As an international educational institution, we are making increased efforts to integrate sustainable thinking and actions into everyday school life and aim to raise awareness about climate change among all students. In April 2022, in recognition of Earth Day, German International School Boston dedicated a full week to climate change and sustainability. Teachers coordinated age-appropriate activities, projects, experiments, and other learning experiences, such as field trips to expose and educate students about this critical subject.
Preschool & Kindergarten
Our youngest students engaged in a wide variety of activities, ranging from learning about animals and trees, art projects, reading a book about Greta Thunberg, and venturing out to a nearby park to collect trash. Some students made their own recycled paper, and others let their creativity and imagination run free when creating a “Müllmonster” out of trash items. Kindergarten students spend the week learning about air, energy, and food.
GISB’s elementary school team prepared many hands-on projects for their students. During ‘Upcycling’ projects, students in grades 1-3 created fabulous objects out of trash and discussed how everyday items can be recycled and re-used. Grade 3 students visited Boston Nature Center Wildlife Sanctuary to learn about local forests and meadows and enjoyed finding and drawing insects. Grade 4 stayed on campus but also learned about insects and small animals that are important for the environment. They planted bee-friendly plants at the Upper Campus and made tiny earthworm terrariums in jars. Even in art class, students engaged in climate-themed activities, for example, creating an earth mosaic out of recycled paper.
Middle & High School
Students in middle and high school had the opportunity to explore different aspects of climate change and sustainability in various subject areas. In German class, grade 5 students designed a logo for an environmental-themed day of their choice and created a video presenting their logo and sharing what they learned. What the video here. In science class, they learned how polar bears are impacted by climate change. As their final project, students could choose to create a poster, video, comic, article, or podcast to summarize what they learned. Students from grades 5 to 7 also made climate change-themed postcards after watching a movie about the effects of climate change.
GISB’s Junior and Senior students had the opportunity to think about their own future and how they can make an impact on the world while meeting virtually with Jonas Krapf, Chief Sustainability Officer at NIYU, a German event consulting company, and Cory Alperstein, Principal at Future Choice College Consulting in New York. The guest speakers discussed possible career paths in sustainability and how climate change already today influences career and college choices for the younger generation.
Students and teachers not only engaged in the topic of climate change in the classroom. Everyone at the Upper Campus also got a chance to be active during a week-long bike challenge. Students, teachers, and staff biked more than 110 km (700 miles) and saved an estimated 261 kg (575 lb) of CO2 emissions compared to using a car (source: Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club).