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Two flexible learning classes at Churchill High School joined forces to create a sweeping vision of a sustainable city.
Teachers David Law and Sandra Costa brought their Grade 7 and 8 Flexible Learning Program students together to work on the city, which incorporated recycled materials in its construction.
The city featured rooftop gardens, windmills, solar panels, geothermal cooling and heating, rainwater retention and other environmentally friendly features, as well as a concerted attempt to control urban sprawl with multi-level structures.
“Whenever you have a building, you’re losing the greenspace it was built on,” said student Dyson Descoteau. “So we’re giving back by having rooftop gardens. There are also urban farms for people to get fresh food.”
Student Hytem El Gubtan added that the rooftop gardens and greenery help to serve as a natural insulator for buildings: “For example, when the temperatures are hot outside, the green roofs will absorb that heat and keep the building cooler.”
When it came to inspiration, the teachers brought in a professional architect, as well as urban farmers to speak with students. Students also drew inspiration from buildings in their own community.
“We looked at buildings like the Manitoba Hydro building and how we could incorporate some of their features into our structures,” Mr. Law said.
The project, which involved inquiry-based learning and self-directed learning, also drew on numerous curricular areas such as math, social studies and science.
“In terms of integrating the different subject areas, these projects blend everything together in a purposeful way for the students,” Ms. Costa said. “And by having the two classes work on this, there’s a lot of collaboration and a social aspects that come out of problem solving together.”
The classes are using the project as a springboard for upcoming discussions on environmental rights.