is Paper Plate Education?
is an effort to compile a collection of hands-on activities that use
common paper plates for supporting lessons in science,
math, history, geography, social studies, art, music, and other disciplines.
is Paper Plate Education?
Plate Education is the collective
work of volunteer educators that have been building a series of activities
with the paper plate theme since 1992. See Background
for details. The majority of the material is from members of the
Great Lakes Planetarium Association, but additional contributions have
been submitted by young children, high school students, NASA researchers,
teachers, and parents. See Credits for a
partial listing of contributors The web server for this site is
being provided by the DePaul University broker/facilitator affiliation of
the Office of Space Science. This site is maintained by GLPA member
you organize the Activities by grade level or other categories?
we eventually would like to organize the files more efficiently. For
example, a text-only Activities list
is available, as are the subdivisions below. However, these
prototype pages are not actively maintained with current entries.
Also, the following text-only categories may not work with all Internet
browsers at this time. We welcome your suggestions.
The Astronomy Series
The Navigation Series
The Music Series
much class time do these activities take?
depends on the activity. Some, such as Music Shaker, are simple crafts that
take only a few minutes to make, yet they can generate fun and discussion with young
children. Other activities, such
as Latitude by Polaris, may require hours of class time to integrate with
existing lesson plans on celestial navigation. Also, some activities, such
as Mission Patch, may be one-time events. Others, such as Sunrise/Sunset,
require the participants to make brief observations over several weeks or
Are the lessons effective?
variety and quantity of lessons that have been contributed to this site are testimony that a
number of educators believe the humble paper plate can
lead students to a better understanding of many principles.
Many of these activities have been tried in the classroom and have been tweaked to
improve their efficacy. As more people send feedback
we can further improve the product. The lessons become most
effective when the teachers using these activities tailor them to their
Can I make and distribute copies of Paper
Plate Education materials?
As noted in the footer, "The contents of this site may be reproduced
non-profit educational purposes only. Please cite the contributing author in
credits. All other uses require the express written permission of the
respective contributor." You may request permission when necessary
through the feedback form.
Why does Paper
Plate Education have an emphasis on space science?
Plate Education began as an initiative of the Great Lakes Planetarium
Association, which naturally has an affinity for astronomy. The GLPA
endorsed the Paper Plate Project, which sought to fuse
the enthusiasm and talent of space scientists and educators into a comprehensive
package that advances appreciation for and understanding of the firmament.
The GLPA produced a modest video on
Paper Plate Astronomy for persons who have limited access to technology.
The more we used paper plate creations for space science applications, the
more we recognized that the same techniques could benefit others.
Plate Education is beginning to use this venue to serve other
are the objectives of this Paper Plate Education initiative?
Measurable objectives of
Plate Education effort include the following:
to reduce complex notions to paper
to demonstrate the engaging nature of
paper plates as a medium for constructive learning
in multiple disciplines and for learners of all demographics,
to create teaching aids that serve
populations and educators with limited access to technology or financial
to inspire educators to create hands-on
materials that address their teaching needs,
to establish an Internet depository of
paper plate activities and related documents,
to align innovative techniques and
products with national education standards.
direction do you intend to go with the Paper Plate Education website?
a later date we would like to add
features and upload documents with supporting information, such as
age-appropriateness, applications, and alignment with national education
standards. However, because this is strictly a volunteer effort,
this site will be maintained only as personal discretionary time
participate in Paper Plate Education--try
some activities, send feedback and evaluations, reduce notions to paper
plate explanations, or lend in-kind support.
If grants are secured or if individuals or corporate sponsors step up to
support Paper Plate
Education, this site will have a better chance of ongoing improvement.
are some pages incomplete?
site will always be under construction. Rather than withhold all of the
documents until they are ready for dissemination, we are releasing
works-in-progress in the hopes that they will generate useful material for
teachers and students in the interim. Besides, lesson plans are always evolving
and never final. The fun really begins when you manipulate the plates. Once you understand the premise of Paper
Plate Education, you are ready to set out on your own. Some of
the activities are incomplete because the written instructions have not
yet been uploaded. Look
through the descriptions and pictures of those activities for
ideas, then create your own paper devices. And be sure to pass your
wisdom on to the rest of the teaching community with feedback
and contributions to this site.
a favorite quote of Paper Plate Education?
From Gordon Parks, as best as
is seeing the importance in what you do, giving it dignity, and making
what you do important to yourself and to others."
Enjoy what we have served up on our plates. Thank you for your