Barbara Orr is an educator at Freedom Intermediate School located in Franklin, Tennessee, where she teaches 6th grade Science. Each year the Honors Science students enter a national competition in order to make a positive difference in the world. This year, the students chose to do the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.
Orr’s Science class had six different project topics – Composting in the School, Wind Energy for Parking Lots, Saving the Honey Bee, Recycle E-Waste, Recycle Cartons!, Radon the Silent Killer, and Keep the River Clean – Build A Rain Garden. The objective of the project was for each student group to choose an environmental problem within the community, that they would be able to change for the better.
Orr believes that the environmental project was very impactful for her and the 6th grade students. “This is the first time the sixth grade students have attempted a project of this magnitude. They observed and researched various environmental concerns around the community before selecting their topic. All of the students interested in the same topic formed a project group. Then the real work began; they researched the problem, formed a local solution and educated the community on the needed behavior change,” Orr explained, “They had to learn to make a daily work plan, assign task, trust their team members, meet deadlines, speak with professionals, and speak to the public. They realized they could accomplish their goal and that adults would listen to their ideas. One group has the opportunity for a permanent change, as they will work with the City of Franklin Parks Department and the City of Franklin Storm Water Department to build a model rain garden in one of the city parks. The rain garden the team constructs in cooperation with the City of Franklin, will serve as a model for the community to see and duplicate the process in their backyard. ”
Each year, Orr, as the project manager of several different topics, has the opportunity to assist with all of the projects and join in on the research process. “For the first time this year, groups presented their research and projects at the Farmers Market. The outlet for sharing the project information turned out to be the perfect place to engage and educate the community about environmental topics and issues in the Franklin community and beyond,” Orr added.
Watch the video of Barbara Orr and her class at the Farmers Market: Freedom Intermediate School Science Class
DEN STARs, do you have a passion project that you’re working on that deals with important issues affecting k-12 students? Are you and your students striving to make a difference? I would love to hear from you! Contact Ariana Taylor via email at Ariana_Taylor@discovery.com to be featured during #MakeADifferenceMonday.