Summit Learning 6th Graders Aim to Shrink Human Footprint

The 6th graders at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School in Fresno, California want you, me, and the rest of the world to be more thoughtful and proactive in reducing human impact on the environment.

In this week’s episode, we step inside a middle school science classroom immersed in a Summit Learning project: Shrinking the Human Footprint. We hear from students about issues ranging from deforestation to electronic pollution. Join us as they share their ideas on how to help solve these real challenges and inspire others to reduce their human footprint. Teacher Abel Ruiz also shares his story about transitioning from researching quantum physics to teaching 6th-grade science — and not looking back.  

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Who Will I Hear in this Episode?

Listed in order as heard in the podcast are interviewees:

  • Victor, a 6th-grade student at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Abel Ruiz, 6th-grade science teacher at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Lucy, a 6th-grade student at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Silvia, a 6th-grade student at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Hilary Witts, director of Summit Learning at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Caleb, a 6th-grade student at Aspen Valley Preparatory Charter School
  • Qusai Bhaijeewala, Outreach and Operations Specialist at Grid Alternatives

What Will I Learn From Listening?

This episode brings thoughts and insights about:

  1. How Projects engage and challenge students, and give them an opportunity to connect and have a real-world impact
  2. What educators can do in the classroom to make Projects meaningful learning experiences for students
  3. How students integrate key Cognitive Skills and Content Knowledge into a final product

Did you enjoy this episode? Leave the Summit Sparks podcast a review on iTunes and help others find us! Find out more about Aspen Valley Prep’s journey in Closing Achievement Gaps in Math and Reading.

Closing Music Credits: “Human Race” by unreal_dm is licensed under CC BY 3.0   

About the author

Lauren Faggella
A storyteller and former educator, Lauren Faggella is dedicated to turning the Summit Learning community's stories and ideas into great content that informs and inspires a range of audiences. Prior to joining Summit Public Schools, Lauren was a professional freelance writer and third-grade teacher in Rhode Island. She earned her MEd from the University of Rhode Island and BA in English from Elon University.