Students recycle plastic bags

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Mountain View is doing its part to help the environment. Students and staff are collecting plastic bags for recycling. 

In September, the school collected 46 pounds of bags and the October accrual looks to be much higher. It’s all a prelude to the 13th annual Trex Annual Recycling Challenge. Sponsored by Trex, a manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and other outdoor materials, the program challenges schools to collect the most plastic bags between November 15 (America Recycles Day) and April 15. Schools of equal size in the same geographic area are grouped together and the school in each group with the highest collection total will receive a buddy bench made from Trex composite material. 

Each month, the bags are weighed and the collection totals are reported to Trex. The plastic is then brought to designated drop-off points in the area.

In addition to helping reduce the amount of plastic that finds its way into the oceans and landfills, the program heightens the awareness of the impact of plastic on animal and marine life.

“We’re stressing the three R’s – reduce, reuse, and recycle,” said Christine Rogoff, the teacher who organized Mountain View’s participation. “It’s essential that students understand the importance of conservation and that they can make a difference.” 

Collection bins are located in the office, library, and main corridor. Plastic that can be donated for recycling includes:

  • Grocery and retail bags
  • Bread bags
  • Case overwraps
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Ice bags
  • Ziploc and other resealable bags
  • Produce bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Salt bags
  • Cereal bags

Last year, the Trex Annual Recycling Challenge encouraged the recycling of more than 500,000 pounds of bags. 

10 Facts About Single-use Plastic Bags*

  • Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.
  • The amount of gas it takes to drive a car one mile can make 14 plastic bags.
  • The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.
  • Only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest end up in landfills or as litter.
  • Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land.
  • At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean.
  • About 100,000 marine animals are killed annually by plastic bags.
  • One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
  • Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes.
  • It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.

* Source: The Center for Biological Diversity 

Mountain View's holds annual fall run

The New York City Marathon is set for November 3, but Mountain View has already held its big run.

On a picture perfect day, students in grades 1-5 participated in the school's mini marathon, an annual event organized by physical education teachers Sharon Jones and Mike Schwartz. On a course set up on the back field, students in first through third grades walked or ran half a mile while students in grades four and five walked or ran a full mile. It was an event that provided students with additional exercise time beyond their 90 minutes or so of physical education per week while also allowing students to exercise outdoors with their friends.

A number of parent volunteers came out to help support the mini marathon. They helped staff the water station, ran with the students, and were stationed at flags to encourage and direct students around the course.

STEAMed apples

First-graders recently learned about Johnny Appleseed, the folk hero based on a real Revolutionary War-era nursery owner, and engaged in apple-related STEAM activities. 

After reading about Johnny Appleseed in their own classes, the students were divided into four groups which took turns working at four different learning stations in the cafeteria. The kids:

–      predicted whether an apple placed into a tub of water would float or sink, then tested their guesses

–      estimated the number of paper clips that would fit into a drawing of an apple 

–      used a scale and compared the weight of an apple to the weight of everyday objects such as a stuffed animal

–      counted the number of teammates who preferred red, yellow, and green apples, then graphed the results

First-graders are still learning how the world works so the hands-on activities helped them explore in a very structured way. The projects also brought together a variety of skills and subjects. 

“The activities combined math, science, language arts, and social skills,” said teacher Jennifer Miller, who co-teaches a class with Tami Davieau. “The students were completely engaged and interested the entire time. And, since the groups were made up of first-graders from all the classes, they interacted with peers they normally don’t work with.”

In addition, the students completed apple activities in their own classes. Ms. Miller’s students created booklets listing facts about Johnny Appleseed, Kelly Wronko’s class solved apple math problems, and Jen Leone’s class worked on apple writing assignments.

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