Three classes did this challenge (2 grade 8’s and 1 grade 9). We started off by the girls guessing how much water is needed to make 1 sheet of paper. They were shocked and amazed to find out that 10 litres of water is needed to make 1 sheet of paper. They were then asked to discuss how they think paper is made. An interesting discussion followed. A short video clip on making paper was then shown. Pupils then did an activity in groups where they sequenced pictures representing the paper making process in the correct order. They highlighted the stages requiring water and those that could cause water pollution. Pupils then created a ‘human’ picture on different stages of the paper recycling process.
A discussion was then had on various aspects of water pollution that can be caused by the paper making process and the effects of this on the environment and organisms and how to prevent this pollution.
To explore further the pupils found out that the school uses about 22 000 sheets of paper per month for photocopying and this would equal 198 000 sheets per year (holidays excluded). This is using 1 980 000 litres of water!!! The pupils were shocked by the amount of paper used and pledged to encourage the school to go digital. Most pupils now have tablets. Going digital is slowly happening – notices are no longer printed – they are put on line for parents to view. Through Edmodo, various resources are also made available to pupils rather than printing them out.
To offset this, recycling is big at Danville – this year (two terms), 1051750 sheets of paper were recycled. This saves lots of water (and resources – trees) from being used to make new paper. Recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 26 500 litres of water and 17 trees. We found out that there are 200 000 sheets of paper in 1 ton of paper. So we have recycled 5.25 tonnes of paper and saved 139356 litres of water in 1 term so far.