“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
The City of New Braunfels and New Braunfels ISD have teamed up to educate our 6th grade students on the importance recycling and how it specifically impacts our community. Did you know that if we continue to consume waste at the same rate as we have in the past, our New Braunfels community landfill will be full in only 15 years?! Unbelievable, right? We’ve got to do something big in our community before it’s too late and New Braunfels City Recycling Coordinator – Catelyn Scholwinski – believes this change could start with our students. She has worked with New Braunfels Middle School and Oak Run Middle school 6th grade teachers for several years now to create a recycling awareness program that every 6th grader participates in. Catelyn believes that by educating our students on the importance of recycling and how it impacts New Braunfels – they will in turn become advocates for recycling within our community as well. Students learn important concepts like how long trash take to decompose in the dump, what materials can be recycled here in New Braunfels, and ways to reuse materials instead of creating more trash. Over the course of 3 days students learn about these concepts through both tech integrated and hands on activities. On the first day of instruction students take a pre-assessment to gauge their knowledge of recycling concepts using Quizizz. Then they are introduced to basic recycling concepts with a quick video in the Ed Puzzle app that has comprehension questions embedded throughout the playback of the video. Students are now ready to begin working with Catelyn and their teachers for an intensive review of recycling and its role here in New Braunfels. Students begin by organizing a timeline of items by how long they think it will take for these items to fully decompose in a dump – this is quite eye opening for students as they realize it will take almost 1000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Students then move on to an interactive discussion in Padlet where they are given real life scenarios here in our community. They must come up with solutions to problems like overflowing trash cans in Landa Park or what to do with debris after a hurricane. Students also get the chance to think about reuse and how to create something new from an everyday item like a picture frame or a pencil box. Students show what they have learned by competing in a fun game of Kahoot over the different recycling concepts that were learned. On day 3 – it gets competitive with hands on games! Students get the chance to demonstrate what they know by playing recycling relay races and other fun games. Students finish up by taking a final assessment using eBackpack Quizzes so Catelyn and the teachers can gauge how much students really got out of the recycling program. Now students are educated on the real problems our community faces when it comes to garbage and can advocate for recycling. They now have an informed voice and can create a positive impact on our community for years to come.