Magician teaches children about recycling

BRADFORD – Elementary school children throughout Miami County are getting the opportunity to listen to the Illusion Maker’s magic-filled presentation about the importance and value of the “three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

The Illusion Maker is a magician who uses his magical skills by teaching children about reducing waste and the benefits of cleaning up litter and recycling in a fun and engaging manner. The information is presented in a kid-friendly manner while still explaining why recycling and reducing waste is important. The goal of the program is for children to spark these types of conversations at home.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, fourth-graders in Mrs. (Megan) Unthank’s class in the Bradford Elementary School participated in the Illusion Maker’s presentation, “A Magical Environmental Quiz Show.”

The Illusion Maker started out the presentation by discussing what litter is and how to clean it up properly. Then, he cleaned up the “litter” around his stage and made it disappear from his litter bag, eliciting gasps from the audience.

Next, he discussed the differences between reusing and recycling materials. He provided ideas on how to reuse common household items. He ended this section demonstrating how one soda can has the ability to be recycled into another soda can by unveiling a new can under each old can.

The next section began the quiz show with “A” or “B” answer options. Unthank had the children raise their hands to vote for their answers. The class answered questions about the three Rs, litter, plastic straw usage and decomposability, and the amount of food and trash that the average person wastes.

One question that sparked conversation among the students involved how long it takes a plastic straw to decompose completely. The answer options were 20 years and 200 years. The class voted for 20 years. A plastic straw takes 200 years to decompose completely, which shocked many students.

The Illusion Maker provided various decomposition times for items which include a face mask and a soda can. The face mask takes 450 years to decompose, and a soda can takes 500 years.

Unthank recommended the students to think about all the face masks that they used during the pandemic.

To end the presentation, the Illusion Maker taught the class how to perform a magic trick using a white piece of paper and black circles. He started out with one circle on one side and six on the other. After flipping the card repeatedly to demonstrate to the students, he ended with three circles on one side and eight on the other, flabbergasting the students.

One student repeatedly said, “Do that again!”

Brad Petry, Miami County Solid Waste coordinator, then spoke with the class about the information in the presentation. He had all the children repeat the “reduce, reuse, recycle” phrase together.

“I think that this is just a fantastic program for the children throughout the county. It teaches them about waste education in a fun and engaging manner,” said Petry.