Saving Humpty Dumpty
Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy
4420 South Sacramento Avenue
CHICAGO IL 60632
Students will describe how shoe design, manufacturing, retailing, consumer use, and disposal impact environments and societies. Students will discuss ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle resources in the life-cycle for a shoe product. Students will investigate why consumers purchase certain shoe products. Students will examine the influence of packaging on consumer choice, and determine if consumers consider waste disposal, and recyclability, when making purchasing decisions. Students will investigate the shock absorption and energy return of given surfaces.
Each of the materials listed below are understood to be per group.
One gallon container
Eight hard boiled eggs
Three poster boards
stirring stick/ latex gloves.
New vocabulary list
Nike rubber granules
Nike upper materials
Nike foam material
1. Review the concept of cycles. Have students give examples of cycles.
2. Tell students they’ll be starting a unit of study that uses an athletic shoe as an example of a product cycle.
3. Discuss why they chose the shoes they are wearing, and ask if they considered waste disposal problems that could be caused by the shoes, or the packaging..
4. Have students remove one of their athletic shoes, and examine its make-up.
5. Make a pile of all the athletic shoes in the middle of the floor, and ask a volunteer to measure the length, width, and height of the shoe pile. Discuss the problem of waste disposal for these shoes, then expand to Chicago’s, then North America’s etc.
6. Have student’s measure one shoe. How far would they all reach, if you place them toe to heel? Expand on this idea.
7. Have students weigh one of their shoes, double it, and calculate a class average. Discuss the municipal waste created if everyone buys 4 pr. of shoes per year? Expand.
8. Introduce the concept of cycles, as it might apply to the pile of shoes.
9. Introduce new vocabulary, noting the difference between recycling, downcycling, reducing, and reusing.
10. Tell the students they are going to make some playground material, from used athletic shoes, and when it is dry, they will investigate its shock absorption, and energy return capability.
11. Discuss Nike’s efforts in being environmentally conscious about its product waste. They provide playground-surfacing material from product waste. Ask if this is recycling, downcycling, reusing, or reducing?.
12. Students will follow directions given to them on handouts, to test various playground surfaces, using the scientific method. Data will be graphed later.
1. Students should be able to measure the materials being used with 100% accuracy.
2. Students should be able to work in cooperative groups with little supervision.
3. Students should be able to write up the experience using the scientific method, with 90% accuracy.
4. Students should understand the concept of a cycle, with 100% accuracy.
5. Students should understand the difference between recycling, downcycling, reusing, and reducing, with 90% accuracy.
6. Students should have collected necessary data with 90% accuracy.
7. Students should be able to graph the data they collected with 100% accuracy.
8. Students should be able to graph the data they collected with 100% accuracy.
9. Students should be able to choose products that are environmentally friendly, given the information discussed and experienced, with 100% accuracy.
Conserving resources and sharing responsibility for sustainable communities is a job for both consumers and businesses. This can be accomplished by conserving resources at the tech stage of a products life cycle, or by consumers making wise, and environmentally friendly choices, when they buy manufactured products.
Products undergo scientific testing to determine how to reuse and recycle them, or reduce waste made by them. Materials may retain or change their properties in the recycling process. Using controlled variables in experiments to test products helps establish clearer relationships between cause and effect.
Materials have different properties and vary in their abilities to absorb forces or return energy.
Sports Science for Young People, by George Barr (New York: Dover Publications, 1990, 1992).
For a free Nike Air to Earth teacher’s guide, kit, and Nike reuse a shoe material, write:
Nike, Inc.; C/o Reuse –A-Shoe/Air to Earth; One Bowerman Drive; Beaverton, Or 97005-6453
Mail between November 1st, and May 31st, or June 1st and October 31st. First come first serve.
More Science Experiments for You: 112 Illustrated Experiments, by Bob Brown (Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1998)
The National Recreation and Park Association
The Playground Safety Initiative
American Forest Foundation, Washington DC
California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, CA
Florida Department of Education Tallahassee, FL
GEMS Project, University of Berkley, Berkley, CA
Lab for Interactive Learning, Institute for Policy and Social Science Research, University of New Hampshire, NH
NAARR/NIKE Project Team
NIKE Project Writer
Teacher Field-Test Reviewers
Mary Beth Cunat
Air to Earth Training Developer