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Fits Us to a T

Students build leadership and organizational skills with this community service project. Create T-shirts with colorful images that can be worn by the school’s ColorCycle Crew.

  • Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Introduce the Crayola ColorCycle project, why your school is participating and how the markers are transformed into clean energy. Discuss the need for clean energy and why it is better to repurpose markers rather than put them in landfills. Refer to resources listed in lessons for earlier grades if this material is new to students.
    2. Whenever a new program is implemented in a school, there is a group of individuals who serve as the leaders to plan the participation logistics and communicate the messages. Urge the students to consider: What qualities do strong leaders possess? How do they recruit enthusiastic participants? How do they organize others to get a job done? Discuss your school’s plans for the ColorCycle project and the students’ roles as leaders. Have students gather in small groups to brainstorm ways to communicate information about the school's ColorCycle plans. Some ideas they might brainstorm include: Communicate the reason for participating. Organize the logistics of collection. Motivate students to collect used markers. Establishing a success metric (target goal for quantity to collect) and measuring success along the way. These are roles a group of students can lead. For example, in some schools students maintain an ongoing tally of the number of markers the school has collected and translating that into how much energy will being produced. Student leaders can announce the figures periodically, to keep the momentum going and motivate others to continue collecting. Some marker-to-fuel equivalencies follow:
    3. Most vehicles run on gasoline or diesel fuels: 8.2-8.3 pounds of markers (about 312 markers) = 1 gallon of fuel. Fuel from 6 markers can take a Prius 1 mile. Fuel from 12 markers can take the average car 1 mile. Fuel from 31 markers can take a Hummer H1 1 mile.
    4. Fuel is also used for cooking: The energy from 1 marker will fry an egg. The energy from 2 markers will cook a serving of spaghetti. The energy from 10 markers will cook an egg, toast, and coffee.
    5. The energy from markers can also generate electricity: Electricity is measured in watts and energy is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Unit) 38 markers can generate 17,340 BTUs 1 marker will light a 60 watt bulb for over 2 hours.
    6. Often leadership teams wear an iconic piece of clothing to easily identify them when a new program is launched. Your school’s student ColorCycle Crew may want to make T shirts to identify the group of student leaders, especially on key days for program announcements and collection. Your school should decide who serves on the leadership team and creates a ColorCycle Crew T-shirt.
    7. To decorate the T shirts: Be sure shirts are 100% cotton. Remind students that fabric markers are permanent and they should avoid stray marks on surfaces and clothing. Before decorating, urge them to brainstorm images that would communicate the message they want to share about the ColorCycle program. Challenge the students to translate the mathematical equivalencies into visuals that would excite people to participate in the program. They should practice their sketches on paper first before drawing with fabric markers on the T-shirts. (Insert a recycled file folder in the shirt to protect the ink from soaking through to other side.) When completed, adults should put shirts in clothes dryer for 30 minutes on high heat setting to “set the color”.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.

    MATH: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context.

    MATH: Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation.

    SCI: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

    SCI: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

    SS: Recognize andinterpret how the "common good" can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action.

    SS: Apply knowledge of economic concepts in developing a response to a current local economic issue, such as how to reduce the flow of trash into a rapidly filling landfill.

    VA: Select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

  • Adaptations

    In addition to adults’ roles in organizing the school’s recycling efforts, the ColorCycle program enables students to assume leadership roles of communicating, collecting, and measuring the results. Each school has a unique leadership dynamic. Brainstorm various ways student leadership roles could be filled. Some schools assign one representative per class to the ColorCycle Crew. Other schools ask the Student Council to serve as ColorCycle leaders. How will your school use this recycling program as a way to build student leadership skills? Urge students to brainstorm lists of responsibilities and who will serve in various roles. For examples, some members of the ColorCycle Crew might visit younger classes or other schools to speak about the program and help create collection boxes.


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