30 Days at Home
A capstone experience for eighth graders is the 30 days project. Students take on a project to stretch themselves for 30 days and live their project. Students chose projects to stretch themselves and challenge them to step outside their comfort zones and try something new. Some students chose to learn a new language or skill like cooking, budgeting, or working out.
Carolyn D. took on the challenge of zero waste living, planting a garden, and learning how to compost. She documented her journey with a series of videos noting the various successes and challenges she encountered along the way. During the process she had to transplant her pea plants and was even surprised by a squash plant that sprouted in the compost. As a part of her call to action on her site she also included many household items like batteries, lightbulbs, and printer cartridges and ways they can be recycled
Other students focused on social issues related to the pandemic.
Tessa D. had a letter to the editor regarding the effects of climate change in relation to the pandemic published in the Seattle Times. You can read that letter here.
Several students chose to focus on homelessness and chose to sleep in their parent’s cars or tents for the duration of the project. Sophia S. was one of those students inspired by COVID-19 and its effects on homelessness.
Sophia examined the growing homeless population due to evictions related to COVID-19 and decided to focus on homelessness. “I was inspired to better understand what being without a home felt like so I could have more compassion and empathy to those around me. Moreover, I wanted to learn more about this subject so I could be an activist and create change. I also wanted to be more appreciative for things we may usually take advantage of,” Sophia said. During her project, Sophia also ran a fundraiser on Facebook for Mary’s Place, an organization that helps lift families out of homelessness. Throughout the project she raised over $5000 exceeding her initial goal of $2500.
Although her project went off mostly without a hitch, one night during a lightning storm Sophia was not able to stay outside since her tent was close to a generator. “This caused me to imagine how scary it would be to not have a house to go back to. That night made me feel very grateful and fortunate because it made me realize that not everyone has a backup plan,” Sophia realized.
Each student documented their journey on their own Weebly site keeping journal-style entries about their experiences. Social Studies faculty Sara Baquero-Garcia and Jamie McVicar, loved seeing their students succeed in their projects in spite of the already challenging circumstances surrounding the pandemic.
"It was with some trepidation that I entered into this endeavor considering the transition to online learning. But BG, was steadfast in her desire to keep it as part of the curriculum. I am so glad that she did! After the first day of presentations, I was given a much needed pick me up during this time of crisis. I was truly inspired by the work our students are doing every day and their unwavering commitment to their projects," McVicar said.
“Even through this pandemic life at home, 8th grade students rose to the challenges they set for themselves, and used that time to learn, experience, and think of others and themselves during this project. They pursued so much and showed that they have strength, resilience, and passion for learning,” Baquero-Garcia said.
You can read more about each project here.