This special is one of fifteen Service Learning Standards Based Models 
For more
Service Learning activities Connecting Classrooms~Communities~Careers
visit or contact  Barbara Locurto  IMPACT II @ School-to-Career
Boston Public Schools


Big Dig to Big Fill

Arts, English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies

older & younger students
Communities school & neighborhood groups
Careers construction, education, engineering, environmental advocacy, technology


Where does all that Big Dig dirt go?
Answer: to a land reclamation and recycling site. Connecting with local building initiatives, high school students and their younger learning pals employ the 5 W's to investigate a landfill site. Students study the history and topography of the location. One question leads to another, as teams understand that this mega construction effort is linked to Boston's Big Dig, one of the most extensive land displacement sites in the country. Interacting with the construction workers, large equipment operators, landscape architects and engineers, older students show and tell younger students about the ultimate Reduce~Reuse~Recycle project. Analyzing the multimillion dollar budget, they continue to visualize the seven-year transformation from dump to Millennium Park. As tutors and youngsters work together on environmental impact experiments, they update the community with reports. High schoolers use multimedia to document and share findings on the changing landscape. Videotaping and computer editing allow them to e-mail direct images and stories to their e-pals who eagerly await the latest on the Big Fill

Resources plans, maps, statistics for local public works departments, labor unions, architectural firms, & The Big Dig
Technology create spread sheet, word process documents, search Internet, videotape & edit e-mail video files
Web Sites Central Artery/Tunnel Project (The Big Dig); Opening of Millennium Park; Environmental Protection Agency Basic Facts on Municipal Solid Waste
Community Partners City of Boston Gardner Landfill, local construction companies, landscape architectural firms

Learning Standards Classroom Activities Service Activities
o Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work (ELA)
o Understand concepts & details of physical & political geography (SS) 
o Write inquiry letters to construction site officials requesting permission to visit 
o Take site tour & interview key personnel
o Examine landfill's physical & topographical characteristics
o Agree to an extended study of landfill 
o Respond to officials' positive reply with thank you letters
o Visit & invite elementary students (e-pals) to participate in landfill project
o Arrange to include them in a future tour
o Advocate to Reduce~Reuse~Recycle 
o Conduct historical & social studies research (SS)
o Engage in historical analysis & interpretation (SS)  
o Obtain profile of the site's history from Internet & local sources 
o Begin reflection journals
o Analyze & compare current & past site usage
o E-mail profiles & reflections to e-pals
o Update & share reflections throughout project
o Relate the mathematical language & symbolism of operations to problem situations (M)  
o Research landfill cost & specification
o Record on computer spread sheet
o Construct Before & After site models
o Display spread sheet & models at school communities & local library
o Understand how humans use technology & the design process to respond to the natural world & to solve everyday problems (S)  o Collect & test site's soil & water samples
o Invite environmental experts to class 
o Conduct interviews on quality of recycled fill
o Prepare & illustrate charts on soil & water tests 
o Share charts & research with students & community
o Create water testing game for e-pals
o Play game with e-pals
o Use technologies to obtain, use & present information effectively (S)
o Use telecommunications to ex-change & share information (ELA) 
o Videotape landfill progress throughout the study 
o Write script 
o Choose music & titles
o Edit video with computer software 
o Attach & display video files on Internet
o Send files to e-pals
o Present video documentary at community meetings & statewide conferences
o Engage in historical decision-making (SS) 

o Make future plans for community tours upon site completion
o Extend invitations to partners & resources 
o Collaborate with e-pals on tour plans 
o Include school & community on projected tours