups, each with a big triangular piece of paper. The triangles represented the Compass points, [N]ature, [E]conomy, [S]ociety, and [W]ellbeing. Compass points, as I said are [N]ature, [E]conomy, [S]ociety, and [W]ellbeing. Nature is plants, organisms, geography and atmosphere around us. Economy is money. Societies are communities, and wellbeing is your health and moods. They have many connections between each other too. Each group had to put in topics for their point. For example, countries and cities fit into society. After the students got the main idea of what the Compass was, I was ready to explain to the kids the connections between the Compass points and air pollution as an example. First, I asked the students questions but I was just about to speak, a girl raised her hand. I didn’t expect this, but she had made all the connections herself, from having no wellbeing, effecting economy, and so on. I was shocked and impressed! I never knew any of the kids would understand this before I explained it. I think that the kids enjoyed learning about the Compass points, and I hope that they continue to think about them, and consider how their future actions affect the Compass.

Next we played the Hula Hoop game. In the Hula Hoop game, the Harbin students and our 5th grade class had to work together to get the hula hoop to the ground. It is not that easy, just as it is not easy to create a sustainable world with balance. To play the game, you need one hula hoop per group and one strip of paper per person. You put the strip of paper on your finger and lift the hula hoop. You then bring the hula hoop down, but if a group member’s strip of paper falls off, or if the hula hoop drops, then you need to start all over again. The purpose of this game was to show that the ecosystem isn’t always balanced. It can sometimes be imbalanced. My connection to the Hula Hoop game and the Harbin students was surprisingly strong. It turns out that we are all similar in some way. We are all human, we are children, we are connected and we are the future heroes of Earth.

Over all the students seemed very curious and interested in our activities and that made us feel proud of ourselves. As a class we were reminded how the 17 Goals are problems that we can all solve if we work together. We had a fabulous experience teaching the kids from Harbin and Dalian. After they departed back to their school, as our fifth grade class reflected on our experience we felt proud of ourselves because as we taught our visitors we worked towards Goal # 4 “Education” and Goal # 17 “Global Partnerships”. We felt encouraged to continue to create change in our community through sharing and teaching others about sustainability. Stay tuned for our next project to make the world a better place.

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