Adults and even kids all across the country helped in the war effort by collecting tin cans, scrap metal, aluminum foil, and old records (which were made of hard rubber). Scrap metal drives were big community events all over the country. Metals were scarce during the war because they were needed to build ships, planes, tanks, bombs and gun parts. People were encouraged to recycle used tin cans. Kids would organize metal drives in their neighborhoods. They would collect old toys, old pots and pans, and even bottle caps. Toy production was reduced during the war, because the metal needed to make toys was in demand for tanks and weapons, toys like bicycles were not made during the war. Old rubber tires were also collected and recycled for the war effort in towns all across America.

Paper was scarce because the defense industry needed wood for building weapons and supplies for war, and because so many lumbermen went into the armed forces. The scarcity of wood meant less wood pulp, which is the main ingredient of paper. As a result, everyone saved paper for recycling. Kids would go door to door, collecting scrap paper. They felt it was their patriotic duty.

This site was developed by Carole Parsons, a 5th grade teacher at Millbrook Elementary School. This lesson is part of a unit on WW II for the 5th grade Social Studies classes. Students are also working on performing a play based on the attack on Pearl Harbor, reading a WWII novel, and using extensive PowerPoint presentations to provide additional information to enhance the text.


Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Aiken County Schools (February 2006)

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