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Stop Waste!

From snack packages to worn-out tires and nuclear waste, people keep generating trash! Students do their share to help stop waste with the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Did you know that people in the United States throw away an average of 3.5 lbs (1.59 kg) of trash every day? Where does it all go? What happens to nuclear waste from energy plants? How about all the tires that are removed from the world’s cars each year? Open a class discussion focused on trash and its disposal. Document student contributions to the discussion on a classroom white board using Crayola Dry Erase markers.
    2. How to help solve this problem? People can follow the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. What do students think can be done to reduce waste? Organize students into small groups. With Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils on white paper, ask students to list items they believe families, and classmates can reuse or recycle, such as glass, paper, or plastic. Challenge students to investigate where the landfills and recycling plants are in your community. If possible, students may organize an interview with professionals that work landfills.
    3. What part of this issue captures your imagination? If it’s reuse, maybe one solution is a toy or CD/DVD swap? What about walking to the library more, or reusing your own fabric grocery bags? How can you convince others to follow the three R’s? Use Crayola Washable Markers and white paper to get a recycling point across with a dramatic sign or poster.
    4. Now it’s time to stop waste! Find prominent places in your community to display your posters. Generate a commitment to a cleaner community!
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    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.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    SS: Consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school community, the region, and beyond.

    SCI: Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.

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

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Invite a local authority to visit with the class to discuss what your community is doing to help reduce, reuse, and recycle. What is expected of the residents in the plan? How does the community's plan look to the future? After the meeting, students post learning to a class blog.

    Encourage students to investigate a tragedy such as Love Canal in New York or Russia's Chernobyl catastrophe. Students sketch a scene from the disaster and write a summary paragraph of how the disasters happened. A second paragraph focuses on how these disasters might have been prevented.

    "Pre-cycling" is a practice in which product designers and manufacturers create packaging that considers recycling. Students investigate how this works, what major companies are practicing pre-cycling, and brainstorm how they, as consumers, can influence companies to practice pre-cycling.


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