East Brunswick second, fifth graders showcase projects made of trash


EAST BRUNSWICK– Using discarded items such as toilet paper rolls, pizza boxes and plastic cups, Irwin Elementary School second and fifth graders made 3D landform maps in a collaborative project.

The students presented their maps to the Board of Education on Feb. 20.

“Patricia Colaizzi, the second grade teacher, spearheaded this activity. She wanted to create a project-based learning activity for students to have a hands-on experience with important Social Studies content while having the opportunity to collaborate and build relationships with their fifth grade buddies,” said Karen Mandleur, executive assistant to the superintendent.

Irwin’s second grade students worked with their fifth grade counterparts to combine the second grade Social Studies Map Unit with the fifth grade Trash Power Unit.

“The second graders at Irwin wanted to bring their Social Studies unit on Earth and Landforms to life. They asked their fifth grade buddies to help because they knew they were learning about ‘Trash Power,'” Mandleur said. “Students teamed up to collect discarded items that could be used to make a three-dimensional landform map. Mountains, rivers, volcanoes, forests and more were created. Lots of creativity, lots of fun, and lots of learning was had by all.”

Throughout the second grade’s All About Earth unit, Mandleur said students studied geography, continents, landforms, natural resources, maps and map keys. A focus of their study was to distinguish the differences between landforms. For example, students would read and discuss the differences between peninsulas and islands.

The school’s fifth grade Trash Power unit, Mandleur said, “helps students understand the problems our community, country and world face regarding the disposal of solid waste. This unit promotes educational hands-on experiences and ponders the question, ‘how does solid waste affect us?’ Students visited the landfill right here in East Brunswick and focused on ways to recycle, reduce and reuse materials.”

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Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].