Winnetka Students Have Ideas to Save the Planet

Do you feel wasteful throwing away wrapping paper? Do you despise gift wrapping, with the tape crumples and disappearing scissors?

Well does Skokie School sixth-grader Jonny Ornstein have the answer for you.

Introducing Vrapper, a new way to wrap using reusable fabric lined with velcro strips. 

“You can unattach it and reuse it,” Ornstein explained, adding that his product helps contain carbon dioxide emissions, because fewer trees will be cut down to make wrapping paper.

Ornstein showed off Vrapper during Skokie School’s Environmental Fair Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Winnetka where a number of sixth-graders displayed their environmentally friendly ideas in the school auditorium.

Winnetka sixth-grader Jonny Ornstein with Vrapper, his project for the Skokie School Environmental Fair.

Under the guidance of teacher John DeGiulio, the students discussed their work with their fellow Skokie School students, school educators and parents who dropped in on Feb. 9.

DeGiulio said his students were learning about Earth-changing climate and some of the planet’s “vital signs,” such as sea level and global temperature, and how they are impacted. 

“What can we do to start to improve the planet? That’s where the ideas are from,” DeGiulio said of his students’ projects. 

The lesson also included visits from inventors and a review of the design-thinking process, which ended with the students developing a prototype, testing it and readying it for the environmental fair.

Sixth-grader Lizzie Willer explains the Workout Wash that cleans clothes while you pedal.

Other eco-friendly ideas included a solution to the plastic waste from daily contacts, an app that helps you identify recyclable items and Workout Wash, Lizzie Willer’s project that features a miniature wash tub that rotates and scrubs as you pedal a stationary bike. 

“Sometimes I just want to wear the same shirt the next day,” Willer said.

This article originally appeared in The Record North Shore, a local news nonprofit.

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