January 26, 2010

Conserving resources!!!

We are super pleased with our free life science curriculum that we're using from the Lab of Mr. Q. Over the last few weeks, Hannah Jane has learned about populations, environments, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and more! This week the chapter is focusing on what happens to resources that aren't fully consumed and what happens if we run out of nonrenewable resources.

So, of course, we're figuring out what we can do around here to help. As an activity, we made homemade paper. This was the perfect week to do this because we had a ton of newspapers flood into our house when Hannah Jane was on the cover this week, and we really only want to keep the page she was on. We have 8 leftover middles of newspapers to recycle.

Our old paper making kit has disappeared into the vast recesses of the garage, but my mom unloaded her old paper making kit on us while we were at her house for vacation. It was missing a couching sheet, well, I should say that it proposed a method of paper making that does not require a couching sheet and is way too difficult to master, so our paper didn't turn out so great. We're keeping the pulp so we can ask Joe (master of the garage) if he's seen our old kit anywhere so that we can give it another try tomorrow.

Anyway, here are the steps...

Tear up pieces of old paper or cut up pieces of old jeans and then toss them in the blender. Add a ton of water and blend to make pulp.

Pour the pulp and another few gallons of water into your vat.

Take the screen frame and lower it into the pulp swash it around a bit to get an even layer of pulp, and then lift it out while keeping the frame level. Press the excess water out.

If you have a couching sheet, you press it to the sheet and then press the sheet face down on a drying surface. If you don't like we didn't, I'd say forget peeling it off. It will tear. Let it dry on the screen overnight before you peel it off and make more.

While we were making our paper, we talked about which of the new three r's are most important. WE discussed how it takes additional energy and resources to recycle, but how reducing the amount of junk we bring into the house and reusing what we do bring in use nothing more from planet earth than has already been contributed.

Hannah Jane said, "You know how we talked about world unity starting in our house and then spreading around the earth? Maybe if we reuse with all of our hearts, that will spread around the earth too! Ya think? And then everyone will make less trash!" I love when our previous, and seemingly unrelated talks manage to work their way into other areas! She's such a thoughtful little thing. They boys, hearing her proposal started singing "Ye are drops" while they tore up their paper to throw into the blender. Some days these guys are just too adorable to bear.

I am considering Wall-e for Friday's cartoon so we can think a little more about what would happen if we kept over-consuming. I love that little robot! And the kids will be coming up with their own recycling plan and commitments tomorrow. Science is so much more fun when you're not just sitting behind a book! Thanks Mr. Q!

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