EAST COUNTY — Haile Middle School sixth-graders celebrated Earth Day, by gathering and assembling 30,000 plastic caps into sea creatures — or any art fitting an “Under the Sea” theme — and staking them across the school’s courtyard.
The project, meant to show kids can better the environment by something as simple as not trashing bottle caps, started when Amy Bane, Haile sixth- and seventh-grade science teacher, saw similar projects lining the grounds of a zoo in Michigan.
She came back with an idea to mimic the zoo idea, and, on March 1, 260 students under two sixth-grade teachers — science department Chair Elizabeth Trafford is the other — began rummaging through garbage cans for milk cartons and juice boxes and prodding parents to recycle.
“This shows kids they can reduce, reuse and recycle, because a lot don’t do that already,” Bane said.
After collecting caps on their own, filling Publix bags, groups of eight first drew designs on paper, traced it onto cardboard and covered the design with colored bottle caps.
The projects took two days to assemble before the gallery walk on Earth Day, April 22, when students and teachers could view the designs in the school’s courtyard.
Audrey Price and Jade Hayden printed out clip art of a jellyfish, cut it out, traced it and drowned it with 200 caps.
Jade comes from a recycling-conscious family.
“When my dad tries to throw something away, I stop him,” Jade said. “I learned from this project that kids can make a difference. This small project with caps did this (pointing to her project). That’s pretty cool.”
The project kicks off a sixth-grade science environmental unit, to start after Earth Day.
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.