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Smart’s Mill Students Demonstrate Their Connectivity

Months of project-based learning came to fruition on Friday, June 3, at Smart’s Mill Middle School.

Students presented the projects that they created in Connect, Smart’s Mill’s extended advisory period. Students in 48 advisory classes chose driving questions in November that they wished to explore. The projects that resulted are designed to heighten students’ awareness of their community, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities and presentation skills.

Eight groups were invited to present their findings in the media center. Their presentations included a public service announcement (PSA), research and possible solutions to their driving question.  

Topics explored included school lunches, food waste, bus safety, gun violence awareness and English Learner Onboarding, which was presented by English learners.       

A group that conceived a summer clothing drive said they were surprised by the high rate of poverty in Loudoun County.

A group dedicated to improving school lunches researched school lunch programs in Greece, Italy, Brazil and China, as well as programs in Baltimore, Chicago, Tennessee and California, to see what best practices could be incorporated into local lunch programs.  One thing students found particularly attractive were farm-to-table programs. Putting this concept into action, they planted and cultivated a garden outside their classroom (although they didn’t plant Principal Will Waldman’s favorite, radishes).

A group that sought to eliminate food waste came up with the slogan “Don’t Eat? Don-Ate!”

An Internet Safety group suggested actions such as turning off social media platforms available to students; increased parental supervision of student social media use; and updating computers to enhance security.

A panel of adults, including Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk, asked the students about their projects.

Waldman asked the sixth- and seventh-grade presenters how they would like to extend their projects during the next school year.    

Published June 16, 2022