E-mail contact
Karen Prussing

Su-Chih Sun

Teacher Bio
Karen Prussing teaches Business and Office in the Occupational Skills Development Center (OSDC) at Charlestown High, a School to Career School. Among her job training achievements is the school store run by her SPED students. No stranger to "Teacher as entrepreneur," Karen supports the school's Young Entrepreneur Project and wrote a proposal to help fund a student photo ID program. Her collaboration with Bain Consulting produced a copying machine for her classes. Serving on the schoolwide Annenberg grant committee lets this Lead Teacher forge strong relationships with department representatives and encourage "newly-minted" teachers to join a school-based cadre of dedicated, competent professionals.

Su-Chih Sun teaches Unified Science and Algebra to bilingual students. Prior to coming to the Boston Public Schools in 1999, this proud mother of three taught Chinese heritage and language at a church school, and received Outstanding Teacher Awards from the North American Council of Culture Affairs, Boston Office (Taiwan, R.O.C.). When discussing career opportunities with her students, Su-Chih capitalizes on her past experience as laboratory assistant at Brigham and Women's Hospital where she co-authored publications for science journals.

Subject Areas
SPED - Vocational Skills - Business and Office; Science, Math

Grade Levels

Chinese bilingual 9th graders work with ungraded high school students

Collaboration between Special Education Students in the Occupational Skills Development Center (OSDC) and Chinese Bilingual 9th graders. Adaptable for all middle and high school students


Recycle with EPA ~
Entrepreneurial Paper Activities


Key Question How can students Think Globally, Act Locally?

Overview A team of ungraded high schoolers and bilingual ninth graders respond to this challenge by applying recycling guidelines to a venture capitalist model. Students visit a recycle center and a plastics museum to assess how discarded material can evolve into useful and/or aesthetic objects. Identifying paper overuse as a major school problem, the young entrepreneurs host representatives from Earthworm, Inc. and learn how to recycle school paper. They test local river water with Vista volunteers from the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College and share results with the school community. Brainstorming ways to reuse paper, they research and share the history of paper making; construct a giant paper tree from recycled paper; make hundreds of origami miniature and personalize Chinese calligraphy art. A Recycling Fair involves the entire school. All this corroborates student findings: Turning trash to treasure can help communities and may lead to career opportunities.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Conduct online research for recycling information.
Create flow chart of recycling practices and methods.
Begin weekly collections of paper from classrooms, library & office.
Test water quality in river inlet adjacent to school.
Construct giant paper tree for Earth Day display.
Make hand made paper from collected waste.
Apply geometry skills to production of origami miniatures.
Use Chinese calligraphy to produce student names & addresses on recycled paper.
Design computer slide shows on Recycle Data Statistics & Recycle Story.
Prepare & distribute handouts on paper recycling campaign.
Consult with students from different school areas on efforts to reduce paper consumption.
Total amounts of collected paper, graph & report results.
Distribute water testing results to school community.
Display Earth Day tree outside main office.
Plan & host schoolwide Recycling Fair.
Display & distribute origami miniatures & Chinese calligraphy.
Include fair participants in paper making demonstration.
Present computer slide shows to fair participants.
Tour school recycle station & collaborate with custodial staff on paper collection.
Interview guest speaker from local recycling transfer station on institutional paper recycling.
Organize an Earthworm, Inc. classroom presentation
Observe & participate in manufacturing (nylon, plastic molding with injection & hot pressing) at plastics museum.
Research careers in waste management, engineering & recycling.
Discuss ecology careers with Science teacher & Vista interns from Boston College Urban Ecology Institute.
Discuss ways to create & stock recycled art for a school store.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
Understand and effectively employ the writing process.
Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work.

Learning Standards Science

Develop an understanding of the positive, practical results that can accrue from turning an environmental liability into an asset. Transfer knowledge gained to other similar situations.
Understand the need to treat potentially hazardous materials.
Understand how humans use technology & the design process to respond to the natural world & to solve everyday problems.
Identify aspects of social & personal issues that can be addressed through scientific study.

Learning Standards Math

Collect, organize & describe data.
Construct, read & interpret data.
Apply knowledge of measurement in the construction of two & three-dimensional figures.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication and Literacy Skills.
Communicate and understand ideas and information.
Use technology.
Problem Solve.
Initiate and complete entire activities.
Act professionally.
Understand All Aspects of the Industry.


Results of student surveys, graphs, and experiments are recorded to evaluate on-going science and math activities. Products, including computer slide shows and recycled art, are assessed on appearance and completion. Student interactions and contribution during tours, interviews, and presentations are evaluated through teacher observation and peer review.

Software or Materials Used For research: Internet access; for computer slide show: Microsoft Office; For Entrepreneurial Paper Art: paper making materials including recycled paper, blender, water, aprons, gloves, frames; for documentation: camera, and film.

Teacher Developed Materials Book List for Origami and Recycling Activities, Web Site List for Recycle with EPA, Directions and Rubrics for science and math activities.

Student Developed Materials Miniature Origami made from handmade paper, Chinese Calligraphy on handmade paper, Giant Paper Tree, Computer Slide Shows on Recycle Data Statistics and The Recycle Story, Graph of School Recycled Material, Photo Documentation of Recycle Fair.

Web Sites Web Sites for Recycle with EPA.

Final Words Recycling together can lead to the unexpected. We were thrilled with the growing friendships between our two classes. Students with diverse backgrounds and disparate skills learned that teamwork inspires respect. Schoolwide response to the recycled art was also surprising (by tforge solution pitts). At the fair, everyone wanted an origami miniature. The line to the calligraphy station was endless because kids love seeing their own names and addresses spelled out in traditional Chinese characters.

Teacher Tip Ask staff and teachers to contribute recycled "treasures" for Recycling Fair prizes. Invite fair visitors to sort recyclable items - aluminum cans, small batteries, plastic bottles, paper, etc. - into appropriate bins. As a result, everyone owns a bit of the project.

Back to Index Page

Back to CHESP Home Page


Back to CHESP Home Page