Over the past few weeks, the 5th grade Students at Marble Elementary School have been working hard with the help of teacher Casey Bain, to put together a creation for the Made By Milk 2017 Carton Construction Contest. This online contest encourages students to get creative with their school cafeterias’ leftover milk cartons and design a structure to go along with this year’s theme: sports.
The first step for these students was collecting the necessary materials. Marble Elementary lunch teacher, Ms. Karen, was able to collect 1,000 empty milk cartons, rinse, and dry them. Fifth graders were then asked to submit sports-related designs to be voted on in homeroom classes, and “Sparty” by fifth grader, Allie Call, won.
“We are immersed in the culture of Michigan State University and all that it offers our city,” explains Bain, “During one work session, the students spontaneously broke out in the MSU fight song!” With Allie’s design to work from, Michigan State’s mascot proved to be the perfect inspiration for a milk carton creation.
Marble students have a chance to win a $1000 prize, the Grand Prize of $5000, or the People’s Choice Award of $2,500, if they are able to get the most online votes. This project is a STEAM project for students, and for that reason Bain would like to use any funds won to purchase supplies for the fifth grade classes to use for future STEAM activities, like problem-solving projects for students designed to integrate different areas of study within Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
This project became a chance for students to set goals, get creative, and start a dialogue about community recycling. Said Bain, “I feel that one of the biggest moments was when a student said, ‘Even if we don't win, this was a fun project and we recycled a lot of milk cartons!’”
The Carton Construction Contest is designed to urge students to consider environmental sustainability by reusing milk cartons. Bain’s team was careful to use natural materials and collect any scraps that could be recycled. “We even used an empty tape roll and made it into a hockey puck!” she said. The students were eager to brainstorm ideas and put them into action, working diligently during P.E. time, lunch, recess, and once after school, to complete the finished project. Marble Elementary Art Teacher Sabrina Arceo, pitched in to add on the final touches.
The Marble family grew a little closer through this process, learned a little more about sustainability, and finished with a design they are proud of. Sparty can be found in the display case by the school’s office. It can also be seen online, at madebymilkcontest.com, where viewers are able to cast one vote for the milk carton construction of their choice.
Voting for the People’s Choice Award ends this Friday, December 8th. “We have a lot of respect for others as we realize the effort that went into the project,” says Bain, “All in all, this project created a stronger community among my students and myself and for that I feel we are already winners.”