Students Combine Arts and Innovation in Design-Thinking Challenge to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Students in sixth grade science have been studying the effects of plastic pollution on the environment. With the opening of our new dining hall, students noticed a large number of disposable water bottles being discarded every day and decided to start a campaign to eliminate the need for this single-use plastic.
The Design Challenge
Students began with a question: “How might we motivate students and teachers to bring their own reusable water bottles to the dining hall?”
The Design Goal
To reduce the number of disposable water bottles used at Benchmark to zero by next year.
The Design Plan
With the help of our art teacher Mrs. Fox and technology tools like CANVA, the students designed and created a sculpture made of discarded water bottles to draw attention to the problem. This sculpture and educational installation is currently on display in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center.
Students are preparing slides that explain the urgency of taking action to solve this problem, and they will present this information to each classroom in the lower school and middle school.
In February and March, students will run a contest between the orange, blue, and green houses to see which house can score the most points for remembering to bring a reusable water bottle to the lunchroom each day.
This design challenge has given the students many opportunities to work together to solve problems while being guided through the steps of the design thinking process. They are very proud to be making an impact in solving a real problem in the world today.
What the Student Problem-Solvers Say
“My favorite part of this project was building all of the parts and signs for the sculpture.”
-Kate Monahan '22
“I am looking forward to seeing the whole school start to use reusable water bottles; I am so happy this project got so far.”
-Astrid Davis '22
“My favorite part of this project so far is doing teamwork with my friends to make this project happen.”
-Ben Russell '22
When you visit the PAC lobby, be sure to examine the powerful installation—and bring your own reusable bottle!