Impact Academy students find passion in solving environmental problems

Impact Academy at Orchard Lake Elementary students from Community B spent the week of May 22 focused on how they can help plants and animals in their environments for this spring’s service learning project.

The students from all grades worked together in groups (with the help of teachers and parent

A group of students worked together to build bird houses during their service learning project.

A group of students worked together to build bird houses during their service learning project.

volunteers) to build bird houses, bee habitats and bee logs (a natural nest site for honeybees that enables them to better follow their lifecycle according to their instincts). They also performed research, edited content and created a website through Google to bring awareness about plants and animals.

“I’m enjoying how we get to put stuff on the website and help our environment,” said Jeanann Dominguez, a fifth-grader at Impact Academy, who was in the group creating the website.

The main goal of the project was for students to work to solve the problem animals and plants face in their environment in a way that was meaningful to them. For service learning projects, students are responsible for developing the topics and then they get to choose which group activity they wanted to participate in.

We hope that students connect to their learning in a way that is personalized and fills their passion,” said Bree Schlais, support specialist at Impact Academy. “They also have the opportunity to showcase their learning in a way that they decide is a good fit.”

Elaina Jorgensen, a second grade teacher at Impact Academy, said the students recently learned about littering and water usage as well as participated recently in cleaning the beach. She believes learning about those topics led the students to focus on how they can help plant and animals in their environments.

Students worked together to solve the problem animals and plants face in their environment in a way that was meaningful to them.

Students worked together to solve the problem animals and plants face in their environment in a way that was meaningful to them.

“I love seeing the students really engaged in the [service learning] projects,” Jorgensen said. “They’re creating it themselves and it makes them feel really empowered.”

The students also were excited to share information about the projects they were working on.  

“I think bees are pretty cool. I think it’s an interesting process what they do — the honey process. It takes a lot of steps and all of the bees are working together, and it’s great for the environment,” said Isaak Zimmerman, a fifth-grader at Impact Academy.

The school has three service learning projects throughout the year. Each community does one in the fall and one in the spring, and the whole school does a big outreach project in the winter. Those projects have included care bags for cancer patients, birthday bags for the children’s hospital, blankets for the Animal Humane Society and letters to U.S. troops.

Learn more about Impact Academy at Orchard Lake and the activities the students are involved in.

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