The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2023

Lower School Update: Transforming Our World

Daintry Zaterka '88
Sixth graders explored the power of education to create change as they researched and advocated for solutions to pressing global issues.
This spring, sixth graders shared their visions and plans for making a positive difference in the world as they presented to an audience of parents and fifth graders on one of the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The “Transforming Our World” workshops were an interdisciplinary project between sixth grade English, science, and Principles of Design (POD) classes, and they started with research conducted in science class, where students explored the issues behind one of the U.N.’s goals and actionable steps that could contribute to a solution. The U.N.’s goals include access to quality education, affordable and clean energy, clean water, and sanitation.
Students started by brainstorming the big problems that they care about and then selected three of those issues to research in depth. They spent a month conducting research in science class and at home, eventually narrowing their research to one issue that connected to a U.N. Sustainable Development Goal. As students read and researched, they focused on discerning reliable sources and developed a command of their subject. “The students became such experts that they were questioning and quizzing each other on their statistics, and it was great to see them applying their analytical skills,” says sixth grade science teacher Grace Crowell.
The sixth graders brought their organized research to English class to turn it into a script for their presentation. English teacher Lara Gleason asked students to consider why they care about the topic and why others should care, to identify facts and visuals that would elicit emotions about the issue, and to think about how to communicate the information in a clear and organized manner. Students wrote and edited scripts for a five-minute presentation.
Simultaneously in POD class, sixth graders were learning to use the Google Jamboard to create a visual presentation with graphics and data to accompany their script. They also brainstormed and designed interactive activities to engage the audience during their presentation. As the presentations came together, they practiced them in small groups, getting feedback from peers and editing their work. Lara was particularly impressed with how the students supported each other throughout the process: “They acted as champions for each other, which was wonderful to see.”
In the final presentations, students showed a command of their topics and creativity in engaging their audience. Easun Liu ’26 ran a workshop on SDG Number 14, Life Below Water, and specifically the preservation of coral reefs. He invited audience members to come up to the Jamboard to play a game where they matched each listed activity to whether it supports coral reef health or leads to bleaching. Eleanor Zawaira ’26 introduced SDG Number 1, No Poverty, and focused her workshop on reducing and reusing. Eleanor talked about her experience volunteering at Cradles for Crayons in second grade at Fay and how that sparked a personal connection to the issue. Then she asked students and parents in the audience to share ways that had helped others, such as donating clothing and toys. After each presentation, audience members scanned a QR code to complete a workshop evaluation so that sixth graders could see which aspects of their workshop were successful and where they could improve.
“This project is about empowerment,” says Lara. “With so many tough problems in the world, it’s important for the students to feel that they can make a difference. Through this project, we could see students learning that these issues matter and that sharing their ideas with others matters too.”

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