Evergreen Packaging Names Kennesaw Elementary a Winner of Made By Milk Carton Construction Contest

Evergreen Packaging awarded $1,000 to Kennesaw Elementary School for the school’s participation in the Made By Milk® Carton Construction Contest. Teacher Valerie King’s second grade class won the contest for the creation of the “Little General,” a steam locomotive built out of more than 1,000 recycled milk cartons.

Kennesaw was one of six elementary schools nationwide to win a prize in the milk carton construction contest. The theme for fall 2016 was “Inventions,” which generated entries ranging from a robotic surgeon to an entire platoon of planes; all made from repurposed milk cartons.

“The Inventions theme inspired schools across the country to submit some truly impressive entries; the carton creations that these students dreamed up really highlighted how creativity, teamwork and a lot of effort can come together in one inspiring project,” said Katie Simmons, marketing manager for Evergreen Packaging. “Congratulations to all of the Made By Milk Fall 2016 winners and participants.”

After reading about the design process in the book Launch: Into Design Thinking by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani, the Kennesaw second graders chose to build a steam locomotive like The General from the Great Locomotive Chase in the Civil War. The school’s namesake mascot is from the historical locomotive, which is housed at the Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Over six weeks, the students used the design process to build the “Little General” out of 1,120 milk cartons. The kids created announcements and posters to solicit and collect milk carton donations. In addition to learning about the design process, they learned about sustainability and recycling.

“I learned that you always need to be willing to change the design even when you think you’re doing what you want,” explained Kennesaw student Tyler. “It might be better with changes or what you’re doing doesn’t really work so you need to change it.”

Tyler wasn’t the only student who knows more about the design process thanks to the milk carton construction project.

“I learned that you need to do a little bit of the building and then take a step back and see if what you’ve done looks like you want it to, or else it might be too late,” added second grader Malcolm.

Students also developed team-building skills.

“Sometimes when you work with people, you need to listen and not just talk because they might have good ideas,” said Cullen, one of the “Little General” builders.

The students were not the only ones, who learned from the six-week project. Their teacher picked up some tips too.

“I had to stand back and watch my kiddoes fail—in order that they learn,” said King, an advanced learning program teacher. “It would have been easy for me to say, ‘try this’, or ‘what about this.’ I hesitated. I was able to polish my questioning skills to get learners to see things I wanted them to see without telling them explicitly.”

The class is excited about the milk carton prize money and is now brainstorming ways to spend it to enhance their classroom.