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THE USES OF JUNK

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Middle school science teacher Ms. Fizzle has found one way to keep her classroom well-stocked with materials: Collecting trash. She says she has come into her own as a "collector of trash treasures" this year after an appreciative art teacher started dipping into a "stuff box" she'd been keeping:

[O]nce the art teacher took the hangers, I went crazy. Now, I collect glass bottles, plastic bottles, yoghurt containers, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, coffee cans, rubber bands, cardboard, egg cartons, crates, and pretty much anything else that speaks to me.
I'm right on the verge of putting a box in the teacher's bathroom and a sign asking teachers to collect the empty toilet paper rolls for me.

But she does have certain limits (and limitations):

Last week, I pondered taking a bunch of foam that was out in the trash, but it had been sitting there for a few days and didn't look too clean. When I pass bundled up boxes—especially refrigerator cartons—I secretly wish I had a station wagon and could come back and take them.
2 Comments

That's "Ms. Frizzle."

Ahh, this brings back fond memories. I teach at the university level now, but in my days as "Dr. Brad the Science Dad" at preschools and elemetary schools in Houston, TX, I kept closets full of plastic bottles and empty film cannisters and cardboard tubes and whatever else I could collect. Now, as an educator of teachers of science, I strongly advocate the use of such simple items. The benefits are numerous including saving money and making science fun, but most importantly proving to kids that science is not some unattainable arcane practice that takes place in sterile controlled environments. Keep up the good work, Ms Fizzle.

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