Aiken Elementary is a certified South Carolina Green Steps school! Each year, we work on six projects that focus on conserving, protecting, and restoring our environment. In each project, students work with our community partners and mentors to "learn, do and teach" their classmates, families, and community about sustainable living. Please check out the projects below to learn about the wonderful things happening at Aiken Elementary!
Our 2019-20 school year was a busy one! Our inaugural Outdoor Classroom Club and many classes worked beautifully on our Green Steps projects! As we worked, we added updated pictures and notes, but each of these projects were works in progress as we left school for our closure due to COVID-19. We put our heads together and decided to take our learning home with the first (and hopefully not last!) AES Green Steps Spirit Week!
Check out how we started our awesome projects at school and finished them at home with the help of our families and school community below!
Project #1: Classroom Gardens
Our Outdoor Classroom Club and some dedicated classes have been hard at work researching and planning their spring gardens! Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish planting when we left for closure due to COVID-19. We asked our school community to show us their gardens! Check out how our students and their families are putting their green thumbs to work!
Check out this video showing how we got this project started at AES and how we finished it with our families at home!
Project #2: Reused and Upcycled Materials Art
Students at Aiken Elementary have many opportunities to get creative with upcycled materials-in the classroom, art room, makerspace...even during Cardboard Chaos Day! Here are some fun pictures of how we reused materials and celebrated Cardboard Chaos Day at AES!
We were excited to include an Upcycled Art activity for our annual STEAM Night! Our kindergarteners even researched why reusing things is important and made information cards to hand out to everyone who came to STEAM Night! Unfortunately, we had to cancel STEAM Night due to COVID-19, so we asked our school community to help us finish this project at home. Check out this video to see how our students and families turned trash to treasure by making awesome upcycled bird feeders!
Project #3: Rain Water Collection
We were given our rain barrels during 2018-19 school year from our friends at Aiken Soil and Water. Mrs. Osborne's first graders put them together and even decorated them to get them ready for harvesting water!
During our 2019-20 school year, we found great places to put our rain barrels and they filled up fast! We had some wonderful experiments planned to see if gardens grew better with tap water or rain water we harvested from our barrels, but we were unable to finish them due to our closure from COVID-19. We asked our school community to help us finish the project during our AES Green Steps Spirit Week! Check out the video to see how our students and families created rain catchers to harvest some rain at home!
Project #4: Composting Areas
Aiken Elementary has many compost areas! We have a tumbler composter in our Outdoor Classroom and 4 vermicompost bins that 5th grade use to learn about decomposers and kindergarten uses to learn about compost as they garden.
Our kindergarten began composting leftovers from lunch each day and planned an experiment to see if gardens with compost grew better than gardens without compost. We also researched why composting is important and planned to exhibit our vermi bins at our STEAM Night! We even made information flyers to pass out to everyone who visited our exhibit! Unfortunately, we were unable to finish our experiment and hold our STEAM Night before our closure due to COVID-19. We decided to ask our families to help us finish our project by sharing how they compost at home during our AES Green Steps Spirit Week! Check out this video to learn about how AES makes compost happen!
Project #5: Outdoor Classroom and Campus Clean Up Days
We started the 2019-2020 year off right with our inaugural Outdoor Classroom Club, Dig in the Dirt Day, and our fall Outdoor Classroom Day!
Our Outdoor Classroom Club got right to work! Our club is made up of about 30 kindergarten-5th grade students who are enthusiastic and ready to take their learning outside!
We invited our school community to join us to Dig in the Dirt to prepare our Outdoor Classroom for fun and learning!