Note: This activity fits well after the "Climbing Your Chilkoot" activity as students will have a better understanding of the difficulty of transporting goods to the Yukon.
General goals: To use a discussion of the Klondike Gold Rush so students understand the advantages of reusing materials rather than throwing them away. To encourage students to practice this action themselves, both in and out of school.
Curriculum links: Environment: - It is expected
that students will demonstrate understanding of sustainability, stewardship,
and renewable versus nonrenewable natural resources.
- It is expected that students will assess effects of lifestyles and industries on local and global environments.
-old wooden picture frame,
-enough door/window screen to cover the frame,
-staples or tacks to attach screen to picture frame,
-blender or food processor,
-tub large enough to dip your frame into,
or cornstarch (optional),
-squares of felt of flannel at least as large as the frame (dish towels can also be used),
- and used paper of many kinds. Different kinds of used paper create different effects in your homemade paper-experiment!
Introduction: Remind students that people who came to the Klondike during the gold rush of 1898 had to carry all of their goods with them. Ask students if they think people would have been able to carry everything they might need or want. People had to be inventive to make what they needed out of what they already had. Often, instead of throwing something away, Klondikers would turn it into something useful. This was an early form of recycling. As a class, brainstorm ways to reuse things that are normally thrown away. Choose a project to do with your class as an example. Paper making, described below, is a fun activity that illustrates how used material can be turned into something useful and practical - just as a Klondiker would have done! If this project does not appeal, students could reuse packaging materials to make a candleholder or a water bucket or a bailer. Search the internet for other projects.
Activity: To make paper...
1) Fix screen to the picture frame using staples or tacks.
2) Rip paper into small pieces and fill blender about half full.
3) Fill blender with warm water, and blend slowly at first, gradually increasing speed until mixture is smooth and well mixed.
4) Fill tub with water and add three blender loads of pulp. Stir until pulp is evenly distributed through the water. If planning to use paper for writing, add a few drops white glue, or liquid starch, or a tablespoon of cornstarch. This will prevent ink from soaking into the paper too much. Variation: At this stage add some flowers, leaves, bits of photographs, cut out pictures from magazines, bits of tinsel, glitter, coloured thread, or anything you can think of to give your paper a more interesting and personalized appearance.
5) Dip the screen covered frame in the tub, hold it level, and gently shake from side to side until pulp on top is an even thickness. Then slowly lift it straight out.
6) Hold the screen above the tub until it stops dripping. If the paper is too thin, add more pulp to your mixture, if it is too thick, add more water to the tub.
7) Once the screen has stopped dripping, gently place it paper side down on a piece of felt or flannel.
8) Leaving the new paper and screen on the fabric, use your sponge to gently press out as much water as you can from you new piece of paper.
9) Hold the fabric flat and gently lift the screen and frame away. The new paper should stick to the fabric. If it sticks to the screen, it might still be too wet, or you might have pulled too fast. Try pressing out more water using the sponge, or pulling the screen off more slowly.
10) Leave paper to dry.
11) When dry, gently pull the fabric at both ends to stretch it and loosen it from the paper.
12) Gently peel the paper off the fabric and enjoy your own personally recycled creation, just like a Klondiker!
Conclusion: Discuss the benefits of reusing and recycling materials, including less volume in landfills, less pollution from manufacture of new materials, conservation of natural resources, etc. You might want to create a classroom chart to track every time a student reuses something instead of throwing it away.