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Classroom Paper Recycling

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Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on how engineers and others have developed and improved the manufacturing of recycled paper. Students work in teams to recycle and manufacture their own recycled paper while learning how recycled paper is manufactured on a larger scale in paper facilities. Student teams evaluate current processes for creating paper and develop improvement to the procedure.
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Lesson Synopsis 
The "Recycled Paper" activity explores both how engineers have created recycling processes that help reduce the amount of original wood pulp needed for paper manufacturing. Students work in teams to develop their own recycled paper, using excess classroom and home paper and plant materials. They evaluate current paper making procedures, engineer improvements to the process and make their own paper. Teams present their system to the class, evaluate their own and other designs, and present their reflections to the class.

Age Levels:

  • Learn about recycled paper manufacturing.
  • Learn about re-engineering.
  • Learn how engineering can help solve society's challenges.
  • Learn about teamwork and problem solving.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • paper recycling
  • manufacturing processes
  • engineering design
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students learn about how chemical engineers and others work together to create recycled paper. They work in teams to create their own recycled paper -- improving upon current methods -- compare the process to large scale recycled paper manufacturing, and present reflections to the class.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.

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