The year 4 classes have been exploring the science of sustainability, so it was fitting that they visit the local example of sustainability The Crystal building in the Docklands. Friday March 16 was a warm sunny Spring morning – ideal for being outdoors. The children and teachers boarded their trains and were the picture of discipline as the made the needed transfers between Upton Park and the Prince Regent DLR stations. Gasps of excitement greeted the fact that the DLR trains had no driver, while smug confidence beamed on the faces of those students who already knew this fact. Some even made the link with this use of technology and how our transport needs of the future will be met by driverless, non-polluting electric cars WOW!
The ‘wow’ moments continued as we rounded the corner of Siemens drive to see our destination glittering against the river backdrop; we had arrived at – The Crystal. “The shape is so special” gasped Jessica, while Jan with a big grin on his face exclaimed “This trip keeps getting better!”
We were greeted by our tour guides and arranged into three groups to commence our tour. The city futures video room was entertaining as well as eye opening: many facts were offered around expected population growth and the need to plan for school spaces, security, homes, transportation, health care, recreation and feeding the population.
The children enjoyed the interactive displays especially the floor tiles that generated electricity. There was unanimous agreement that some of these tiles at the main entrances to our school and on all the walkways at their favourite shopping mall would be a super idea. There was energetic completion to generate the correct amount of energy to set off the TESLA induction coil. Here the children were informed about energy production by wind and wave machines. Motion detection devices allowed the children to imitate the windmill vanes as well as the ocean waves. Other favourites were the city management simulation and the opportunity to design an energy efficient home, office block, or school building. This design process facilitated learning about the energy efficiency features of building materials.
Boys and girls alike were fascinated by the concept cars on display as well as the ergonomic electric motorbike.
The Crystal building is so exciting and informative. It is there as an example of how modern buildings can be sustainable (rainwater harvesting, solar and wind powered as well as geothermal heating and cooling systems) with the lowest carbon footprint possible.
Liam stated that he would ask his parent to take him back so that he could improve on his energy efficient office block.
Georgette and Kimara thought that the green wall was amazing. While Evan and David wondered what it wold be like to play Minecraft on the huge screen in the video room.
Emma quipped that it was good to recycle and care for our environment but next time we should have solar powered carts to move us around so that we could conserve our energy. All too soon it was time to return after a look at the river we were back on the trains.
As we entered the school building it was agreed that we were all tired but filled with knowledge of a sustainable future and ways to make it happen.
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