Project Case Studies
Falk Laboratory School 6th Grade
Chatham and Falk Lab School art teacher, Cheryl Capezzuti, asked students to design outdoor classroom spaces for the Eden Hall Campus at the end of a 3-day visit. After their designs were passed on to an Eagle Scout candidate to merge into one, Falk Lab School students came back in March to help build 12 benches for the outdoor spaces.
Eden Hall Upper Elementary School 5th Grade
Students were challenged to think about the question: “What are the indicators of a sustainable school and how do you involve all stakeholders or users in the design process?” Over a number of months, they learned about sustainability from Chatham’s K-12 Office, toured the school, researched individual ideas, met with experts to ask questions, and presented final ideas in front of their principal and Chatham’s K-12 team. Final projects included: a milk carton recycling system, a free little library, an information kiosk to inform stakeholders about the school’s sustainable features, a school garden and information campaigns to get teachers to utilize an existing outdoor space for classes.
Eden Hall Upper Elementary School 6th Grade
In partnership with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, Chatham charged students with the challenge of redesigning an existing building on Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus using the focus question: “How can we repurpose unused spaces in a sustainable and meaningful way to better serve our community?” Final design models were presented in front of a panel of architects, community members, and Chatham leadership, as well as parents and school administration.
Student Project Conference
Now announcing the inaugural year of the student project conference, "Seeds of Change: Igniting Student Action for Sustainable Communities." The conference will take place at Chatham University's Eden Hall Campus in Gibsonia, PA on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 from 10am - 1:30pm. Students and sustainability professionals from across the region will come together to network and share their stories.
If you are interested in this conference but are not prepared with current projects in the works to participate this year, please let us know and we will be happy to engage with you as you structure sustainability PBL opportunities for your students to participate next year. The registration deadline is Monday, February 20th, 2017. For more information and to register your project team(s) please follow this link: Register for Conference
Thinking of doing a sustainable PBL with your students and not sure where to start?
Challenge your students to identify projects they can tackle within your school, in their wider community or even up at Eden Hall.
Driving Question Ideas
- How might we help make our community more sustainable?
- How might we use examples from natural systems to improve human-made systems (agriculture, construction, engineering, etc.)?
- How might we support community health and well-being through our food choices?
- How might we support the health of our watershed?
- How might we use data to inform community decision-making?
- How do environmental conditions influence human endeavors?
- How might we address water availability issues through our agricultural practices?
- How might we address food insecurity issues?
- How might we use design to create a happier and healthier society?
Specific Student Project Ideas
- Make a commitment to making your school or community more sustainable. Create action items, lead an awareness campaign, apply for a grant, take action and track progress. This may include:
- Improving local watershed health
- Reducing water use
- Reducing energy use
- Growing your own food and/or managing soil health
- Improving waste management practices
- Increasing seasonal food awareness
- Supporting pollinators and stormwater infiltration through landscaping
- Researching healthy construction materials for a renovation project
- Addressing local or state building codes that make green building practices prohibitive
…and so much more! See our Resources page for more information on green building, sustainable school and community assessments.
- Produce a film, podcast, app, art installation, sign or demo that shows how a system at Eden Hall functions. We will make digital resources you develop publicly available on our website. If you are interested in helping Eden Hall to construct signage, demos or other physical projects, please let us know so we can plan to integrate them into the campus long-term.
- Participate in the SchoolsNEXT Design Competition