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Middle School Sustainability Club Soil & Water Testing at Blue Dragon Farm 

Members of our Middle School Sustainability Club had the incredible opportunity to engage in service learning at the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation organic farming project on Banana Island. This is a newly developing entrepreneurial project launched by Blue Dragon using sustainable, chemical-free farming techniques to grow food for their own consumption; and as the land is quite close to their Hanoi centre and accommodation, this will help to reduce their carbon footprint on a couple of different levels.

We were presented with a big challenge the farm was facing: the fruit and vegetable plants were stressed and weak. This is a sign that the soil was lacking nutrients; but without proper testing, it would be difficult to know how to help. The MS Sustainability Club was very excited for this call out to help solve a very real problem that our service partner was facing. 

The service learning group asked one of our resident chemists, Ms Lien, and plant & soil expert, Henry Herbert, to join them on site to work with the students and farmers. The student group and experts tested the soil and water in the gardens, water well, and river bank. We set up a “lab” in the farm, and tested our samples for pH, as well as other chemicals including ammonia, copper, nitrates, phosphates, potassium, etc. These tests helped us to better understand what chemicals are present in the land, as well as how to improve the fertility of the soil and health of the plants.

We also were able to explore the farm, and learned about the fruits and vegetables growing there. We learned how to spot plants under stress, and how to look for clues about what might be harming them. We removed insects that were feeding on the plants, and “taste tested” some of the fruit growing (they were delicious).

These test results and observations helped the team make a plan for rehabilitating the soil. One exciting part of this plan is to add weekly deposits of nutritious fertilizer from the UNIS composting center to the garden. Another is to add plants to the gardens that attract predatory insects like ladybugs, so they can protect the plants from being eaten. 

We are excited to continue this work in partnership with Blue Dragon and our resident experts!! 

A Meaningful Week of SDG Exploration 

The Kindergarten children are spending the SDG week delving into 6 different SDGs and thinking about how they can make a difference. 

Focusing on SDG 13 - Climate Action, students discussed the arctic polar bears and how the ice is melting, and their homes are becoming ruined, due to global warming. They then thought about what differences they can make at home? 

The students then looked at what happens to the animals and plants under the sea when the salt level changes (SDG 14 - Life below Water)? What happens to the pollution and oils that have spilled into the oceans? What can they do to help?

A group of Kindergartners explored SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. They made paper doves and wrote messages of peace and kindness on them.

The group also talked about SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being and the things they need to keep their bodies and minds healthy. After the discussion, students went on and did a Thich Nhat Hanh Pebble Meditation while learning about mindfulness. 

Using the lens of deforestation and impact on animal life through loss of habitat, Kindergarten students who looked at SDG 15 - Life on Land, developed empathy for the welfare of Earth's forests and the animals that depend on them for their survival.  

Finally, the group learnt about SDG 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption. They discovered what happened with waste around the world, what they could do at home and in the community to minimize waste, what can be recycled at home and how people sort their trash?

SDG Design in Elementary School Art Class

UNIS Hanoi Upper ES students went into design mode in their art classes during SDG Week.

Grade 3 chose a biome and created artwork about it in a range of media of their choice. They then revisited, reviewed, reflected and refined the artwork to show the human impact on the environment and also created an SDG book or poster to share a message.

Grade 4 inquired into the principles of design in the SDG icons. They then created new logo designs of their own to match an SDG. 

Inspiring Conversation with the Director of 'A Plastic Ocean'

IB Diploma Film students were given the opportunity to discuss filmmaking with documentary filmmaker Craig Leeson, who directed the 2016 film A Plastic Ocean. Craig took time out of his busy schedule to meet with the students for an in-depth Q&A discussion about A Plastic Ocean, his filmmaking process and his latest feature-length documentary film The Last Glaciers (to be released in early 2021). 

Following a screening of A Plastic Ocean in film classes, the DP Film students asked numerous questions to Craig about his inspiration, the challenges of making a documentary across four years and in 21 countries, and his creative decision-making process. Highlights of the conversation included in-depth discussions about Craig’s process of working with his editor on the film to whittle the original rough cut (which was over four hours in length) down to the final 100-minute feature, constructing the narrative arc of of the stories told in the film, and how his own personal perspective on life has changed as a result of making the film. 



Reduce Single Use Plastic With Refill O'day

Refill O’day is a student initiative that aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by our community. With the support of the UNIS Impact Fund, the student group provides a service where community members can refill household items, using their home brought reused containers. The students buy the soap in large containers and quantities that they will make sure to get recycled. This is cheaper, saves plastic as well as minimizes pollution from transportation.

Starting from Monday, December 7, 2020 anyone in the UNIS Hanoi community can bring their used containers to refill their hand soap. There are two stations at the front and back gate of the school. The cost of 100ml of Life Buoy is 10,000 VND. All money collected will be used for continuing the refill cycle. Every time you choose to refill, that is one bottle you are saving from polluting our planet.


rade 1 Cleaning-up a 'Plastic Ocean'

Have you ever imaged that you were a fish swimming in a blue ocean but full of plastic? Every single day, you and your fish friends swim around them instead of coral and seaweed looking for food and eventually end up eating the plastic thinking it is your food.

UNIS Hanoi Grade 1 had a brilliant idea creating their own plastic ocean where swim classes could experience the 'plastic ocean' feel during SDG week 2019. This exercise allowed students to understand how unbearable life under water can be with so much plastic. Student all came together at the end to clean the 'ocean' and gave the swimming pool its clear and clean water again.

Watch this film to learn more: