In partnership with the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), Science in Society developed a new afterschool curriculum, called Eco-Stars, focused on sustainability and recycling. Using a design thinking approach, the curriculum guides middle school students at Bateman Elementary as they evaluate classroom recycling rates and design methods to improve the amount of quality recycling taking place in the school building.
Eco-Stars was originally piloted in 2011 at Gurrie Middle School through the K-12 Sustainability Council, a group of Northwestern University graduate and undergraduate mentors. The council worked with 40 of Gurrie’s seventh and eighth graders to develop, implement, and evaluate best practices for sustainable energy use. The initiative’s first year culminated with a spring visit to Northwestern’s Ford Engineering Design Center and the student-run vegetable garden at the Norris University Center, Wild Roots. The K-12 Sustainability Council was funded by the Siemens Corporation.