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The Eighth Grade Science class at The June Buchanan School has been preparing to lead a workshop for their younger peers in Grades 5-7 entitled “Project COAL.” Students have been learning about the sources of energy, types of coal, properties of coal, clean coal technology, and the combustibility of coal. They have prepared hands-on stations that involve using skills such as observation, research, and technology to learn more about coal.

The project stemmed from the current issues about coal in the media and allowed students the opportunity to promote leadership at the school for the younger students. Instructor Karen Bailey said, “Anytime students are given the opportunity to lead, you should watch closely. These young adults will step up and impress you!” Eighth Grade student leader, Megan Hall, stated, “I demonstrated leadership skills by leading the students through understanding what the word ‘combustible’ really meant. I think Project Coal was a big success!”

The day was followed by a graphic organizer to prepare students for learning in the stations that day. Students also engaged in games such as Coal Chants and Coal Jeopardy to assess what teams had learned through the workshop activities. In addition, the Eighth Grade students led a rock band song about coal called “I’ve Been Working in the Coal Mine” and a play titled Carbon Footprint Crisis, which were resources taken from Project NEED’s website.

As a united effort, Science instructor Bailey and High School Science instructor Simeon Brace have also been working with Grades 6-12 on Cedar Coal Fair projects. The school plans to hold a Cedar Coal School Fair early in March to display student work in areas of Science, Social Studies, Art, and Math. Bailey said, “My hope for Project COAL is to inspire students to really learn about the importance of this natural resource to our families, to be informed about the current issues about coal, and to use this information to create some fabulous projects for the Cedar Coal Fair. We are excited to see what students will come up with!”