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Replacing Plastic Water Bottles

What can a kid do to impact the environment? Learn about how using a refillable water bottle is a simple way to make a big difference.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Grabbing a plastic water bottle is a quick and easy way to bring water on the go. What are the environmental, financial and other costs for this convenience? Invite students to research the true “cost” of manufacturing, using and disposing of a plastic water bottle.
    2. Students share findings with classmates. What water bottle facts surprised you? It is difficult to completely avoid using plastic water bottles. What are some ways you can reduce your dependence on plastic water bottles? What can you do with the plastic water bottles you do use? Break into small groups and brainstorm ideas.
    3. Creating art from recycled materials, like a plastic water bottle, is a positive way to reuse a discarded item. Select a recycled plastic bottle to create a project. Using Crayola® Crystal Effects Window Markers, decorate the bottle with different colors, shapes and designs. The markers created a cool, iced effect that makes the bottle shine!
    4. Display the recycled art projects in a gallery alongside information about plastic water bottle waste in a prominent area in the classroom or school. Encourage students to engage their creativity to enhance public awareness!
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    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: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    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: Design and construct a model to describe the interactions of systems within an ecosystem in terms of the flow of energy, cycling of matter, and the conditions for a healthy ecosystem.

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Why Should I Recycle? by Jen Green; The Three R's: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle by Nuria Roca; The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling by Alison Inches

    Encourage students to tour their school building and identify as many recyclable materials as possible. While working in small groups, have students brainstorm alternate uses for the materials, either individually or combined. Have students list their ideas, select the one that they feel is the best, and prepare a presentation for classmates to "sell" their idea.

    Organize a visit to a local recycling facility. Find out what happens after you place an item in the recycling bin. Students create a poster depicting the life cycle of a water bottle, or other recycled materials.


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