Fourth-graders take on plastics

Jan 29 2020

Fourth-graders take on plastics

Compiling data

Sometimes classroom lessons can change lives outside the school. In the fourth grade, students are already cutting back on their use of plastics.

It’s a side effect of a unit that’s focusing on plastics and their effect on the environment. The students learned how slowly plastics, especially disposable bags, degrade and how they ultimately find a way into our food supply.

The students broke up into groups and are trying to figure out ways to reduce the effect of plastics. One group visited all the classes of the Lower School and shared information to encourage them to stop using plastics. Another is creating a filter to clean micro plastics from water. Another is creating a presentation that encourages people to use biodegradable plastic. Still another group researched the impact of plastic bags and wrote letters to H-E-B, Target and Walmart that offered reasons not to use plastic bags.

All the fourth-graders visited the Lincoln Heights H-E-B, with clipboards in hand to tabulate the number of different kinds of bags. Students stationed themselves at the doors and with the curbside staff. Based on 20 minutes of data, they extrapolated to an hour and here’s what they found:

  • 212 plastic bags
  • 73 reusable bags
  • Only a few paper bags, not statistically significant.

The students who wrote the letter to grocery stores — Luci, Caroline, and Phoebe — are going to share their findings with H-E-B.

The fourth graders are hoping to visit a stretch of the San Antonio River to gather more data.

So how is this project affecting the students? Nearly all of them said they were reducing their personal use of plastic, and encouraging their families to help.

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