Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center 

TITLE:  Junk Mail Airmail

AUTHOR:  Darrell Spendlove, Lewiston Elem., UT

GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT:  3+; science, social studies

OVERVIEW:  Most homes receive large amounts of unsolicited
and unwanted mail every year.  This mail costs millions of
dollars and wastes valuable natural resources.  Much of this
junk mail ends up as litter or in overfilled landfills.

PURPOSE:  Students need to learn that they can make a
contribution to the junk mail problem.

OBJECTIVES:  Students will:
  1.  Collect a variety of junk mail.
  2.  Identify what resources are used to produce the mail.
  3.  Learn what happens to junk mail in their home.
  4.  Construct an airplane using junk mail and fly it in a
      Junk Mail Airplane contest.
  5.  Recycle junk mail.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS:  Large cardboard box, trash can,
butcher paper, collection of junk mail

1.   Assign students to collect and bring to school all junk
     mail that is delivered to their homes in one week.
     Have them ask family members if they have any interest
     in the mail.  Did they read it?  Do they want to keep
     it?  What would they normally do with that type of
2.   At the end of the week have a discussion on what they
     learned about what happens to the junk mail at their
     house.  Also ask students to name as many resources as
     they can that were used to produce the mail and deliver
     it to their homes.  List these on the board.
3.   Have students make paper airplanes using the junk mail
     they have collected.  They should experiment using
     different types of paper, sizes, and designs.  Explain
     that using the junk mail to make something else (paper
     airplanes) is a form of recycling.  Have students
     brainstorm other ways to recycle their junk mail.
4.   Hold a paper airplane contest.  Set up a trash can, a
     recycling box, and a strip of black butcher paper to
     represent a road ten or fifteen feet from a throw line.
     Students take turns throwing their airplanes.  Award
     ten points for landing in the recycling box, two points
     for hitting the trash can, and ©5 points for landing on
     the road.  Award certificates to winners and losers.
     Have a good time.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Put all junk mail collected into the
recycling box.  Have students continue to bring in junk mail
to recycle, recycle any other paper from your class, and
encourage students to recycle at home.  Students might also
like to write letters to get their junk mail stopped.

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