I Group science students have been studying different simple machines while also rummaging through trash receptacles for materials to construct “trash cars.” Today they tested the functioning of their improvised wheels and axles. One more way to reuse, have fun, and practice some engineering skills!
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!
Jemicy LMS art teacher Nancy Curran walked into her room one day to find a dozen mannequin heads awaiting her. The unexpected donation sparked a project for her middle school art students: “Make an environmental statement.” The resulting group pieces utilized all manner of found and collected objects, giving voice to students’ feelings about the human relationship to the earth.
Students in the lower school worked this week to identify ways to reduce the amount of waste from lunches that ends up in our school trashcans. After discussing the options for different kinds of trash, we practiced sorting items into appropriate containers: trashcan, recycling bin, and compost.
This activity made it clear that packing small amounts of food in reusable containers (not ziplock bags) would reduce the most trash ending up in the landfill. Here are some tips from SuperKids Nutrition to help plan trash-free lunches.
Even better than recycling is making the effort to reuse materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Refillable water bottles can make an enormous difference in reducing the production and disposal of plastic, single-use water bottles. Some Jemicy homerooms have also committed to reusable plates and utensils for lunch events. Students in the lower school have participated in “trash-free” lunch exercises to help them make responsible decisions about bringing lunches with reusable containers. Faculty and staff are encouraged to bring their own coffee and tea mugs, or to use those available in the faculty room, rather than styrofoam single-use cups.