Eighth Graders Envision Plans for a Sustainable Future
Cumulative projects showcase student collaboration and creativity.
Crossroads’ Alley was bustling with ingenuity, dedication and promise on Thursday, Dec. 16. After a trimester of work in their Core classes, eighth graders shared an impressive array of interactive projects—featuring fact-filled poster boards and handcrafted models—inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Addressing poverty, climate action, gender equality and other pressing issues, the students presented their innovative solutions to peers, faculty, staff and parents over two sessions throughout the day.
“This is project-based learning. Students are the drivers of their own curiosity,” said eighth-grade Core teacher Josh Adler, who partnered with colleagues Ebony Murphy-Root and Julian Laurent to develop the cumulative project. “The students created their own learning opportunities by investigating, experimenting and exploring. I’m in awe of the quality of their work and the quality of their research.”
Eighth graders Jessie Greene and Ruby Schur proposed the idea for an organization called the Street Heart, which would provide art supplies to people currently unhoused and then help the artists sell their work. “I’m an artist. … I don’t know where I’d be without art. Those who make art are more likely to achieve plans because it works your mind and body so well,” explained Ruby of the project’s inspiration. “It was shocking to see how rapidly the numbers [of unhoused people] have increased over the years.”
In response to the UN’s goals of “Life on Land,” “Life Below Water,” and “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” classmates Connor Weinhouse and Maccabee Cohen created models using papier-mâché and repurposed objects to illustrate the problems of deforestation, hunting and ocean pollution. Their poster encouraged people to recycle or compost their waste.
Chris Farnsworth, father of eighth grader Caroline and fifth grader Daphne, was one of the many parents to return to campus for the first time in over a year to see their children’s work. “It’s fantastic [to be in the Alley] and see everybody again,” he reflected. “I was really impressed with the research the kids did and also how some of the kids took something from their immediate school environment and created an actionable project that they could do to change the school itself.”