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Palmer Lake fourth graders learn about plastic pollution, solutions

Palmer Lake fourth graders learn about plastic pollution, solutions

Fourth grade students at Palmer Lake Elementary spent the last four weeks of the school year on an interdisciplinary learning project about plastic. They then presented their findings to family and other students on May 30 and 31. 

a students gives his presentation to a visitor

The unit combined math, science, art and music to help students find the answers to three questions:

  • What impact does plastic have on our lives?
  • How does one person affect the environment?
  • How can one person make a difference in the community? 

Students looked at local and global environmental changemakers, collected their plastic waste in a bin to see how fast it added up, and learned which materials are biodegradable versus not. 

a big tub of the classroom's plastic waste

They then created their own projects that shared a problem that relates to plastic and potential solutions to share with others. Project ideas included posters, a song, slideshows and videos. 

This is the third year that Palmer Lake teachers Hannah Johnson and Ashley Matthews have done this project at the end of the year, though they said the interdisciplinary unit evolves a little each year. 

Johnson said she noticed that students made changes to their usual habits as the unit progressed, such as bringing reusable water bottles to school rather than plastic ones. The teachers will gift each student with a set of reusable travel silverware at the end of the year to encourage them to reuse.