By: Shelby Baker – Communications Intern
On December 8th, 2015, Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) teamed up with Akron public schools to host a Waste in Place training seminar. Waste in Place is a Keep America Beautiful curriculum created and field tested by professional educators, used by schools across the country.
32 fourth grade science educators from Akron public and private schools showed up to learn ways to incorporate environmental topics, ranging from litter prevention to waste management systems, inside the classroom. The workshops consisted of creating paper, sorting trash, making garbage pizzas and much more that made for a pretty informational and awesome day!
Sue Smith, Affiliate Trainer and Director of Education at Keep America Beautiful, kicked the day of workshops off bright and early with a smile! Each workshop started with an informational session on Keep America Beautiful, followed by training for the Waste in Place curriculum guide. Each educator was able to have their own curriculum guide which includes 33 lesson plans on preventing litter, encouraging recycling, and methods for managing trash, that they will be able to use in their fourth grade classroom. Jennifer Williams, of Case Elementary, said that being able to keep the Waste in Place binder was one of the most useful things offered by the workshop. Along with providing Waste In Place activity materials, each workshop focused on implementing waste management lesson plans in the classroom, through hands on activities. As a former educator herself, Sue stressed the flexibility of the Waste In Place lessons. Waste In Place offers a variety of lessons and activities to accommodate a variety of time restrictions and classroom styles.
Sue Smith pointed out that the way we learn information tends to be how we teach that information. With that being said, Sue made sure that all the lessons taught during the seminar were hands on! This was a fun way for each group of educators to move about the room and experience teaching waste management first hand. Three stations were created for individuals to work from and they consisted of paper making, trash sorting and making garbage pizza.
Station One: Making Paper
At the first station groups were taught how to make paper from none other than, recycled paper. Although making paper from paper seems odd, it was fun and quite messy! Individuals used various colors of paper and ground them up in a blender before pouring them in water and dabbing them dry. The results were awesome, as we got to see many colors and shapes of paper!
Station Two: Sorting Trash
This station was not as eventful as recreating paper that you can write on, but it was still very informational. Groups learned that not everything is actually recyclable. Instead they went through piles of trash, brought in by Sue, and sorted each item by it’s recycling number. This was an opportunity to learn the differences in plastic composition and to demonstrate the proper way of separating recycling.
Station Three: Making Trash Pizza
At station three each individual got a chance to make a pizza to take home. The only problem was, it was made of trash. As gross as this sounds, making trash pizza was arguably the most fun hands on station at the workshop! Slices of pizza represented different solid waste categories and the final product turned out to be a three-dimensional pie chart! KAB saw some pretty cool looking pizzas leave the workshop that day. Just check out the one Sue brought in for an example. It’s awesome!
The whole day of Waste in Place seminars were great! KAB loved seeing educators become so passionate about teaching recycling and waste management in the classroom. Educator, Karen Hazlett, of Miller South, mentioned the workshop, “Reminded me of the fun I can have in the classroom and the need for this kind of education”.
Of course the day would not have been so great without the knowledge and passion Sue Smith has for teaching these lessons. Not only did we enjoy watching Sue teach, but the groups enjoyed having her as well. Katie Osborn of one Akron Public school said, “Every dollar you spent to have Sue here was well worth it!”, and we couldn’t agree more! Sue made each workshop enjoyable and fun while teaching some very important information.
Thank you to the Sisler McFawn Foundation and Keep Ohio Beautiful who helped sponsor this workshop for all fourth grade educators in Summit County.