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Designing a Sustainable “Ecoschool”

IB Middle Years Programme
GNSGNS photo
crushed newspaper
The last unit of the year for B MYP Science 9 was Earth Sciences, where students learned about different Earth cycles and how they have affected or contributed to the global crisis of climate change.
The summative assessment for this unit is called “A Sustainable Ecoschool” and it involves students researching a technology that could improve GNS’ carbon footprint. The students will then create a proposal for the GNS administration team, to convince them that this technology is viable and that it should be included for consideration in our future school building design or policies. The top proposals of all classes will be selected by the teachers and sent to the administration team.

“I am always looking for ideas on how to make learning meaningful and relevant in the classroom and climate change is a very important challenge that we are all facing!” explained Ms. Simard, a GNS Science teacher. “As the school is looking forward to the Pemberton Woods Campus Renewal, as well as involving the community and our neighbours in this project, I thought it was important that students get a chance to suggest their own vision of our campus and how they think we can do our part for a greener future. On top of practicing their research skills and scientific communication, I am hoping that the students feel that their voices are heard when it comes to participating in our school community as a whole. Our Earth cycles and energy unit allows us to have an overview of different ecosystems and important cycles for our planet (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, water cycles…), and this project is a way for students to use this knowledge and apply it to try and solve a real-world specific problem.”

This is only the second time that the faculty have run this project and they are hoping to select several projects that can represent the variety of ideas proposed by the students to share with school leadership for consideration.

“I really enjoy teaching this project,” adds Ms.Simard. “I have been quite impressed so far with the quality of the proposals I have reviewed. I found that most students find this project engaging and they really care about their chosen topics, which is most important and helps boost learning!”

After being asked what her dream ecoschool would include, Ms. Simard said, “I would LOVE to have a rooftop patio with a green roof/garden area, with a few outdoor classrooms. Solar panels could be used as cover to create shaded areas as well.”

Reese Suntok ’26 chose the topic of green insulation which is typically used for newer walls.

“This topic is very important because new structures are always being built and insulation that is made entirely of recycled newspaper allows for an improved environment,” said Reese, “Even during and after the construction process, green insulation works in a way that improves our comfort during school hours and lowers carbon emissions. I think that having green insulation should not only be applied to schools, but to other buildings as well.”

“I chose to research natural air conditioning,” shared Clio Milwright ’26. “Specifically two-stage evaporative cooling systems, because it is an area that I knew very little about, and honestly I couldn’t figure out how air conditioning could have that much impact on image change. It piqued my curiosity. I think that trying to incorporate natural air conditioning methods would greatly add to creating a ‘dream school’.”

The proposals have yet to be sent out, but we are looking forward to the eco-friendly changes that they can possibly bring to our school in the future!

GNS is committed to meeting the evolving needs of our school while growing a strong connection with the broader community. We are focused on modernizing the infrastructure and resources at the Pemberton Woods Campus, both to address long-term seismic updates and facilities upgrades, as well as to ensure that our students have access to the latest resources and technologies needed in preparation to thrive as leaders in a constantly evolving world.

We encourage you to get involved in our upcoming Pemberton Woods Campus Renewal community engagement series. Please visit for details about how and when you can get involved in this inclusive and meaningful process with our parents, students, faculty, staff, alumni, neighbours, and the broader community.