Hawthorn students come up with solutions to international issues
Aug 06, 2019 12:54PM
By Julie Slama
During Hawthorn Academy’s primary years programme night, fifth graders showcased how they explored real-life issues and took a step to solve them. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
It may have looked like a typical school event, with students ready to present their tri-folds and share what they’ve learned. But with a closer look, these 90 Hawthorn Academy fifth graders explored real-life issues and took a step to solve them.
“This is a cumulative project for students to use the skills they’ve learned, pick a worldwide subject, research it and come up with a solution,” fifth grade teacher Autumn Sutton said. “We’re an IB — international baccalaureate —school, so they’re showing what they’ve learned in their primary years programme and connecting it to the world.”
The primary years programme combines the knowledge, concepts, skills and action for elementary-age students to be involved in an engaging learning that extends to their community and world. It is part of the International Baccalaureate program, which is recognized worldwide.
Sutton said small groups worked on the four-week project, where they practiced inquiry skills, self-management, group skills, oral and visual presentation and reflection. They also were asked to create art to accompany the project.
Fifth grader Hailey Gritton teamed up with Kyleena Ballash and Sophia Kitterman to research child neglect.
“I learned so much about why people neglect kids,” Hailey said. “Sometimes, parents work so much, they don’t realize they’re neglecting them, but sometimes it’s on purpose.”
She said that the group created a Google slide presentation to teach others what neglect is as well as wrote a children’s book about a girl named Holly, who was neglected until she told an adult friend and got the help from child services to go live with an aunt.
“We read the book to other classes so they can learn what it is and know how to get help for someone if they ever need to,” Hailey said.
Nearby classmates Oliver Steele and Adam Simons, who along with Samuel Forsgren and Alton Jackson, learned about emergency preparedness and made up a 72-hour kit to teach others about it so they could have their own supplies ready if needed.
“We learned about earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes, and realized many people aren’t ready or don’t have all the things they need in one place,” Oliver said after the group researched several websites. “More people die if they aren’t prepared.”
“They should learn how to prepare for an emergency and how to survive with a 72-hour kit and what is needed for it,” he said. “Everyone should know where it is so if they need to, they can grab it and go.”
Teamir Tadesse, Wesley Grant and Keaton Heiner teamed up to address light pollution.
“Light pollution is unwanted,” Teamir said. “One hundred years ago, people could see the Milky Way from a city. Now, street lights and other lights pollute the sky. We should use shades to make the street lights shine down on the pavement rather than light up the sky.”
Wesley learned that 80% of the world has light pollution.
“Some kids can’t even see the stars in the sky,” he said.
The team learned light pollution can be dangerous to animals who hibernate or interfere with their internal nocturnal clocks.
The group is thinking of sharing what they learned and ways to reduce light pollution not just with their peers but with South Jordan City Council, Keaton said.
At another table nearby, Sahrene Watson, Alyssa Tingey and Anja Leigh decided to help end homelessness.
First, the girls looked at the cause, then ways it was connected to other issues, before coming up with their ideas.
“We learned that a lot of people on the street because of poverty,” Sahrene said. “Sometimes, living on the streets results in more problems, like health issues.”
Alyssa said not having enough money for basic living expenses can lead to significant issues.
“Poverty can lead to homelessness,” she said. “If there isn’t enough money to pay for food or pay the bills, it may result in people living on the street. Sometimes, people don’t have enough money because they don’t have jobs.”
Sometimes, it’s because they don’t have education or transportation, she added.
Anja said they wanted to do something to help.
“We know we can’t solve it, but we can help,” she said. “We looked online and saw shelters that need supplies like clothes or food. Socks and underwear are always in need. Lotion is great for dry hands and preventing soreness. We passed out fliers, and some classmates brought donations here at school. Even if we can’t donate everything they need, we can always smile, say something nice and show them that we care.”