Lifecycle of Stuff

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This semester, in Mrs. Delcaro’s and Mr. Blick’s classes, we have been learning about waste and how everyday objects are made. Lots of students have shared how they reduce the waste in their household. For example, one student said In our house we are pretty careful when we wrap gifts, and try to reuse the gift wrap at Christmas or birthdays’.  Another student shared that they have lots of kids in their family, so they pass down clothes and toys to the younger kids in the family.  Kai showed the class his waste free lunch box, with different compartments to pack food. It’s wonderful to learn about all the different ways that the students are conscious of waste in their own lives, and choosing to reduce it.

When we started the research project on common household objects, the students made some new discoveries.  When I passed out examples of the raw materials for this project, Aiden remarked

‘Wait, what?… cans are made out of rocks?’ 

These prop kits are a great way to better understand natural resources.  Students have seen photos of mines or fields of cotton, but it’s another to be able to hold them in your hand and contemplate the process of transforming the raw materials into something completely different. As the students learned more about bottles, pencils, soccer balls, jeans, batteries and aluminum cans, they discovered that many of these items are made out of rocks/minerals, fossil fuels, plants, and more.


Today was their lifecycle product presentations.  Many students were surprised at how many steps and materials were in something like a battery- as well as the special locations in town to recycle batteries.  Other students were surprised to hear the different kinds of environmental impacts like carbon emissions, habitat destruction and soil pollution that comes from making everyday items. It really makes you think about the many people involved in making a product, as well as all the resources embedded into it.   Knowing all of this creates the respect and responsibility to use a product well.