bring to school five items they would normally throw away and five items they
would normally recycle. Expert groups are formed to present information
on the recycling of glass, metal, plastic, and organics such as paper and food
waste. Classroom activities stress that many things we throw away can be recycled
and some things we try to recycle will be thrown away. The Family Page extends
this learning to the community by challenging families to increase recycling
efforts at home.
the Family Page in advance of the activity to allow
time for students to collect trash and recyclable items needed for Day 1 of
Day 1: Introduction, Sorting,
and Research (45 min.)
- Gather the
following materials for each team: calculator, chart paper, markers.
- Organize Student
Information Pages into team folders--five different pages in each folder.
(See Ready to Print.)
- Copy a class
set of the Thinksheet, Data Sheet, and Family Page (See Ready
- Gather information
from local collection centers via mail, phone, or Internet for use as additional
classroom resources. (See
Related Resources for ideas.)
on a strategy for grouping students into teams of five.
the activity to your students. "In this activity you will..."
- hypothesize about
the ability of a given object (e.g., plastic jug, orange peel, metal
can, etc.) to be recycled
- analyze data to
form conclusions about current recycling practices
- classify objects
brought from home as recyclable or non-recyclable
- Tell students
what behaviors you expect of them before, during, and after the lesson.
- scientific thinking
- respectful listening
- speaking in appropriate
- Explain how
this activity is grouped:
- whole class introduction
- sorting activity
- class discussion
- Discuss the
following terms and their meanings: solid waste, waste reduction,
and natural resource. (See Background Information.)
- Group students
into teams of five. Have students number off in each team from one to five.
- Ask team members
to take turns sorting their items into two larger team piles: recyclable
and non-recyclable. Encourage discussion and debate. (future photo)
the Data Sheet and discuss.
- Complete the
Item, Category, and Prediction columns of the Data Sheet.
- Distribute the
Thinksheet and give students a moment to
complete the "Question" and "Think It Through" sections.
- Complete the
"Hypothesis" section of the Thinksheet.
the Student Information Pages to each team. Each student receives the page
that corresponds with his/her team number.
- 1 = composting
- 2 = metals (steel
- 3 = plastic
- 4 = paper
- 5 = glass
- Allow time
for students to read their information pages.
- Form "expert
groups" to discuss the reading material (e.g., a glass recycling discussion
group with one member from each team, a paper recycling discussion group...).
Expert Groups and Re-sorting (45 min.)
- Allow time
for expert groups to summarize the text into the following categories for
their type of matter:
- What Is Recyclable
- What Is Not Recyclable
- Other Important
chart paper and markers. Allow time for students to create posters to illustrate
the findings of their expert group.
- Display posters
in the classroom after each team presents its findings.
- Return to original
teams of five where each member is now also a member of a different expert
- Ask team members
to once again take turns sorting their items into two larger team piles,
recyclable and non-recyclable, as they complete their Data Sheets. Encourage
discussion and debate.
- Summarize the
- Not everything
we throw away is trash. Not everything we recycle is recyclable.
- Share selected Background
- Read Where
Does Our Garbage Go? (or similar book about waste reduction).
- Use the Matter
Cycle images to show the flow of matter with and without recycling.
While discussing each diagram, stress that certain materials (glass, metals,
plastics) return to the Earth's resources very slowly and will not necessarily
become the same resource again after breakdown. For example, a plastic
jug will not break down into the exact materials needed to make another
plastic jug. Emphasize that the more we recycle, the less we need to take
from the Earth's undisturbed resources.
students for appropriate behaviors during the lesson.
- Formative: anecdotal
notes of teams in progress, incidental questioning of students' rationale
for what they are doing (during activity), observation of teamwork, status
of the class (end of each unfinished activity day)
- Summative: Choose
one or more of the following:
- Check out Related
- Begin an aluminum
or paper recycling program at your school. If your school already has a
paper recycling program, brainstorm ways to improve the quality of recycling
efforts through posters, P.A. announcements, etc.
- Conduct the Science
for Ohio "Leaf" It
In Your Yard investigation and begin composting at your school and in