24 Mar, 2017
10 : 00
This week, Year 7 students conducted a schoolwide fundraiser in honor of World Water Day. In addition to a lunchtime bake sale and games, all proceeds of which were donated directly to the charity Water for South Sudan, students presented research projects on water availability and water pollution to raise awareness regarding both of these worldwide crises.
Thanks to their efforts, our Year 7 students raised over 6,000 RMB in just a few hours for this important charity, plus demonstrated their commitment to global citizenship with their inspiring projects and presentations.
According to Alana Martin, Year 7 English and Humanities Teacher and principal organizer of this event, Year 7 students have been learning about water all year, learning not just about the origins of water, water on earth, and other scientific facts, but also how water shapes the human experience.” World Water Day, and the corresponding fundraiser, served as a rally point for students to create projects based on what they’d been learning about throughout the year, motivating students to pour extra effort into their projects.
Below, with Ms. Martin’s help, we outlined just a few of the benefits that projects like these bring to our students.
Founts of Learning and Creativity
The projects were also an excellent example of the role that teachers embrace at YCIS Beijing: a supporting guide for student development rather than the central focus of a classroom. Ms. Martin remarks, “I didn’t tell them what they had to research or what they had to make. I only told them they could choose the role of publicist or innovator, then helped to guide them in conducting their research and creating their own projects.” This freedom of learning increased student enthusiasm; the students ended up really caring about what they built and put in front of their audience.
Pouring in Love and Charity
The other major goal of the project can be found in YCIS Beijng’s motto of “Align with Love and Charity.” Ms. Martin stated that she “hoped that students started to care more about and be more mindful of their water usage and global citizenship [through this project]! In the beginning, many of our kids didn’t care about the issue, but when we began looking at the reality of the human experience, particularly Sudan through the books that we read, I think it really opened their eyes and made them realize the limits to the resources that we have.” Core values at the heart of YCIS Beijing’s mission are most effectively instilled when students are engaged and motivated in projects like our World Water Day fundraiser.
Speaking with students, it was immediately clear the passion and effort they’d invested into their projects. Alfie, Caroline, and Caden, three Year 7 students who tackled the issue of water shortages in developing countries, all said that what they’d learned had changed how they’d consume water in the future: “We realized that because we live in a wealthy country, we waste a lot of the clean water we have. Now, we know a lot of things about water conservation, so little things like leaving the tap on while you brush your teeth can waste a lot of water, so we start turning the water off then. We also have learned to save water left over in our water bottles from school for later instead of pouring it out.”
Technology a Well of Knowledge for Students
The project is also a great example of how the school has seamlessly integrated technology into school projects. The Year 7 students used internet resources and multimedia tools to create a short video about their project, remarking that they chose this tool, “because it was something new; we use Powerpoint all the time so we thought this would be a better way to get people’s interest.”
For research, they used Padlet, a shared online database where they could all collect their research resources together in one place conveniently. While they used the internet for all their research needs, they were acutely aware of the need to use reliable sources: “We used .org sites like waterproject.org, searchforwater.org, and more, because those sites are normally used for education purposes. Other sites we used were websites of specific water-related charities, so we knew that information from them would also be reliable.” In an age when information is available at the press of a button from millions of different sources, the ability to differentiate between reliable and unreliable information is invaluable. Projects like this one are a great opportunity to teach our young students how to become responsible digital citizens.
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