Students tackle global problemPublished 9:31am Friday, June 28, 2013
FRANKLIN— If you get a flyer stuck in your door about pollution, oxygen, the environment and recycling awareness, thank a small group of forward thinking J.P. King Jr. Middle School students who call themselves P3 (cubed), The Project Pollution Preventers.
Coached by Patti Rabil, the students offered up a presentation to City Council Monday night during Citizen Comment time.
In introducing the group, Rabil said the students are a diverse group who are “design thinkers” and who have identified a problem and have a solution.
The Community Problem Solving Project is a long-range plan with goals and activities outlined by the students. The main thrust of their proposal to city council was to have trash and recycling picked up on the same day and if residents don’t recycle, their trash doesn’t get picked up, along with having recycling bins placed in several spots downtown.
P3 consists of 8th graders Cindy Mitrovic, Joel Kreider and NyJey Pope and 9th graders Angela Bird and Summer Winston.
The group was formed for the Community Problem Solving Project, one of the spokes of the umbrella called Future Problem Solving. Future Problem Solving is part of Rabil’s curriculum for gifted students and it is an international program and is the number one critical thinking program in the world. Rabil said a lot of research is part of the whole curriculum and focuses on all aspects off the problem, i.e. business, commerce, aesthetics, education and political. This year’s problem was “Ocean Soup”. In a nutshell, Ocean Soup is mounds of garbage that collects together to form islands of trash in the oceans — where global ocean currents form giant whirlpools collecting trash that washes into the water chain from land runoff. It is noted by the P3 group that 70 percent of oxygen actually comes from plants in the ocean. The Community Problem Solving aspect of the project, Rabil explained, is an extra curricular activity in the schools’ gifted curriculum. All of the students involved are committed to working on it after school, on weekends and during the summer break.
“We are passionate about making a change,” stressed Mitrovic. Winston added, “We want to help our community — to see better things happen.”
The students were hard at work Wednesday at the school designing a brochure, flyer and T-shirt.
Rabil explained that the project is “creative problem solving using real world issues.” The group identified a local problem and is going about a step-by-step process to solve it.
A core group of three students, Mitrovic, Winston and Pope decided to become involved in the Community Problem Solving aspect of the main Future Problem Solving curricula. The three recruited Kreider and Bird, knowing they needed fellow students who were focused and would stay on task, explained Winston.
Some of the activities the P3 group has planned include a fundraiser to buy recycling bins for schools and downtown; designing a website about the program; Facebook and Twitter posts about the project; radio and newspaper interviews; presentations in the other schools; recycling tracking at JP King; and a booth at Fall Festival.
“We want to increase recycling effort and awareness — to help our community out. We need to think globally and act locally,” Winston stressed.
Bird added, “If we’re going to take pride in our community, we want it to be the best we can make it.”
Kreider quoted Voltaire, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking,” which will be on the T-shirts designed by the group.
Rabil said they were “hoping to make a difference — to get out there and show with a little bit of concern and participation, it will make a huge impact if everybody could get on board with this effort.”