Physical and Environmental Health at School
Concerned about what and how much lunch food their schoolmates were eating (and wasting), fifth graders at an elementary school in downtown Brooklyn advocated for a healthier school lunch. They surveyed hundreds of students in the school to find out whether they liked the food provided, whether they finished it, and how they felt after eating it. After researching alternatives to the standard school menu as well as the physical, behavioral, and academic impact of what kids eat for lunch, the students developed a detailed, evidence-based presentation for the school administration that included requests for changes to the school menu as well as the cafeteria environment. The principal accepted their recommendations on the spot!
An elective group of third, fourth and fifth graders created a plan to help reduce bullying at their school. Through a student survey, they found out that, as in most schools, bullying was taking place in the hallways and during lunch and recess when classroom teachers were not around. They asked the school administration for permission to organize a “Bully Patrol” through which students would be deputized to intervene when they observed bullying. They also created an education campaign to help students better understand what behavior constitutes bullying.
INCREASED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT SCHOOL
Second graders in downtown Brooklyn advocated for increased physical activity during the school day. They developed a presentation for the school administration based on their research on the physical, emotional, and academic benefits of physical activity, as well as the school-wide student demand reflected by their petition drive.