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Paper Activities Preparing Everyone to Recycle


Summary: Twelve AP Chemistry students will begin a study of paper-making and recycling paper with a visit to a pilot paper machine at the Department of Wood & Paper Science, NC State University. University professors will inform students about the chemical processes involved in converting wood into pulp for papermaking, instruct them on how the paper machine operates, discuss with them steps involved in the paper recycling process and inform them about environmental issues related to recycling. Back at school, the chemistry students will continue their study of the science of pulping, papermaking and the recycling of paper by completing a series of five laboratory activities.  After completing the laboratory exercises, chemistry students will use the recycled paper obtained from their visit to the university to produce digitally illustrated lab manuals that will instruct 27 fifth graders in the science of recycling paper and the importance of recycling to the environment.  After studying environmental issues such as pollution and water quality, the fifth graders will visit the high school chemistry lab.  Partnered with chemistry students, the fifth graders will use the lab manuals written for them to complete the activities.  The recycled paper that the fifth graders make while at the high school will be used to create note cards on which they will write personal messages thanking the chemistry students for helping them understand more about recycling paper and especially about high school chemistry.


Need Statement: The School Improvement Plan (SIP) states that "Education is a total community responsibility."  This project will actively address this issue by involving university professors in facilitating chemistry students in their study of paper science, helping chemistry students create learning materials for fifth graders and in instructing the younger students in laboratory activities. The SIP also states that students will exhibit positive character traits, be involved in the learning process, and be technologically advanced.  The students will create learning materials suitable for fifth graders based on their personal experiences of learning about paper. Chemistry students will serve as ambassadors for the high school as they exhibit the positive character traits of kindness, responsibility and respect as they work one-on-one with younger students.  Chemistry students will gain technology experience as they use digital cameras, scanners and computers to create the lab manuals that the fifth graders will use.


Strength Statement:

·         The University Professors will assist the chemistry teacher in creating and implementing the five labs that the AP chemistry students will complete.  By hosting a visit from the chemistry students to the university, they will intrigue the students in the complexity and importance of recycling paper, providing them with learning experiences they would not get without participating in this project.  They will evaluate the lab activities written by the chemistry students for the fifth graders for scientific correctness and procedural accuracy and safety.

·         The AP Chemistry teacher will provide expertise in creating activities suitable for the high school chemistry student.  Being aware of the high school’s lab facilities, safety issues and knowledge of chemistry, the teacher will guide the chemistry students as they create the lab manuals for the fifth graders. 

·         The Fifth Grade teacher will serve as the expert in editing the lab manuals, making sure the reading level of the documents and the hands-on activities are suitable for fifth grade students.




·         By working with university professors, the teachers will gain the confidence and knowledge needed to incorporate new and current science technology and topics into the classroom.   As students witness teachers working cooperatively with one another and university professors, they will see that learning is a life long enjoyable process and that each individual has a responsibility in sharing his or her expert knowledge in order create environments that support unique and exciting learning environments.

·         The challenging lab activities will be based on concepts and issues that are relevant to students’ everyday lives and require them to use technology in unique ways.  Involving the university professors will allow the high school and fifth grade students to gain experiences they would not normally receive.  Chemistry students will develop an understanding of how to scientifically analyze environmental issues rather than to emotionally respond to perceptions without investigation.  Chemistry students’ understanding and knowledge of science will be reinforced as they develop learning materials for the younger students. The fifth graders will gain a greater appreciation for their environment as they study various environmental issues.  The fifth graders will have the opportunity to visit the high school and see first hand that and see that science is “cool”, learning is “fun” and that they, too, can be leaders among their peers and within the community.


Sustainability:  The lab activities developed for the chemistry students will be tried and tested and available for use by other teachers within the department.  All the other chemistry students will use the equipment this year as they complete a similar study of papermaking and the recycling of paper.  The lab manuals created for the fifth graders will be available for use by other elementary school teachers.  The non-consumable materials provided by this project would be available for future use by the high school and elementary school teachers.  The university professors, chemistry teacher and the fifth grade teacher will present this project at the 2001 NC Science Teachers Conference.



·         January: Materials ordered, field trip paperwork completed.

·         January – March: Collaboration among university professors, chemistry teacher and fifth grade teacher in development of lab activities.

·         April – May:

·         Chemistry students will learn the science of pulping plant fibers and the recycling of paper by completing a series of five laboratory activities.

·         Chemistry students visit a pilot paper machine at the Department of Wood & Paper Science, NC State University.

·         Chemistry students create lab manuals for fifth graders.

·         Fifth graders visit the high school chemistry lab.  Partnered with chemistry students, the fifth graders will use the lab manuals written for them and complete the activities.

·         Fifth graders will use the paper they recycled to create note cards.



·         Teachers and university professors will complete evaluations describing the success of the project making recommendations for improvements if the project is repeated.  Evaluations will also address the levels of commitment and cooperation of the teachers, and the extent to which classroom practices have been enriched.

·          Chemistry students will: (1) be quizzed after their visit to the university; (2) complete detailed lab reports that will include critical thinking and application questions for each of the five activities they complete; (3) describe what they learned form their visit to the university; (4) produce digitally illustrated lab manuals suitable for fifth graders according to an outlined grading rubric; (5) be evaluated by the fifth graders and the fifth grade teacher as to their willingness to help, knowledge of their subject and enthusiasm for science and learning.

·         Fifth graders will complete evaluations in which they will describe what they already know about the recycling of paper and environmental concerns, what they would like to learn more about on the topic of recycling of paper, and what they learned after visiting the high school and completing the lab activities that the chemistry students prepared for them.




·        Field trip to NC State University

bus driver @ $11.00/hr                                                                                      $88.00

·        mileage @ $1.80/hr                                                                                            $108.00

·        Field trip to high school

bus driver @ $11.00/hr                                                                                      $22.00

      mileage @ $1.80/hr                                                                                            $36.00

·        27 safety goggles for fifth graders                                                              $166.00

·        cheesecloth                                                                                                   $10.00

·        20 blenders                                                                                                    $300.00

·        20 irons                                                                                                          $300.00

·        2 printers                                                                                                        $400.00

·        ink cartridges                                                                                                 $120.00

·        1 Environmental Stream Table                                                                    $100.00

·        1 balances                                                                                                     $250.00

·        2 hot plates                                                                                                    $600.00



Total                                                                                                                          $2500.00        




Revised Budget


·        Field trip to NC State University

bus driver @ $11.00/hr                                                                                      $88.00

      mileage @ $1.80/hr                                                                                            $138.00

·        Field trip to high school

bus driver @ $11.00/hr                                                                                      $22.00

      mileage @ $1.80/hr                                                                                            $36.00

·        27 safety goggles for fifth graders                                                                    $166.00 

(a different group of students from another school will be participating this year)

·        cotton linter for artist papermaking activities                                       $150.00

(this is for a new activity that students will do that was tried and liked last year)


TOTAL REQUESTED                                                                                      $600.00