Ecology Fair shows students ‘reusing can be fun’
By Pixie Sulser
Students turned discarded Easter eggs into race cars and designed a track from paper towel tubes and cardboard boxes. Plastic liter bottles became bowling pins, while a ring toss game was created using water bottles and plastic lids.
“I really wanted my students to think about the footprint we are leaving behind, and to think what can we do about it?” explained Ramona Community School teacher Laura Worthen, whose fifth- and sixth-graders spent several weeks creating games and prizes from recycled materials for their Ecology Fair.
Worthen provided her young ecologists with paint, pipe cleaners, craft eyeballs and glue, but all other building materials had to come from recycled materials and their imagination.
“Preparing for the Ecology Fair gave the class a chance to use their intellect as well as their creativity,” said Worthen.
During the two weeks the class collected materials, Worthen could see the students’ views of their world expand.
“Students brought in materials from home and even picked up trash as they ran with the Running Club,” she said. “The sheer amount we gathered in a short time made quite an impression.”
“I wanted them to be aware that every product has a consequence on the earth,” continued Worthen.
The older students partner with younger classes for other activities so it was natural for Worthen’s class to invite the kindergarten through third-grade classes to participate in the Ecology Fair. The earth friendly games were set up inside the classroom as well as out. The younger students moved from activity to activity playing games and winning prizes that were also made from recycled goods. The older students took turns talking to the younger kids about what ecology means and explaining how people can think about their impact on the earth.
“The students, both the creators and the participants saw that reusing can be fun,” said Worthen. “I believe they also realized that we don’t have to always spend money to have a good time. Besides the students’ increased awareness of their world, the best part, for me, was seeing the hard work my students put forth in their projects, and the pride they felt in doing something for the benefit of others. We’re already planning ideas for next year.”
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