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The Building Blocks of Sustainability

June 17, 2022

Students at Highbury School and Niakwa Place School worked to tackle environmental issues using Minecraft, a popular video game.

This spring, both schools had a team of Grade 5/6 students participating in the Girls Who Game (GWG) program by Dell Technologies in partnership with Microsoft and Intel. The GWG program provides female students the opportunity to learn through play with a focus on building global competencies and computational thinking using Minecraft: Education Edition.

The Highbury School students were supported by Grade 5/6 teacher Mark Lesiuk and the Niakwa Place School students were supported by teacher-librarian Deborah Hoffman and Grade 5/6 teacher Debbie Calvo-Yaworsky.

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Pictured: The Highbury School GWG team. 

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Pictured: The Niakwa Place School GWG team. 

"We collaborated throughout the entire process to make sure the girls had the skills and tech support that they needed to be successful," said Deborah Hoffman.

After meeting with Dell, both teams decided to focus on building a Minecraft world that solved the issue of crayon pollution.

"We had weekly meetings where the girls mapped out their ideas and facilitated discussions to guide them as they worked on their solutions," said Mark Lesiuk. "The girls had around 10 weeks to complete the task."

Each team developed a world that featured creative ways to recycle paraffin wax crayons, produce a sustainable alternative, and give back to the environment. Students worked collaboratively to ensure every detail was perfected; from renewable energy sources to electric vehicle charging stations and gender-inclusive washrooms.

"It felt good to learn about something important and to build something beautiful and helpful that protects the environment," said Miley, student at Niakwa Place School.

With help from their coaches, the students produced walk-through videos of their worlds that were submitted for a panel to judge against other entries from teams across Canada.

The Highbury School team took home an award for their communication and teamwork and the Niakwa Place School team were awarded for their understanding and demonstration of the concept of sustainability.

"It was a really inspiring project that taught me how not to give up when things seemed tough," said Ayshani, student at Highbury School.

Through communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, the students who participated in the GWG program solved real-world problems while building their confidence and leadership skills.

"By working through the challenge and solving problems together, we connected with one another and created ways to recycle crayons in a sustainable way," said Bismah, student at Niakwa Place School. 

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Students in Grades 5 to 8 still have time to sign up for weeks 2 & 3 of our Special Interest Middle-Year's Camps! Find more information at: https://t.co/mLr2dfzr3n https://t.co/wkasqDFOtM

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Save the date! Manitoba School Board elections will take place on October 26, 2022. School board elections are a great opportunity for Manitobans to get involved in public education. Vote for your local trustee or run as a candidate! Learn more at: https://t.co/hoLAjaIf73 https://t.co/EmPfCOb24E

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While schools are closed over the summer, transcript requests can be sent to the LRSD Board Office. More info: https://t.co/Krcfos5VRg https://t.co/SYQcUtZrCn

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