IT Infrastructure

Recycled Materials

By Rich Shea — November 10, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Courtesy of droppinscience.net.
(Requires Macromedia Flash Player)

Former teacher Chris Moore is no dumpster diver, but he has picked through what others might consider trash to uncover the objets d’art available on his one-man Internet business, Droppin’ Science (www.droppinscience.net).

The 1960s filmstrips and other retro educational tools Moore sells were collecting dust until he rescued them from storage and rubbish bins at Bedichek Middle School in Austin, Texas, where he taught science for 13 years.

Courtesy of droppinscience.net.
(Requires Macromedia Flash Player)

The 37-year-old is too young to have been weaned on the materials for sale on his site. But ever since college, when he bunked with two art majors, Moore has been a self-proclaimed “aesthetic guy” with an eye for quality. So whenever BMS offered employees a chance to sift through obsolete materials, he’d wade in, thinking he might someday be able to repackage and sell the stuff.

Since August, he’s been doing just that, though it’s too early to tell how well the business will fare. Droppin’ Science offers 13 downloadable versions of the filmstrips priced at $2 each, complete with voiceover narration and beep cues from the days when their frames had to be advanced by hand. Bearing such titles as LSD: Trip or Trap?, Stereotypes, and Glue Sniffing: Big Trouble in a Small Tube, they are laughably earnest attempts to keep post-Eisenhower adolescents out of trouble. “Some of the suggestions they make in the [You and The Other Generation] filmstrip, about how to get along with somebody older than you—I could see kids in my own classroom just snickering at that kind of thing,” Moore says.

A vintage classroom poster on beetles.

He also scrounged a pile of 1930s botany and zoology posters from a junk heap outside a classroom. They were in decent shape and bore no artist or company names, so after a fruitless search for their origins, and with the blessing of a lawyer, he put roughly 50 of them up for sale in their original format. Other images from the vintage diagrams, cleaned up on Moore’s computer, have found their way onto the T-shirts ($12 to $22) and Warhol-esque pop-art posters he sells. Both the original and altered posters of everything from gourds and grass families to tapeworms, frogs, and chickens go for $22 (24” by 18”) or $30 (36” by 24”).

It was during Moore’s years playing high school basketball in Indiana that he first started thinking about working with young people as a career. Arriving at Bedichek in 1993 after graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, he coached for a year, then gave up athletics to focus solely on teaching. He liked the familial atmosphere at the mostly minority, low-income school so much, he never thought of teaching elsewhere. But after a dozen years on the job, “you don’t mind a change,” Moore says.

A computer-altered poster image that former teacher Chris Moore has put on T-shirts he sells.

“Droppin’ science,” by the way, is a hip-hop term for sharing knowledge that Moore first encountered via the Beastie Boys. “They have a line in one of their songs—‘droppin’ science, like Galileo dropped the orange.’ It’s not accurate, but I always liked that,” he says, laughing.

Moore reports that starting the business cost him $10,000 and has been a seven-days-a-week job. Even so, “it’s still not as difficult as teaching,” he says. But if Droppin’ Science doesn’t succeed, he’ll return to the classroom next year, which “isn’t an awful idea,” he adds.

At least he won’t have any regrets about having tried something he’d been talking about doing for years. Who knows—the business might even turn out to be educational.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the December 01, 2006 edition of Teacher as Recycled Materials


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure School Districts Seek Billions in New Federal Money for Connectivity, FCC Announces
The Federal Communications Commission received $5.1 billion in requests for new funding to purchase devices and improve internet access.
2 min read
Image shows two children ages 5 to 7 years old and a teacher, an African-American woman, holding a digital tablet up, showing it to the girl sitting next to her. They are all wearing masks, back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
IT Infrastructure School District Data Systems Are Messed Up. A New Coalition Wants to Help
Organizations representing states and school districts have teamed up with ISTE to help make data systems more user-friendly and secure.
3 min read
Conceptual collage of arrows, icon figures, and locks
Sean Gladwell/Moment/Getty
IT Infrastructure More Families Have Internet Access. So Why Hasn't the Digital Divide Begun to Close?
A new study says low-income families’ access to the internet has soared in the past six years. But there are other barriers to connectivity.
3 min read
Glowing neon Loading icon isolated on brick wall background. Progress bar icon.
Mingirov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
IT Infrastructure Remote and Hybrid Learning Are Declining. But the 'Homework Gap' Will Still Be a Problem
Schools are returning to in-person instruction, but students' connections to the internet at home remain spotty.
2 min read
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advance placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays a wifi hot spot that are being handed out to students in Dallas on April 9, 2020. Dallas I.S.D. is handing out the devices along with wifi hotspots to students in need so that they can connect online for their continued education amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an Advanced Placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School in Dallas, displays one of the Wi-Fi hotspots that were given to district students during the pandemic.
Tony Gutierrez/AP