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A Win-Win

A Win-Win
February 18
00:00 2013

Local students learn math while helping local Ronald McDonald House

First graders at Sedge Garden Elementary School have found that counting pop tabs from aluminum cans and arranging them into groups is an excellent way to learn such math concepts as how many groups of 10 make one group of 100.

But teacher Kristen McKillop thought it would be good to take pop tabs a step farther. With the Common Core curriculum’s emphasis on children becoming well-rounded people who help others, McKillop came up with the idea of donating the tabs to Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem, which sells the tabs to recyclers and uses the money to support its programs. The Ronald McDonald House serves as a home away from home for children (and their families) who are receiving medical treatment at local hospitals.

The school’s other first grade teachers – Laura Miller, Crystal Browning, Melanie Pulliam, Becky Richmond and Jodi Gabriel – liked the idea, too, as did students and teachers throughout the school, which has nearly 900 students. Earlier this month, students in all grades started collecting tabs at home and asking neighbors to contribute.

Students like Michaela Isaacson pulled the tabs off all the aluminum cans that her family had already saved to recycle and collected more from her grandparents. Her mother even drank an extra soda to do her part for the project, and Michaela brought in 38 tabs.

By the end of one week, students in the school had brought in 12,908 tabs. McKillop’s students know precisely how many because they counted every single one. “Our math lesson last Friday was an hour counting the tabs,” McKillop said.

Principal Ramona Warren

Principal Ramona Warren

Principal Ramona Warren said that she was pleasantly surprised at how many tabs the students brought in the first week. “I think the project has been very beneficial,” Warren said. “It’s been a whole school effort … The kids have really taken ownership.”

The school has set a goal of collecting 51,000 tabs by the end of five weeks. Members of the community at-large are being invited to participate. People who don’t have a child at Sedge Garden can bring their tabs to the school and drop them in a container set up by the front entrance.

Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the country invite people to donate pop tabs. Mindy Bloom, the director of development for Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Inc., said she received a $250 check from the recyclers for a load of tabs that she delivered.

Bloom said they would like to encourage other schools to participate as well. More information about the pop tab recycling project can be found at Ronald McDonald House. The number at Sedge Garden Elementary is 336-771-4545.

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WS Chronicle

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