NORFOLK — Superintendent Paul Zinni and King Philip Regional Middle School Principal Michelle Kreuzer are pleased to share that students recently worked on a project to research how climate change affects the King Philip community and how the problem can be addressed locally.
As part of her seventh grade science class, Dr. Michelle Austin had her students study climate change for approximately three weeks. The students learned the basics of the human impact on climate change by completing several activities, including exposing soil to various conditions to model the impact of greenhouse gases on temperature and looking at graphs of the changes in carbon dioxide and sea level over time.
Students watched the Boston Globe documentary “At the Edge of a Warming World,” which examines the impact of climate change on Cape Cod.
“Since often times climate change is perceived as something that impacts polar bears and penguins in some distant land, the kids were really struck by the data in the documentary,” Principal Kreuzer said. “Especially since almost every one of them has some personal experience with what they saw.”
Students also watched Greta Thunberg’s United Nations speech to remind them that Thunberg is not much older than they are and they can also have a voice in world issues.
Thunberg’s speech and involvement in world issues prompted conversation from students about what they could do. They decided that since they had learned about the impact of global warming in Massachusetts, they would reach out to local adults in positions that could take positive actions to minimize climate change.
Some students chose to write letters to KPMS Principal Michelle Kreuzer, and others wrote to Governor Charlie Baker, State Senator Rebecca Rausch and State Rep. Shawn Dooley.
To determine what they would suggest to officials, Austin’s students discussed potential areas for improvement. Students determined that minimizing greenhouse gases could be achieved in several ways, including:
- Minimizing idling: The students noticed that there is a sign outside school stating it is against state law to idle at a school. Yet, many cars do this on a daily basis as parents come to pick up kids at the end of the day. Students asked officials to enforce this rule.
- Recycling: The students noticed that while KPMS recycles in the classroom it does not in the cafeteria, and that hundreds of plastic bottles are thrown away each week. Students suggested that the school implement recycling in the cafeteria and start a “Green Club” to help recycle more.
- Minimize single-use items: Students noticed that the cafeteria uses disposable plates and disposable individually-wrapped plastic. They suggested using reusable plates and silverware that could be washed rather than thrown away.
Students also came up with ideas that everyone could implement, such as making a change to energy-efficient LED bulbs, turning off lights when not in use, and not letting the water run while brushing teeth.
Lastly, students also made a poster of a hurt Earth for the school cafeteria and posted “KPMS Cares, Help Us Save Our Planet” to bring attention to the impact of idling cars in the school driveway.