Makin' That Paper

“It looks like a smoothie,” exclaimed a young voice in Mrs. Pendorf’s class at Weeks Elementary as a blender mixed a concoction of water and blue pulp.

It wasn’t edible, but it was recyclable. And that was the point.

Educators from Cornell Cooperative extension are teaching Windsor second graders how to make paper, with a lesson about recycling mixed in.

“We talk about the natural resources we take from nature, such as trees to make paper, and that by recycling, we can save resources,” said Joshua Enderle, a recycling and composting educator at CCE. “We want to make the connection that what’s old can be made new again through recycling."

The old that Enderle brought into the classroom was shredded copier paper and hand-torn blue paper. By using water, a mold, a deckle, which is a device to limit the size of the sheet, and some elbow grease to press the pulp, students created the new – a whole piece of paper.

“I thought it was really fun. The part that I really liked was dipping my hands into the bowl and feeling all the icky things,” said second grader Ellie Buchannan.

“It was fun. I like how when we blended it, the paper bled its color into the water,” said second grader Gavin Guthrie.

“I like discovering how it came out,” said second grader Paislee Benning.

The CCE educators will bring the lesson to Palmer Elementary on Friday. CCE will also bring a number of other lessons to second-grade classrooms this year, including gingerbread playdough and an animal visit.  

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