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Plastic Into Fuel

How could plastic stop lying around in landfills and instead become fuel we need to heat our homes and run our cars? Create an ad convincing others to turn their used markers into clean fuel!

  • Grade 3
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Share information with students about plastic pollution using books like “Recycle!” by Gail Gibbons. Discuss the innovative solution of converting plastic into energy. Schools can now turn their used markers into clean energy and keep that plastic out of landfills.
    2. This is a new program and in order for people to know about it, students can spread the word. They can build communication skills while using visuals and pizzazz-y language to attract others’ attention. Talk about how advertising can persuade people to do something. Examine some print ads with students and discuss how advertisers use both words and visuals to communicate a message. Brainstorm possible headlines (Why Waste Plastic? ColorCycle It Instead! Join the ColorCycle Crew!) Discuss various advertising techniques such as clever wording, data, examples, quotes from experts or “others like you” and benefits statements.
    3. Encourage students to analyze the ads that have the greatest visual appeal. What attracts them to each ad? Where do their eyes go first? What is appealing about the use of color or layout? Are there strong contrasts between lights and darks?
    4. Invite students to design print ads or posters that will persuade other students. Each ad should include a headline, a visual, and information about “how to” participate in the ColorCycle program. Students may find it helpful to create parts of the ad on separate pieces of paper and then move them about until they are satisfied with the layout. Then they can glue the pieces to a background paper or poster board.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    MATH: Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.

    SCI: Obtain and communicate information for how technology allows humans to concentrate, transport , and store energy for practical use.

    SCI: Design and construct a device that converts energy from one form to another using given design criteria.

    SS: Recognize and interpret how the "common good" can be strengthened through various forms of citizen action.

    SS: Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as pollution and endangered species.

    SS: Apply knowledge of economic concepts in developing a response to a current local economic issue, such as how to reduce the flow of trash into a rapidly filling landfill.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Post students' persuasive posters around the school. Have students design collection boxes where other students and their family members can deposit used markers.

    Brainstorm other ways students can use facts and information in a persuasive manner. Urge them to write a smaller ad for the school-family newsletter that is sent home.

    Urge them to write a flyer to mail to other schools in your district, urging them to collect used markers and turn the plastic into clean energy, too!


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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