Earlier this year, our friends at Tom’s of Maine presented a challenge to teachers: share your most creative ideas to teach students to care for the planet. Hundreds of teachers submitted classroom projects covering pressing community issues like air and water quality, sustainable agriculture, and upcycling.Every qualifying project received match offer funding from the $1 million Tom’s of Maine Green School Fund, and a panel of expert judges selected ten projects as finalists for public voting. We’re excited to share the winners today!
Mrs. Bradley's Green Classroom
Mrs. Bradley took the top prize of $25,000 for her North Carolina classroom with her her plan to literally green her classroom with an indoor hydroponic garden. This was much more high-tech than your average backyard vegetable patch: she integrated WiFi sensors to track light and acidity, teaching students STEM concepts alongside sustainable practices. The project uses a solar powered water system and composted foods to help the garden thrive.
“This prize is helping our school to begin a new initiative that will include the students sorting, composting, and recycling our school lunches. Improving our students' quality of life through learning is of the utmost importance. This begins when we share that our Earth must be protected. They need to realize that if we do not care for what we have now it may not be able to sustain us later.”
The hands-on experience is particularly important for Mrs. Bradley’s class. She’s making sure students won’t get bored by letting them get their hands dirty so that, for them, science can be “visible and less abstract.”
More Classroom Inspiration
Teachers, read more about the 9 other winning projects for more classroom inspiration. The ten finalists were selected by a panel of judges that included:• Kevin Jonas, musician and actor• Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year• Kate Sheppard, enterprise editor and senior reporter at The Huffington Post• Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle• Kerri Jablonski, founder of the I am the Maven® blogAlthough the competition has wrapped up, you can still get involved! Tom’s of Maine is matching donations to hundreds of environmental projects on our site, with over 870 projects impacted so far.