|FIELD: Earth Science||DURATION: 2+ hrs|
|OBJECTIVE: Students will experience how simple it is to recycle paper.|
|METHOD: Students create their own paper using the pulp from scrap paper.|
|KEY VOCABULARY: Recycling, paper.||GROUP SIZE: Any|
Paper is created from plants, most commonly the wood of trees. Paper can be made out of a huge number of basic materials that contain the same key ingredient: cellulose. Cellulose is one of the most common substances in plants and helps give them their shape, from the stalk of cellery to the trunk of a tree. Cellulose also gives our paper its texture and provides for most of our clothing (cotton and linen are also made from plants and cellulose).
When we create a pulp from wood, spare plant materials, or scrap paper, we are ripping apart the strong fibers of cellulose that were in the original material. Luckily, we have not permanently damaged them. When pulp is dried, the cellulose fibers will reconstruct themselves and become strong again. If we dry the pulp in a flat, thin shape, the fibers will dry into strong, writable paper.
In this experiment you will create pulp from old newspapers and use cornstarch as a sort of glue to help keep the cellulose fibers intact. You will flatten the pulp and press into paper. When dry you can write on it or recycle it again.