New Rochelle Webster third grade students are STEAM-ing….., into recycling that is. In a recent science and technology block 3rd graders learned all about magnets, metals and their uses.
Ms Galano, Webster’s STEAM coordinator, wanted give this knowledge a tangible context and decided to invite Anna Giordano, New Rochelle’s Recycling Coordinator to the party.
Students learned how the science of physics is used all the time in the realm of recycling. Learning how concepts of gravity, friction, magnetism and resistance are bedrock of how modern material recovery facilities (MRF) sort the different recyclables was quite eye opening for them. Magnets are used to attract ferrous materials out of the recycling stream and anti current is repulsing aluminum to be sorted. Sheer genius.
Currently we are working on mass, volume and weight. And there is no better activity to explore that relationship than weighing lunch waste. Students are standing in front of their neatly sorted two bags of commingled, two bags of food waste, one bag of trays, one bucket of liquids and one bag of soft plastic trash. They make predictions on what might be the heaviest based on volume and then they get down and dirty and weigh each bag, standing on the scale. Isolating the weight of the bag without the child attached brought home that math is for the usage in life, and not just a tedious thing to learn.
Students worked extensively with the balance scale, learning the concept of grams as scientific units. They weighed common packaging material, such as a plastic bottle, a milk carton and some aluminum foil and were quite surprised to realize that just a little bit of liquid left in a container makes a whole lot of difference in the weight of the item.
Capping off the lesson with an explanation on how sorting will reduce their waste to just a single small fluffy bag whereas the other bags were going to composting or recycling, reiterated the basic concept of their daily lunchroom activity.
Webster’s 3rd graders are STEAMing……. into recycling and are lovin’ it.