Making Recycled Paper

Grade Level: , , , , ,
Theme:

Activity Overview: In your own classroom, you can show a small example of what happens to all of that recycled paper produced by the school. Students have the opportunity to become part of the “recycle” process by breaking down used paper and recreating a new, usable product from the waste. This activity can be messy, as students produce paper pulp and then dry it to new sheets of paper. The instructions recommend to dry paper outside for the best results.

Materials: 

  • old papers – shredded if possible (do not use newspapers because of black ink)
  • screen
  • old towels
  • hand beaters, electric beaters or blenders
  • rolling pins or large glass jars
  • large plastic buckets

Time: 2x 45 minute class periods

Day 1:

  1. Students work in groups and tear paper into small pieces.
  2. Place torn paper in buckets.
  3. Add hot water to cover.
  4. Stir and then beat paper and water. (Small amounts can be removed to smaller containers so more students can be involved in the beating process.)
  5. Observe any changes in pulp and record.

Later Day 1 or Day 2:

  1. Drain water and add hot water. Beat pulp and observe and record any changes.
  2. Take buckets of pulp, screen, towels, and rolling pins outside.
  3. Lay a towel on the cement and the screen on the towel.
  4. Students put handfuls of pulp on screen.
  5. Use rolling pins to spread pulp out over screen like cookie dough (not too thin or it will tear).
  6. Place a dry towel on top of screen.
  7. Turn over the top towel and screen together carefully so the screen is now on top.
  8. Remove screen and allow paper to dry on towel (drying time depends on weather and temperature).
  9. Repeat until all pulp in is on drying towels.

Additional Options

  • Dry wildflowers or leaves and mount on recycled paper.
  • Crumble potpourri into buckets of pulp before you put it onto the screens for more texture in your paper.

TEKS

SCI.K.1A, SCI.1.1A, SCI.2.1A, SCI.3.1A, SCI.4.1A, SCI.5.1A, SCI.K.1B, SCI.1.1B, SCI.2.1B, SCI.3.1B, SCI.4.1B, SCI.5.1B, SCI.K.2A, SCI.1.2A, SCI.2.2A, SCI.3.2A, SCI.4.2A, SCI.5.2A

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