The Quashnet School in Mashpee was abuzz with excitement on Wednesday, June 25, for the last day of classes, but students in Coleen Blount’s 5th grade class had another reason to celebrate. The day marked the completion of a greenhouse made with plastic water bottles that they had worked on all school year.
“I was amazed at the sheer amount of bottles that just our school produced,” Ms. Blount said of the project, for which the students collected 3,000 water bottles. She hopes the project inspires students to seek more reusable products in the future.
Together with enrichment teacher Sean O’Connor, teacher’s assistant Maureen Paxton, Ms. Blount’s family, other students, faculty members and volunteers, the class collected materials, collaborating to plan and build the greenhouse.
The structure was modeled after a similar greenhouse at Mashpee High School, Ms. Blount said. The building was constructed using measurements computed by the students in math assignments and the water bottles and other materials collected by the class.
“Teamwork was a very important thing, because we all had to cooperate to wash the bottles and put them on the bamboo [posts],” 5th grader Betsy O’Reilly said. The project will provide better education for classes in the future, she added, when students are able to see plants grow in the greenhouse.
Currently, Jamie Whiddon teaches students how to tend broccoli, lettuce, brussels sprouts, squash, and beets in a garden on school property, vegetables which are regularly used by cafeteria workers to make students’ lunches. The greenhouse will allow students to learn the first steps of gardening by planting these vegetables as seed.
“Now these will all start in the greenhouse,” Ms. Whiddon said, smiling.