KIDS Innovate: What Should We Do With All Our Trash?By Kadley Gosselin May 12, 2011
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Latitude recently launched Trash to Treasure, a research project which is part of our ongoing, globally-oriented KIDS series (Kids Innovation and Discovery Studies). Trash to Treasure is a study that asks children ages 6-12 around the world to think about important waste management, pollution, and sustainability issues, and to draw their solutions for Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.
“Recycle infusible things of trash from metal and make a bridge.” —Klára, 12, Prague, Czech Republic
This activity encourages kids to think critically and creatively, and embraces the idea that children, often unconcerned with the constraints of what’s assumed to be practical, popular, or even possible, can be great innovators. “Kids are natural problem-solvers; they’re curious, and willing to really spend time with an idea,” explains Klara Gregory, who heads up the KIDS initiative at Latitude. “I think that issues of waste management and pollution are particularly well-suited to innovation by kids. They’re excited to be asked, and excited to help tackle the issue.”
Latitude is speaking on the topic of kids as innovators at two conferences this summer: at the ReadWriteWeb 2Way Summit in New York City from June 13-14, and at The Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, United Kingdom from July 6-8.
“You use the telephone instead of traveling to the person you need to talk to; don’t use the plastic bags from the store, bring your own.” —Eren, 12, Hallbergmoss, Germany
“A child born today into a middle-class American family will live to about eighty years old and consume on average 2.5 million liters of water, the wood of 1,000 trees, 21,000 tons of gasoline, 220,000 kilos of steel, and 800,000 watts of electrical energy. At these rates, the average American child will produce in his or her lifetime twice the environmental impact of a Swedish child, 3 times that of an Italian, 13 times that of a Brazilian, 35 times that of an Indian, and 280 times that of a Haitian.”
Trash to Treasure asks children how we can work to lessen our environmental impact through recycling, composting or the implementation of some entirely new system.
“I would make new water-powered cars with water emissions.” —Selina, 11, Hallbergmoss, Germany
Thus far, Latitude has conducted the Trash to Treasure study with classrooms in:
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Agneaux, France
- Hallbergmoss, Germany
- Yarmouth, Maine
Trash to Treasure was recently completed by a classroom at ZS Mladi in Prague, Czech Republic. “My students were given an opportunity broaden their horizons,” Katerina Schimmerova, teacher of the participating classroom, told Latitude. “They started thinking about trash in a different way—some realized that they don’t know enough about the topic and became curious. They wanted to learn more which is always positive.”
“Trash hops into the computer and can be used to produce electricity.” – Klára, 10, Prague, Czech Republic
“This is a flying car. My flying car is called Re-cy-clean. It has a chimney and is very environmentally friendly. The gas brand’s name is “let’s save earth,” and it has dust bin so dirt is filtered.” – Matej, 10, Prague, Czech Republic
Want to participate in Trash to Treasure?
We’re always looking for additional participants in the study; it’s designed not only to promote creative learning within participating classrooms but also to increase connections between schools, forming an international web of innovation-driven educators. However, Trash to Treasure isn’t restricted just to classrooms—we’re encouraging after-school programs, clubs and individuals to participate as well.
- Fill out an application for your classroom/child/after-school program/club
- We’ll send you release forms and materials for the activity.
- Complete the activity on your own time and return by mail.
- Follow the results! (Check in periodically at www.latd.com)
*For a printable overview of Trash to Treasure, click here.
The activity takes about an hour to complete and consists of three parts:
- Awareness – about the world’s growing waste problem
- Involvement – in recycling, composting and waste reduction
- Solutions – around waste disposal or recycling and how technology might be integrated
“I separate the trash and let the bio trash break down on its own.” – Dilara, 11, Hallbergmoss, Germany
Latitude is an international research consultancy exploring how new information and communications technologies can enhance human experiences. Amidst a landscape of profound technological change, we consistently deliver next-generation insights and assist organizations in discovering and developing new opportunities.
To learn more about Latitude’s capabilities or about working with Latitude, please contact us at email@example.com.
Harvest Power a renewable energy firm, is partnering with Latitude on the study.
Header image courtesy of mikebaird’s Flickr, (cc) some rights reserved.
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