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Waverly Students Recycle Crayons Ahead of Earth Day

Some Waverly students celebrated Earth Day early this week, as Nicole Ullrich’s kindergarten class got a hands-on lesson about the importance of conservation


On Thursday afternoon, the youngsters dug through boxes of discarded crayons—stripping them of old wrappers before placing them in molds and melting them down to create new coloring instruments—part of an annual recycling tradition for Ullrich’s students that aligns with the kindergarten science curriculum.


“This is all part of our Unit 3 learning; one part of it is about conservation, another part is about the relationship between animals and their habitat,” said Ullrich. “We talk about recycling and why it’s important, and repurposing these crayons is really a way for the students to see recycling in action, showing how something old can be made new again.”


Ullrich noted that the activity allows students to take ownership of the idea of conservation in a very practical way while also incorporating other lessons the class has learned throughout the year, including reading comprehension, sequencing and pattern recognition. 


“I always like to make my lessons interdisciplinary, so even though this is a science lesson, I wanted to get that reading aspect in there by using a flow-map to show them the actual steps they will need to follow to make the experiment work correctly,” said Ullrich. “They’re using their decoding skills to read and, using the visuals of the flow-map, they can connect those words to the pictures so that they can understand the process as they go step-by-step.”


Once those steps were followed, students found themselves with freshly created heart-shaped crayons, a pleasant bonus on top of an already exciting—and informative—afternoon.


“I just think it’s a really great opportunity for them to take part in the recycling process; they can throw their bottles and their paper in the recycling bin, but the fact that they’re able to create something new gives them a very important message,” said Ullrich. “The project really lets them see how this can actually be done.