Every Friday is pizza day on the Jemicy LMS campus. This means that, along with lunch, we get 20 boxes to dispose of.
While most of the boxes are recyclable (except those with food stuck to them), they are also eminently reusable. Dumpster diving for reusable project materials is a long-standing Jemicy tradition, but given the regular influx of this particular resource, we have begun to collect and warehouse the pizza boxes for our project-based classes. This adds to our efforts to collect other reusable cardboard, such as shoeboxes, egg cartons, and tubes, which are used for everything from dioramas to rock collections to the marble rollercoasters constructed by Y Group physics classes.
Upcycling means taking a material that has already been used in one way and reusing it in another so that its value increases. Cardboard is a particularly useful resource in STEAM-based classes where students experiment, solve problems and display concepts through engineering, construction, and art-infused projects. It is sturdy but flexible, able to be manipulated by kids of all ages.
In the past, pizza boxes have been used for dioramas, gliders, solar ovens, pinball and operation games, and numerous other designs.
This fall, the boxes have already been used in Star Group science to make lunar rovers, and in the JE science classes for building boats. You never know where cardboard may be upcycled next!