ROXBURY, NJ (November 14, 2019) – Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” Well, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for students at Nixon Elementary School in Roxbury Township as they held their third annual Green Fair on Friday, October 18th with the help and organization of the Nixon School PTA Green Team. The theme of this year’s fair focused on reusing and recycling various items.
The team created eight stations run by parent volunteers and staff members for the students to rotate through and have fun in all while using reusable or recycled things found in the home.
Students created festive pumpkin sun catchers in the library made with old wire clothes hangers that could have been recycled but instead were used in a fun craft activity for the K-4 students. “We had a mom who donated a ton of these for the green fair,” said Lenore Palen, the PTA Green Fair Chair.
Another station took place in the enclosed Husky Garden. Students went on a scavenger hunt to find different items found in nature. Students searched for something with water, something made of glass, a bug, a pinecone, etc. The dozen or so items got checked off quickly as students worked in teams moving throughout the space noting the koi pond, the giant praying mantis on the side wall, the dormant greenhouse, among other things.
The remaining six stations took place outside in the back of the school near the playground. Stations 3, 4, and 5 all tied together with children making, decorating, and racing cars similar to the pinewood derby-style event.
Palen shared, “I’d been working with Rodney Walker, a parent with twins in the second grade, who had the idea of using plastic bottle caps as wheels to let the kids make cars.”
Station 3 had the students building the cars using scrap pieces of wood and sandpaper boards for shaping the body, plastic tops for the wheels, and dowel rods to hold them together. Station 4 allowed the students to decorate and color their cars with markers and then take turns racing them in Station 5 against their classmates with the help of fourth-grader Holden Riesebeck’s dad, Dave Latella. Excited squeals of delight and enthusiasm could be heard during each race as children cheered the cars on as they raced down the ramp to see who came in first. An engineering component tied problem-solving into this station as students needed to think about the size and shape of their wheels and how it would affect the cars speed during the race and making adjustments as they went along.
Station 6 took more effort as students had to “shop” in teams for a relay race to identify various items that had the least amount of plastic. Students were presented two household items and they needed to choose the more environmentally-friendly one. For instance, there was a disposable plastic water bottle and reusable one, the students chose the reusable one almost every time. A harder one for some was the bar of soap and a plastic bottle of liquid hand soap. When students selected the plastic bottle of soap, the parent volunteer would inform
them that the plastic could be recycled but the bar of soap wouldn’t have anything that would go to waste making it a more environmentally friendly option. At the end of the relay, students were able to ask why one item would be a better choice versus the other, each learning a little lesson about the various items as they were held up.
As any parent of a small child knows, sometimes playing with the box is more fun than the thing inside as was evident in the remaining two stations. The PTA purchased child-friendly tools to use with cardboard and collected huge amounts of the stuff for the kids to build their own play areas letting their imaginations run wild.
Using assorted sizes and types of cardboard, students turned into architects as they built diverse buildings and play areas and then were able to play in what they had created. As each class cycled through, the structures got bigger and more complex.
“We had a few parents build a couple of examples beforehand to start the kids out. The tools and hardware will be able to be reused for future years, and when we are done with the cardboard, it can all be recycled! We bought a small set of these tools for our girls and they love it. The best part is that they both were able to do it safely by themselves with a little initial guidance,” said Palen.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the PTA Green Team Planners and Volunteers! Thanks for helping our students find enjoyment in being green!
PHOTO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)
- · Fourth graders Adrianna Stigliano, Alexandra Osbun, and Kaeleigh Statlander show off their sun catcher pumpkins
- · Ms. Montano’s fourth grade class show off their cars as they prepare to race
- · Ms. Montano’s fourth grade class hold up the “least plastic” soap item
- · Mrs. McNemar’s fourth grade class race their cars
- · Fourth grader Gabriella Dinelle builds her car
- · Fourth grader checks out the praying mantis
- · Second Grader Anabella Gonzalez creates with cardboard
- · Mrs. Arms’ 4th Grade Class Building Cars
- · Cardboard Village
VIDEO ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Schools)
- · Mrs. Arms 4th Grade Class Races their cars
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