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E-Mission at Bright Business – giving students the platform to share innovations

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Green Schools hosted E-Mission as part of Efficiency Nova Scotia’s 2019 Bright Business Conference and Awards. E-Mission is a hack-a-thon style event, challenging students to solve an environmental challenge. We invited 45 grade 9 students from 5 different schools in the HRM. Each student had an interest in environmental sustainability and had been given a toolkit leading up to the event filled with videos and guiding questions to prepare them for the big day.

Students were tasked to co-create a #NetZeroHalifax – a future where we as a community are offsetting our greenhouse gas emissions, giving back to the Earth more than we take. This isn’t a new concept of course, it is part of Mi’kmaw culture and practices – Netukulimk (pronounced: ne·du·gu·limk)—the Mi’kmaw concept of respecting the world around us and not taking more than we need. Each group was given a topic to consider as they entered their mission: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Food Security, Water Conservation, Active Transportation and Mobility, Green Buildings and Infrastructure, and Waste Management.

Students weren’t alone in the process, each group had a seasoned professional working in an industry related to their topic there to support and mentor them throughout the E-Mission.

The group was led through a creative and inquiry based process consisting of 5 phases: 

Phase 1: Braindump

Students were given a question to reflect on and individually jot down whatever came to mind.  This was an exercise to get the creative juices flowing and get students into the groove of thinking about their topic. The braindumps purpose was to help students identify what they knew and didn’t know about the current state of their topics, what questions they may have for their mentor, and what they hoped for in the future.

Here are the questions students were asked to individually reflect on?

What do you know about the current state of your topic? What don’t you know?

What do you hope for the future of your topic?

Phase 2: Brainstorm

Going into phase 2 students had a desired future they’d shared with their teams, and they had posed their questions and explored their topic deeply. The brainstorm phase was the nitty gritty of the mission.  Groups were given 20 minutes to work together with their mentor to start identifying the themes of their desired futures, and begin plotting the necessary steps on HOW it could be achieved. 

Students were given these questions to consider:

How can we integrate the knowledge of First Nations Communities?

What ways can this sector contribute to a sustainable economy?

Where can we collaborate with other sectors?

Is there a leading community to look to?

Phase 3: Investigation

In phase 3 students were asked to visit other teams tables, they were interested in, but also to those that were connected to their topic and may be a possible collaboration opportunity. This was a great way for students to take a more holistic approach to the rest of the E-Mission.

Phase 4: Design

Once students had learned from their peers, they were tasked with designing a creative piece to best showcase their learning journeys. Students had access to the Creation Station full of supplies for their creations!

Phase 5: Showcase

The final phase of the E-Mission gave students the space to share with the Bright Business attendees their ideas and innovations for a Net-Zero Halifax.  Students presented their creative pieces to the professionals attending the conference. If attendees supported their ideas they placed a sticker on their piece as an endorsement. Students were able to see the immense support in the room, and had a platform to articulate their plans for a better future to the professionals in the room.

It was a high energy and creative day and we are grateful for the mentors, partners, teachers, and students who all played a key role in making E-Mission a success.

We are already hearing from teachers regarding how the students felt about the event:

“My girls and I would really like to thank you for such an inspiring and motivating day today. We really enjoyed all aspects and the girls felt a big part of the day. They really enjoyed the activities and I enjoyed watching them interact with other like minded students. Thanks again for a spectacular day and we look forward to working with you all in the future and inspiring students to help make small changes in a big world!” – Teacher from Highland Park Junior High

To all the students, CONGRATULATIONS ✨

~Kelsey Brasil

Engagement Officer


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