Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#3157. Let's Recycle Paper

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Jun 10 13:19:34 PDT 2004 by Author Rachael Paulson (

Crestmont Publishing, Sparta, NJ
Materials Required: Large coffee can, bridal netting, sponge ,blender, newspaper and mixed clean paper from school trash
Activity Time: 30 min or more
Concepts Taught: to learn how paper is turned into new product

Read the children's books Johnny& the Old Oak Tree and Sir Johnny's Recycling adventure by Rachael Paulson(see optional
The large coffee can will be cut out on both ends with a can opener. Cut two large squares of bridal netting. Measure over the large hole of the can.This is how big the netting will be.
Take the plastic lid to the coffee can and with a sharp knife cut the middle part out leaving the rim as a frame. Place the one netting over the coffee can top hole and put the plastic lid on top. The bottom of the can will remain empty. Now you have a frame to make paper.
Find a large tupperware tub that the can will be able to sit in. The water and pulp will need to drain out into this small tub.
Your blender needs to be strong in power. Use three or four cups of water and have students tear up paper of all kinds and add to the water and wet.Only one cup of paper is needed.
As paper soaks use an apple and hold it up and ask students to pretend this is the earth. Now cut it in 4 to make a whole.Tell them that the earth is 3 parts water and 1 part land. Hold up the parts of the apple together that are water. Almost the whole thing!!! Even pre-school children understand this when shown.
Then show the one slice that represents the earths land. Explain that the trash that we put in the trash can goes off to a place called a landfill where it is buried. The book Johnny and the Oak Tree helps with this.Shows a picture.
Ask students if they want the one slice of earth, the very little bit of land we have, to be covered with trash. When they react, go back to blender and say that "we must recycle"
Press the button on the blender when top is on and the paper will turn to pulp.
Add colored paper. You have colored pulp.
The students are amazed!
Pour this mixture over the netting and it will be thick and drain into the tub.
Tell students that this is what happens at the factory when paper is recycled. Then put the second netting on top of the pulp and take your sponge and press out all of the water. At the factory there are large machines that do this job.
Now take the can and flip it over onto newspaper on the table and put the sponge inside the can to press down and make the paper flat.
Keep ringing the sponge and tell students when no water comes out of the sponge then we have our paper.
Now,take off the plastic rim and you will have the paper on the netting. It will be dry and firm enough to flip it over like a pancake to the count of three!!!! The students will love this.
Students now understand how their newspapers can be turned into a cereal box. Ask them to look for the arrows that give us that sign.