History of Glass
(Adapted from Wrap Sessions: Town of Islip Recycling Curriculum, by Department of Environmental Control, Town if Islip, NY)


SUBJECT AREAS: reading, comprehension

CONCEPT: What is glass, and how is it made and used?

OBJECTIVE: To learn about the history of glass, what it is made of, and how it is used.

MATERIALS: handout below: History of Glass

KEYWORDS: glass, recycling

PROCEDURE: Have students read "History of Glass" and answer the questions on the following pages.

Answers: 1-T, 2-F, 3-T, 4-F, 5-T, 6-F, 7-T, 8-T


Using an encyclopedia, research the following topics and make your own time line for their discovery and use to the present time.

 Tin  Iron  Gold
 Aluminum  Steel  Uranium
 Plastic  Copper  Silver
 Petroleum  Lead  

History of Glass

Glass is a material that comes from three powder-like substances, ground-up sand, baking soda, and dusty limestone. It is recyclable again and again and is easy to dispose of with little harm to the environment.

But how is it made? The three ingredients are mixed in large containers or vats until they melt and become liquid. This hot, clear liquid is now what we call glass. It is then shaped, cooled, and left to harden for use everywhere.

Years ago, scientists discovered a way to spin the glass into wool-like thread or fiber. These fibers were found to be good for building materials in boats, homes, and offices. This material is called fiberglass.

Glass is indeed an old but very useful product, but remember that when broken it has sharp edges that can cut people and animals.

Below is a time line showing when and how long glass has been and is used.



 First jar made of glass  3000 BC  
 All glass ancient container  1500 BC
 Blowpipe to Shape Glass Used  30 BC
   50 AD  First Glass Window
 1535 AD  First Window in Western Hemisphere
 1685 AD  First Mirror
 1790 AD  First Glass Eyeglasses
 1980 AD  Microwave Glass & Fiber for Telephone Cables


Based on your reading on glass and the Time Line, complete the following worksheet.

A. Be a Glass Recipe Writer...

Write the directions to make glass. Ingredients:
1 ________________________
2 ________________________
3 ________________________

Procedure: Combine your ingredients and place them at a very high temperature in a _________________ or ________________. Let ______________ and ______ ______ and then ____________ into ________________.

List five (5) different uses of glass.
1 __________________
2 __________________
3 __________________
4 __________________
5 __________________

B. Circle T for true - F for false.

1) Glass is one of the oldest materials made by humans. T/F

2) Glass has been used for 3000 years. T/F

3) Ancient people probably used glass for carrying liquid. T/F

4) The blowpipe was invented in 30 A.D. T/F

5) The first use of glass for home construction took place in 50 A.D. T/F

6) The mirror was invented about 130 years after the first window in the Western Hemisphere. T/F

7) Eyeglasses were invented in the 18th Century. T/F

8) The use of glass is about 5000 years old. T/F

Back to Solid Waste Activities Grades 4-6

Cornell Waste Management Institute ©1991
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Bradfield Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853