Edwards first-graders finish out week of Earth Day exploration | VailDaily.com

Edwards first-graders finish out week of Earth Day exploration

After field trip to Village Market, the students sought solutions for eliminating the use of plastic in the community

First-grade students interview Ellen Mitchell of Edwards out side of Village Market in Edwards. The students were gathering information on what people use to shop with.

The first-graders at Edwards Elementary School just had an exploratory week learning about how the community feels about the use of plastic. On Monday, the students went on a field trip to Village Market in Edwards to interview the store manager and survey shoppers about their use of plastic.

And the results are in. Although the students only had a small sample size of seven, they collected data on iPads and then went back to classroom this week to evaluate and discuss their findings. According to their data, 100% of the people surveyed own a reusable bag and five out of the seven shoppers would support a plastic bag ban in Edwards.

Ideally, Cherie Rollins, the students’ first-grade teacher, would love to take students to other area grocery stores and collect additional data to support their findings. However, with coronavirus and the school year nearing its end, she’s not sure it’s realistic.

In addition to their findings at Village Market, the students spent their week learning all about possible solutions for eliminating the use of plastic. They watched videos of other individuals innovating solutions, built games and toys out of recycled materials and even brainstormed some of their own solutions.

These solutions — which students shared with Village Market shoppers as they handed out reusable bags on Friday — included not buying items that are packaged in plastic; recycling; picking up plastic trash; not using single-use plastic water bottles; and remembering to bring that water bottle with you, according to one student.

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“It sparked hope in them because, yes, I can show videos, but these are real people that are our neighbors and that support the idea of not using plastic,” Rollins said.

It also sparked some hope with Charlie Spurgeon, the store manager at Village Market. Spurgeon, according to Rollins, began testing the strength of compostable plastic bags this week as a result of the students’ field trip.

As part of their field trip, the students had discussed the cost of the store’s different bag options with Spurgeon and according to some of the students’ evaluations, “Charlie the manager cares about Earth because he offers reusable bags at checkout, even though they cost 10 [cents] more.”

While attempting to reduce and eliminate the use of plastics is a passion of Rollins’, she impressed that this week brought in a lot of elements of learning to the students. This included using math and understanding how to read graphs, public speaking, different forms of literacy, utilizing technology and also gave the students a unique opportunity to interact with the community and act as problem solvers.

“They are our future,” Rollins said. “I kind of passed the baton to them and just impressed upon them that the future is seriously in their hands. I hope they fix our problem.”

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