When the fifth graders at Woodstock Christian School in Woodstock, Ontario, took the lead in a regional recycling project, they not only learned about stewardship of the Earth, but they earned some cash as well.
The Ontario Schools Battery Recycling Challenge, sponsored by Raw Materials Company, encouraged schools throughout the province to collect batteries so that the zinc, magnesium, and potassium in the batteries could be reused. When another local school tipped Woodstock off on the project as an idea for advancement, fifth grade teacher Axel Hiemstra and his class jumped at the opportunity to organize collections. The class had been looking for some new service learning projects, and because a unit on rocks and minerals is part of the fifth grade curriculum, the project was a great fit, aligning well to both.
The class enthusiastically decided early on that their goal was to place in the contest’s top three schools, despite the fact that they started collections later than most schools and had no prior experience. They also decided it would encourage participation if they included a competition among the school’s grade levels, so the class that collected the most batteries would win pizza and a movie.
Community members, alumni, and grandparents also brought in donations, bringing the total to 3,885 kg of batteries collected. “Grade 5 won the pizza party in the end, and honestly, they did so much work for the challenge, they did deserve it,” said Dawn Streutker, Woodstock’s advancement and communications manager. “In addition to all of the promotion of the project and their own collecting, they spent recess gathering the batteries from other classes, weighing, sorting, and taping them.”
For their efforts, the school won third prize—$1,933 cash—which was presented to the students by Sarah Lacharity of Raw Materials on June 15. The money will be used to purchase Chrome Books for the school. Said Lacharity, “This is their first year collecting batteries. I’m blown away, and I’m so excited to see what they’re going to come up with next year.”