Over the last three weeks, students at Twin Rivers Elementary have been investigating the ‘Story of Stuff’. After learning about the typical life cycle of everyday products (Extraction of raw materials, Production, Distribution, Consumption and Disposal) and exploring some of the environmental impacts associated with each stage, students launched a group research project. Groups researched the life cycle of their object (pencils, aluminum cans, glass bottles or jeans) and created a group presentation to deliver to the class.
Last week, we were treated to four well-researched and creative presentations. Groups identified the raw materials in their objects and explored the impacts associated with extracting these things from the earth. They then outlined the rest of the stages in their object’s ‘story’, ending with the crucial Disposal stage. Groups explained that while their objects all too often end up in the landfill after use, there are many alternatives to keep those valuable resources ‘cycling’.
To finish up the class, we discussed the value of ‘getting loopy’. In other words, we brainstormed ways of keeping resources cycling, rather than letting the Story of Stuff end at a landfill. It’s far better to reuse resources than to continually extract virgin raw materials from the Earth. Getting loopy can save valuable resources, conserve energy and reduce our impacts on the environment.