Dan’s #ClassroomStory: For the love of our environment
Two years ago, I introduced a STEM club at our school. It’s been going very strong, with lots of interest and exciting projects going on.
Most recently, our new students were involved in a beach project to raiseawareness of plastic pollution rolling up on the beaches and in the oceans. This led me to contact our local recycling centre to ask what we could do as a school, to contribute or help out in any way. They explained to us that they were unable to recycle the plastic bottle lids due to safety reasons.
So, over the summer, I built various machines that enable us to shred plastic bottles and form them into new materials. The students are very excited about this and are bringing in plastic bottle lids from home. Every week we have up to 100 students helping out to sort them into colours. They then sprinkle them into colours and sheets to make new materials.
These materials are used as part of their projects; anything from slippers to bluetooth amplifiers. We’ve now built an injection moulder, so students can create new things like bookmarks for english and put together enterprise projects.
“This has led to new and exciting venues for the school, and us as teachers and staff.”
The students have taken over the project now. They are running things and shredding the plastics. They’re also looking at computer coding to build a machine that will help sort the plastic bottle lids into their colours (apart from black, which is a problem for them at the moment, but they’ll overcome that!) We are going to use our new machine, which is a PET bot allowing us to recycle plastic bottles into new 3D printer filament and to 3D print new items using plastic bottles.
Our next step is to make a bamboo bike, for sustainability. We’ll use this bike to power our christmas tree lights. The students are really involved in this; they’ve raised their own awareness of the environment and sustainability as well as understanding their impact on the environment, and what they need to do to protect it in the future. I’m very excited about what this means for our STEM club.