Until now, this unit of inquiry “How We Organize Ourselves” was the most challenging unit of the year, and I could say it was also the most interesting one, as I experienced highs and lows. We learned about all the solid waste management systems, and how we affect ourselves and the society through irresponsible waste management.
We started off reading books and watching videos related to this unit. Two of my favorite books were “Just A Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg, starring a young boy named Walter, and he learns the importance of preserving the environment when he has terrible dreams of a future Earth devastated by pollution. My other favorite was a classic Dr. Seuss, The Lorax, and here is a video of it. Link Our literacy unit, persuasive writing, was very much connected to our inquiry. Because we had to write a persuasive text for our summative assessment, we had to learn the correct structure. We did a skeletal outline of a persuasive text, and we spent most of our time at this useful website.
I learned lots from this unit, because I got to research different types of solid waste management systems (incineration, landfill, composting, reduce/reuse, recycle, and dumping). I think the most important thing I learned was perspective. For example, I used to think incinerators were black, huge, ugly, polluting machines. But now that I’ve had a chance to dig deeper and research the other side of the story, I now know that different people in society have different opinions, and incinerators are not that bad after all.
Another strategy of thinking I learned were the Thinking Hats. The Thinking Hats. There are 4 hats: Yellow, Black, Red, and White. The yellow hat is the positives hat, or the advantage hat. The idea of the yellow hat is to think of all the positives, or benefits from a situation. The Black hat is the direct opposite. As you might have guessed, the black hat is the negatives hat, where you think of all the disadvantages or problems of a situation. The white hat is the information and questions hat, and the red hat is the feelings hat.
As I said earlier, we had to write a persuasive text from the view of a person in society. I was a mayor, and I actually had to stop and think about the things a mayor has to consider, for instance, the economy, the citizen’s convenience, etc. I finally decided on arguing for composting. I spent a good deal of time researching, and I learned that there are 163 organic materials compostable, and composting can avoid methane production and leachate formation in landfills by diverting organics for composting. Now, all I can say is: This unit Rocked!