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Young Naturalist Day at Walter Bickett Elementary

Students at Walter Bickett Elementary listen attentively to a CATA student's presentation.

On Thursday April 7, ten Teacher Preparation students accompanied by Ms. Kortney Kopchick and Mrs. Martha Burgess went to Walter Bickett Elementary School to teach fifth graders about reducing, reusing, and recycling materials. They also brought in the global theme of the recent tsunami in Japan.

There were three sessions, each including approximately forty fifth graders. Each session started out with the young students learning about waste and how to reduce, reuse items, and recycle materials.

Miranda Ritz said “I was really surprised at how smart they were and how much they already knew about recycling and about the tsunami.” Once they had learned about recycling, the forty students were split into two groups of twenty. One group stayed in the first room while the other was taken across the hall to another room.

Each group participated in a hands-on activity that illustrated to them what they could recycle. The students were excited to participate and many volunteered to go up and take a piece of litter from a backdrop of common polluted areas.

The students then placed the litter in either a trash can or in a recycling bin. They were then asked to explain why they chose where they put it. Christiane Wimbish said, “Some students knew that items such as paper and aluminum could be recycled, but most were surprised to see that cell phones, batteries, and yogurt cartons could be easily reused or recycled.” Eventually, all of the materials from the polluted areas ended up in the recycling bin.  

After the activity, the fifth graders participated in a turn and talk activity on the recent tsunami in Japan. The students looked at pictures of the initial wall of water, damages and water pollution.

They discussed many things among them, what the children of Japan are doing now how they could help. Sophie McKnight added “The students had great ideas about how they could help the kids in Japan such as donating things they don’t use like their clothes and toys. These ideas fit in perfectly with our lesson on recycling and reusing items.” Christiane Wimbish, Kelsey Joyner, Alicia Vazquez, and Emily Weatherford led the children in the “break-out sessions.”

At the end of each session, the students who were the most active participants were allowed to select a prize. Ms. Kopchick’s students all participated in an activity in which they reused an item that would normally be considered “waste.” The “new” items were given out as the prizes. These prizes were things such as cereal boxes made into magazine holders, milk jugs transformed into bird feeders, toothbrushes made into bracelets, and many other very creative items.

At the end, every student involved was given a necklace made from melted down and shaped bottle caps. “Mrs. Burgess and I are both very proud of the work the girls put into their presentations. They incorporated discussion techniques and important global issues into activities that really engaged their target audience.” expressed Ms. Kopchick.

Written by: Kortney Kopchick
Edited by: Deb Christensen
Posted: Apr 11, 2011 by Ms. Deb Christensen

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