Saturday, April 07, 2001
Earth Day lasts all week
Hands-on activities enforce the lessons
By Sue Kiesewetter
FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP When four sets of hands reached into a water-filled dishpan to spread a paper pulp mixture across a plastic grid inside a frame, the squeals began.
"It feels mushy very mushy, like a swamp, said 10-year-old Lauren Teague of Fairfield Township as she began spreading the pulp.
It was only the third step in a 10-part process to make recycled paper that Mary Jo Lahrmann explained to students at Fairfield North Elementary School as part of the school's week-long celebration of Earth Day. Each third- and fourth-grade class spent 45 minutes Wednesday or Thursday making paper under Mrs. Larhrmann's direction. She is an environmental educator with the Butler County Recycling and Litter Prevention Program.
Making paper from recycled scraps are, from left: Aleisha Moore, Lauren Teague, Jordan Glawe and Courtney Wilson.|
(Dick Swaim photo)
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Split into groups, the students picked white and colored construction paper scraps that they tore into small pieces and put into a blender with water. The resulting pulp mixture was used to make a fresh sheet of paper.
Lauren, along with Courtney Wilson, Jordan Glawe and Aleisha Moore tried to pick light colored scraps to keep with an Easter theme. Their first attempt turned out bright pink, a second try yielded a peach color.
"I thought it would look tie-dye or light pink because we put in a lot of white, said Aleisha, 10.
"It was hard when we had to start over, added Jordan, 10. "We had to be real careful not to break the paper in half. As the pulp was processed and the water squeezed out of the mixture, it thickened, bonded and became more paper-like until it was finally laid on sheets of newspaper to dry overnight.
"Doing a hands-on activity really helps them see how things work, Mrs. Lahrmann said. They remember the activity. They associate the rest of the information with it. And they have fun.
The hardest part, said Sydney Salyer, 9, was trying to separate the bonded pulp from its backing without ripping the newly created piece of paper.
"I think they better understand now what recycling means, said fourth grade teacher Connie Proctor.
The project also tied in to the social studies curriculum.
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