June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Root students get green


MEDINA — Tuesday night, the A.I. Root cafetorium was bursting with the excited chatter of students who had turned green.

No, these 94 students did not have a bout with nausea; rather, they’d become environmentally savvy after doing months of research on the environment and its impact on the world, said Terry Tye, a language arts teacher at the middle school who headed up the project.

As part of the assignment, students from four language arts classes had to team up and present what they’ve learned to the community during “Go Green, Root” night, from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“The kids have gone through the entire research and writing process,” Tye said. “I really wanted the kids to focus on Japan because they are so environmentally progressive. (This project) is more than just stagnant research … they’re actually taking the research and applying it.”

Matthew Brubaker (left), Austin Oshoa Webb (center) and Todd Turner work Wednesday evening on a special project at A.I. Root Middle School in Medina. The eighth-graders created a game from recycled products called “Recycle Rush.” (Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)

The students also were able to find out what the rest of the world is doing by using the Internet to communicate with other students around the world as part of the International Education and Resource Network, which focuses on “promoting world peace, world tolerance and preserving our planet,” Tye said.

Using their research, each of the students created individual family plans with three distinct self-selected preservation goals and implemented them in their homes, Tye said, giving examples like turning off the computer when it’s not being used or taking shorter showers.

“They’re presenting what they learned to the community, what it’s like in the world, how it affects the city of Medina, what their families are doing and what the community can do,” Tye said of the “Go Green, Root” event.

Several groups had PowerPoint or trivia game presentations which quizzed parents and family members on various environmental issues as they worked their way down the hall.

“Ours is ‘Go Green Trivia,’ which questions how much people know about what is going on in the world,” said eighth-grader Brittany Soltow. “You’d be surprised about what you didn’t know.”

Brittany mentioned learning about how only 10 percent of the world is farmable land, how waste in the landfills has become radioactive and dangerous, and about the impending growth of the hole in the ozone layer.

“I didn’t know a lot of that stuff,” she said, adding she has started implementing her three goals at home, which include donating clothes and recycling and reusing various items.

Eighth-grader Emerson Buckland’s group took a more traditional approach, using “Jeopardy!” as their template.

Emerson explained one of two people had to pick a number, then an environmental question was read from a card and the first person to buzz in with the right answer received a certain amount of points. But if that answer was wrong, the other player would have the opportunity to answer. He said whoever won received a piece of candy.

Global warming and pollution were a couple key issues Emerson said stuck out to him when doing his research.

“I learned about all the different types of pollutions and about global warming, overpopulation and what that can do to the environment,” he said. “My three goals are to take shorter showers, turn off the water while I’m brushing my teeth and turn off appliances and lights when I leave the room.”

He added: “Our environment is really in trouble and we need to save it or we won’t have an environment.”

While students absorbed the information, it trickled down to some parents, too.

“I learned more about different kinds of renewable energy, such as wind, solar, hydrogen and biomass,” said Peggy Stacho, whose daughter, Erin, and her teammates presented their research in a news broadcast format. “And I learned which (types of energy) would suit best for which parts of the country.”

What really piqued Erin’s interest was learning how Japan was doing a lot of things to help the environment, she said.

“They use hydrogen-powered cars and they recycle everything … things you wouldn’t think,” Erin said. She said she also enjoyed learning about the various types of renewable energy and using a giant world map to show where each type of energy is the most viable.

“It’s a lot easier to conserve energy than you think it is,” said Erin’s teammate, eighth-grader Sarah Kinch. “I’ve started conserving energy myself, like turning off the water when I’m not using it, or eating and cooking locally grown food … so there’s less traveling and gas and money used.”

Being the first time Tye has done something like this, she said she believes the project has gone very well so far. The students will continue to implement their three goals, monitor their progress and update their plans at regular intervals throughout the rest of the year, she said.

“I’m so proud of them,” Tye said. “They’re great kids.”

Shofar may be reached at 330-721-4044 or cshofar@ohio.net.