GreeND makes sustainability elementary

Author: Rachel Novick


This past semester, GreeND members brought their passion for the environment into Mr. Doug Clark’s 4th grade class at St. Adalbert’s School. Each month, Notre Dame students visited the class to teach an interactive lesson on basic energy principles and sustainable practices, focusing on sensory engagement and hands-on activities.

“The best part about the program for me was the enthusiasm that the class had for what we were teaching them,” Said Alice Griesemer ’10, one of the program organizers. “It was infectious and I always left the classroom with renewed energy to be a better environmental citizen myself.”

The objective of the program was to measurably increase the students’ knowledge about sustainability. In order to assess their impact, the GreeND members evaluated the 4th graders’ knowledge at the beginning and the end of the program by presenting images related to sustainability and recording how many the students could identify.

“We saw significant improvement in their awareness of both environmental and science concepts,” said Griesemer. “For example, the kids were able to name multiple energy sources as well as tell the difference between which sources were renewable and nonrenewable. They also identified in the assessments the importance of taking care of what we have today so that the people of the future can use it.”

At the conclusion of each month’s lesson, the students were given a “challenge” that included a reading assignment and a hands-on project and given prizes for completing their challenges. The prizes, provided by the Office of Sustainability, included reusable water bottles and Game Day Recycling magnets.