During a “Reading is Fundamental” (RIF) presentation, sixth graders read Dr. Seuss’s book on protecting the environment, The Lorax, and discussed San Francisco’s new policy promoting reusable shopping bags. The students approached their teacher to see if they could encourage use of reusable bags in their community. Their teacher suggested doing a service-learning project to raise awareness about reusable bags so the students worked with RIF and their school’s principal to launch this initiative.
Using the Internet, newspaper articles and scientific journals, the students researched the San Francisco policy and the environmental impacts of plastic bags (i.e., how much energy is required to produce plastic bags and how long they take to decompose). Students then brainstormed the best ways to address the problem locally and promote reusable bags. They decided to create an informational brochure on the environmental impacts of plastic bags and to raise money so they could buy each family in the school a reusable grocery bag.
Working with the principal, the students designed and organized a “fun fair” (a school-wide carnival with student-created games and booths) to raise money to buy the reusable bags. The “fun fair” was a huge success: the students raised enough money to buy every family in their school three reusable grocery bags! At an end- of-year ceremony, the students presented the reusable bags and copies of their informational pamphlets to their schoolmates.