Recycling education partnership to inspire student scientists

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

With the start of the new school year, millions of children will have the opportunity to learn the science of recycling thanks to a new partnership between the scrap recycling industry and JASON Learning.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning have worked together to develop real-world school curricula to help teachers and students understand both the importance of recycling and the applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (the STEM subjects) in the recycling industry.

Through the curriculum, students will learn how the industry employs physics, chemistry and advanced engineering to sort, separate, and shred metals, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics and paper for re-use as commodities in manufacturing.

Many classes will see STEM in action at scrap and recycling yards after learning about the science, technology and engineering that makes the industry work. In fact, ISRI and its 1,700 members hope their efforts to educate kids about the science in their industry will inspire some to pursue careers in recycling.

“Our hope is that once students see the exciting science and technology involved in recycling, they will not only appreciate the benefits and become strong advocates of recycling, but that they’ll see the industry as a potential career path if they choose to pursue a STEM education,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI.

ISRI’s work with JASON Learning includes standards-based, K-12 curricular experiences; interactive Web-based experiences to enhance student engagement; classroom posters featuring ISRI’s key educational messages; a leveraged national distribution network; strategies for school visits to ISRI facilities; age-appropriate lessons for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12; for each grade band, a two- to four-page classroom lesson based on life cycle for each commodity; and much, much more. Curriculum and supporting materials are available free of charge through the ISRI and JASON websites.

“JASON Learning is committed to connecting kids with real-world science and with the scientists who are doing the work,” said Dr. Eleanor Smalley, COO of JASON Learning. “Our partnership with ISRI demonstrates to students the practical uses of STEM subjects and how they can be part of an exciting future career.”