By GreatSchools Staff
Given the economy, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” may be a familiar saying in your household, but it doesn’t hurt to remind your child how much we rely on forests for other needs, including that school-supply staple paper. According to the EPA, the average American uses the equivalent of a 100-foot Douglas fir tree in paper and paper products annually. Help your child make the connection between conserving natural resources and recycling by introducing her to the art of papermaking.
Explain to her that paper sheets contain different amounts of wood pulp — paper with a high "bond number" has more pulp — and that the pulp is made up of shorter or longer cellulose fibers (which can be viewed with a microscope or hand lens). Every time paper is recycled, the fibers get shorter, and after being recycled five to seven times, the fibers become too short and brittle. By turning old scraps into homemade paper, your child will not only extend the life of discarded Post-Its, paper towels, and magazines, but she’ll also create a uniquely textured material perfect for greeting cards, bookmarks, and other crafty gifts.
Reuse old scraps to make paper from scratch and, in the process, add homemade flair.
Cut a piece of screening at least two inches larger all around than your hoops. Separate the two parts of one of the hoops and stretch the screen over the inner one tightly. Secure it with the outer hoop, just as you would a piece of fabric for embroidering. This hoop is now the mold, and the unscreened hoop is the deckle.
Adapted from an activity designed by Dr. Fred Stein, a science educator at the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry, a national science-education-reform project based in San Francisco.
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