Author:
Melody Casey
Subject:
English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Level:
Upper Primary
Grade:
3, 4
Tags:
  • GEDB
  • Global Education
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English

    Education Standards

    GEDB Four R's for a Better World: Reduce and Reuse (Lesson 2 of 3)

    GEDB Four R's for a Better World: Reduce and Reuse (Lesson 2 of 3)

    Overview

    This lesson begins by following up to the previous lesson in which students were instructed to politely refuse one single-use item. Students will observe how one community in South America makes something wonderful from trash. Students will learn the importance of reducing their trash by actively participating in a trash-sorting activity, and demonstrate the ability to reuse trash by making a "trash to treasure" product. This lesson was developed by Lee Ann Smith as part of their completion of the North Carolina Global Educator Digital Badge program. This lesson plan has been vetted at the local and state level for standards alignment, Global Education focus, and content accuracy.

    Lesson Plan

    Description

    This lesson begins by following up to the previous lesson in which students were instructed to politely refuse one single-use item. Students will observe how one community in South America makes something wonderful from trash. Students will learn the importance of reducing their trash by actively participating in a trash-sorting activity, and demonstrate the ability to reuse trash by making a "trash to treasure" product.


    Content

    Student Engagement/Motivation

    Having been given a "real-world" assignment from the previous lesson (to politely refuse a single-use item), students will be excited to share, and curious to learn how their peers fared. The teacher will briefly lead students in a review of the previous lesson by using the "talking ball" to share one thing they learned about decomposition rates.


    Learning Targets and Criteria for Success

    Learning Targets

    I can understand the impact that humans have on the environment.

    I can connect waste to its global significance, understanding how people adapt to the environment to meet their needs.

    I can change the impact on the environment by repurposing trash.

    I can speak clearly and with descriptive details.

     

    Criteria for Success:

    I will report on my experience when refusing a single-use item.

    I will differentiate between recyclables, trash, and compostable items.

    I will create a treasure from trash.

    I will make a presentation about my treasure.


    Supplies/Resources

    • Computer and projector
    • Numbers written on paper, enough for each student to choose one
    • Trash can, recycle bin, compost bin (this can simply be a bowl if a compost bin is not available)
    • Various items for sorting in to trash, recycling and compost such as: glass jar, plastic jug, paper, apple, banana peel, plastic wrap, food containers, etc.
    • Various "trash" items for making something new: paper towel and toilet paper rolls, clean, small plastic containters, scrap paper, glue, etc.
    • Books as desired (See Supplemental Materials section below.) 

    Learning Tasks and Practice

    The teacher will briefly lead students in a review of the previous lesson by using the "talking ball" to share one thing they learned about decomposition rates. The teacher will then remind students that they had an assignment to politely refuse one single-use item. Students will draw a number to determine the order in which they present their experience. If a student did not have an opportunity prior to this lesson to refuse a single-use item, the teacher may ask him or her to think of a unique situation (one which has not already been presented by another student) that might arise in which he/she could have the opportunity in the future to refuse a single-use item. The students could potentially implement some role-play here. After students have presented, the teacher will encourage students to theorize how their individual and collective actions could have a positive impact on the local and world trash situation.

    The teacher will ask students: "When you throw something away, do you know where it goes?" The teacher will take student responses, and explain the transfer station/landfill situation for the local community. The teacher will share pictures of the local landfill, if available.

    The teacher will explain that in addition to recycling and reusing, there is another way some items can avoid the landfill: compostable items are fruit and vegetable scraps that can be put in a bin and returned to the earth, thereby not taking up space in the landfill. The teacher will show students items and bins brought in (examples listed above).

    The teacher will lead the following activity:

    If an item goes in the trash students will hold their nose, wave their other hand and say, "Landfill" in a nasally voice.

    If an item will recycle students move their hands around in a circular motion, sway back and forth, and chant, "Recycle, Recycle, Recycle."

    If an item is compost-worthy students open both hands, palms down, and chant, "Compost, Compost, Compost."

    The teacher will drop each item in the appropriate bin as students do the chanting. As an extension activity, or to reinforce this lesson on another day, the teacher could encourage students to bring in clean items for the class to sort, and students themselves could put them in the appropriate bins and discuss the attributes of the items.

    The teacher will continue the lesson by explaining that students will observe how a community in Paraguay, South America made something beautiful and wonderful from trash. The teacher will show the 3 1/2 minute video clip on theLandfill Harmonic. Following the video, the teacher will instruct students to "turn and talk" to a peer about something that was particularly impactful. Students will be challenged to find at least one way to re-purpose a "trash" item, and come to the next lesson prepared to share.

    The teacher will explain that in addition to the trash items that were just sorted, there are additional trash items. The teacher will present the trash items (examples listed in "Supplies/Resources" section) along with glue and scissors, and challenge the students to create a treasure from the trash provided. Students will present and tell about their newly created treasure. Upon completion of the presentations, students will complete the "Trash-to-Treasure Self Assessment" (attached), and the teacher will collect the Assessments.


    Technological Engagement

    This lesson is mostly hands-on with real-world implications in which the students participate in activities and take action. Some technology is used to present a video on how people in another part of the world deal with trash in a positive, constructive manner.


    Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Learning

    Student learning is assessed through their verbal presentations on refusing a single-use item, discussion on how choices make a difference in our community and beyond, and by participation in the landfill/recycle/compost activity, and the trash to treasure activity.


    Student Self-Reflection and Action Steps

    Students are given ample opportunity throughout this lesson to reflect. At the beginning of the lesson they share their action steps for refusing a single-use item. Following that activity they reflect on trash and where it goes, and how to prevent items from going in the landfill with a hands-on sorting activity. Finally, they are challenged to think about how they might repurpose an otherwise "trash" item, and create an item from trash.


    Feedback/Instructional Adjustments

    Student feedback is given through their verbal reports and their interaction with peers and the teacher. Adjustments are made as necessary to ensure that all learning styles are included and can participate in this lesson.


    Extended Learning Opportunities

    Enrichment activities are suggested (see "Learning Tasks and Practice" section) and an extension opportunity is assigned to the students: They are challenged to find a piece, or pieces, of trash that they can repurpose. An additional lesson could be added to this unit in which an employee from the local landfill or recycling center comes in to speak to the class.


    Teacher Reflection of Learning

    Students were very engaged in this lesson. Some wanted to learn more about the Lanfill Harmonic. A couple of students said they planned to ask their parents if they could set up a compost pile at home. Most expressed suprise that so many things can be "rescued" from the landfill, thereby preventing so much trash at home and in the world. Students enjoyed making their treasures from trash. Some students even mentioned planning to collect "trash" items at home that they could repurpose.


    Supplemental Texts

    Books to Support the Lesson:

    Davila, Claudia. Luz Sees the Light. Kids Can Press, 2011.

    Gray, Libba Moore., and Jada Rowland. Miss Tizzy. Alladin Paperbacks, 1998.

    Kooser, Ted, and Barry Root. Bag in the Wind. Candlewick Press, 2010.

    Kroll, Steven, and Steve Cox. Stuff!: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2012.

    Rabe, Tish. How to Help the Earth-by the Lorax. Turtleback Books, 2012.

    Seuss. The Lorax. HarperCollins Childrens Books, 2017.