Monday, February 6, 2012

Art Class

     Mrs. Duncan rang her little bell to get the students’ attention. The class of second graders stopped working on their art projects and looked up. The entire room seemed to be a mess of paint and glue and scraps of paper.
     “Okay class,” she said, walking in front of the chalkboard. “It’s almost time for lunch, but I’m very curious to see what kind of art you’ve been able to make out of recycled materials. Does anyone want to go first?”
      Timmy raised his hand. “I do, Mrs. Duncan. I used a bunch of old popsicle sticks to build a birdhouse.” He held up a very lopsided and sticky-looking box with a hole in one side.
     “Why that’s very nice, Timmy,” said Mrs. Duncan. “And you kept those popsicle sticks from ending up in the trash. Does anyone else what to share what they recycled?”
     Regina raised her hand next. “I painted an old soup can and turned it into a pencil holder.” She held up her purple and pink can, which contained a few loose pencils.
     “Lovely, Regina.” Mrs. Duncan smiled. “You did a nice job reducing waste. Who’s next?”
     “Oh, pick me,” Robbie shot his hand into the air.
     “Very well, Robbie,” she said. “What did you make?”
     “I built a car that runs on macaroni. See?”
     Robbie lifted up his creation, which looked like a small car made from egg cartons, tape, pipe cleaners and a few pieces of trash. He set the car on the ground, grabbed a handful of macaroni from a tub on his desk and poured it into a hole in the car’s hood. Within seconds, a small whirring sound started and the car began to putter. Then a puff of black smoke shot out of the back and the car took off, speeding between the desks and out the door. The students rushed to follow it and watched as it ran down the long school hallway until it was so far that nobody could see it anymore. Only a streak of smoke was left behind.
     “Back to your seats, everyone.” Mrs. Duncan rang her little bell again. She waited until everyone was seated before continuing. “That’s a nice try, Robbie, but there’s no way the EPA would approve of a machine with emissions like that. Who’s next?”
     Mrs. Duncan’s comment made Robbie a little sad, but he did have to admit that the exhaust system on his car could have benefitted from a carbon monoxide filter or particle abatement device. He thought about building one out of cardboard, but he became distracted and forgot about it when Mandy showed the toy catapult she made from pencils and rubber bands. That was pretty cool.

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