Victorian primary school’s mission to go off-grid

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A school with a social conscience has taken a leading role reconnecting with its community and helping the planet. Sydenham-Hillside Primary School teacher Lisa Crossley writes about student work promoting renewable energy, and the end of year sustainability party!

Sydenham-Hillside primary want to empower their students and bring about a change that starts with their local community. As part of the Grade 6 Science curriculum, students have been engaged in understanding the benefits of living sustainably.

Students have developed their understanding of the long term benefits of renewable energy, consequences connected to the greenhouse effect and the importance of maintaining the delicate balance of the Earth’s ability to continue being a self-sustaining ecosystem.

To conclude the unit, students were given the challenge of designing and creating a 3D model of a product/building/structure which uses renewable energy and sustainable components. Each student developed models to represent sustainable schools, caravans, homes, kitchens, farms and transport vehicles just to name a few. They also developed a marketing campaign to promote their product to the school community which included a poster/billboard and a television commercial.

To celebrate the students’ endeavors the school hosted the first ‘Sustainability Party’ which showcased real life examples of products such as electric cars, biofuel generator, wind turbines and a solar heated water system. Students experienced first-hand how sustainable practices can be realistically applied to products we use and benefit from every day. During this day, students were able to speak to engineers, architects and environmental groups about a range of community projects.

It is the school’s mission to become the next 5 Star rated sustainable school. We now have a sustainability officer who is working toward an impressive goal of implementing as many sustainable strategies as possible with the ideal aim to be self sustainably ‘off the grid’. We are welcoming any support from businesses, government departments or individuals within the community who can help us with our goal of becoming the next 5 Star rated school. We are eager to develop a ‘sister’ relationship with any other primary, secondary or tertiary schools which have first-hand experience in the implementation of sustainable practices.

Anyone who would like to get on board with Sydenham-Hillside Primary School’s mission can contact Lynne Comben: Sustainability Officer on (03) 9361 5400 or alternatively email


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