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Scholastic plastic — Maui Prep students strive to reduce waste

By Staff | Apr 21, 2016

Maui Preparatory Academy students researched ways to reduce waste generated in the lunchroom.

NAPILI – Maui Preparatory Academy has made a fundamental commitment to protect the environment through continuous improvement of the school’s energy performance, active waste reduction and recycling programs – making sustainable choices every day to keep the ‘aina healthy.

Part of this choice is to educate students about the impact they have on the environment and how to reduce the amount of waste they create.

With the goal of helping students develop a connection to the environment through both learning and hands-on experience, Lori Fleuter, the fourth grade teacher at Maui Prep, actively engaged 18 students in activities to both survey and develop solutions to reduce the school’s plastic footprint.

Students looked for areas where the school creates excessive amounts of plastic waste and brainstormed how to reduce that waste.

Students began by examining the waste produced in the lunchroom. They found that 60 percent of the plastic garbage generated by students was plastic flatware, wrappers and bags.

The students calculated that as a result of switching to reusable items, the school would eliminate 460 pounds of plastic trash every year.

Instead of buying plastic utensils, the school could purchase just 200 sets of reusable utensils

The Kokua Hawaii Foundation and To-Go Ware have provided funding for the project, supporting the school’s effort to educate students about sustainable living, providing reusable, eco-friendly bamboo ware and reducing the school’s plastic footprint.

In related news, Maui Preparatory Academy has been awarded $4,316 in funding from the Maui Economic Development Board Ke Alahele Fund and Toshiba America Foundation to implement a problem-based robotics program serving 40-plus students in grades 3-5.

These students will receive daily instruction in integrated STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities with the goal of building interest and engagement in STEAM-related topics and challenges.

This program, entitled Robotics are Elementary, will combine coursework in mathematics, technology and engineering with problem-based instruction in robotics construction and design.

The MEDB and Toshiba America Foundation grants will be used to purchase VEX IQ and other support equipment for use in grade 3-5 classrooms and during co-curricular activities, including VEX IQ Tournaments.

Maui Prep provides a quality STEAM (STEM+Arts) integrated academic program to students in grades 6-12.

This program pioneers the island’s first STEAM-inspired curriculum at the middle and high school level and establishes Maui Prep at the forefront of what is a transformative educational movement.

The STEAM program incorporates lab-based, technology supported, and project-based activities that focus on fundamental STEAM concepts. Across content areas, students work collaboratively to solve problems using scientific, mathematical and/or design processes in interconnected ways.

Students increasingly use technology as part of their ongoing instruction, providing access to a greater variety of learning materials and learning methods.

The proposed expansion of STEAM programming to grades 3-5 will advance Maui Prep’s work over the past five years as one of Hawaii’s leading Schools of the Future.

The Robotics are Elementary program will provide learning opportunities that help students develop competence in science and technology concepts, and will give them opportunities to express that competence in open community forums.

In addition, this problem-based program will provide an especially powerful tool for building student interest and identity in STEAM-related fields.

For more information, or to schedule a campus tour, contact Cathi Minami, director of admissions, at (808) 665-9966 or at cminami@mauiprep.org, or visit www.mauiprep.org.