What can we do about trash in our community?

A Unit for 4th Graders

Contents

*   Overview and Rationale

*   Teacher Background Information

*   Unit Planning Chart

*   Organization and Subject Matter Overview with Goals and Objectives

*   Learning Activities Bank

*   Assessment

*   Appendix

Overview and Rationale

This unit is on the social justice issue of trash in the community.  It is designed to be used in a fourth grade class, but could be adapted for use in any upper elementary school grade.  There are many reasons why this topic is very important.  Worldwide the problem of waste management is “piling up.”  The issue of waste management isn’t a new one.  Throughout the world’s history, societies have had waste and have had to develop solutions to that problem.  At this time the problem of waste management has become astronomical.  Not only are cities having difficulty finding sites for landfills, but natural resources are also becoming more limited.  It is critical that students learn that many of the thing that they throw away could be reused or recycled.  There are other issues that surround waste management.  Disease can be spread through waste, and toxic waste is especially hazardous for humans to be around.  It's far better to reduce the toxicity and amount of solid waste in the first place than to cope with it after it has been created.  For that reason this unit will focus most of its attention on teaching the students strategies to help solve this problem before it becomes too big.  

 People throughout the world have the right to live in an area that is clean and free of trash and litter.  Sites for landfills are becoming increasingly hard to find and communities are reluctant to facilitate one that is nearby where they live.  All too often the people who have to live near landfill sites are those who aren’t able to afford to live anywhere else.  Is it fair that these people are being forced to live in areas that are potentially hazardous to their health? 

As part of this unit, I will educate my students about alternative ways of managing waste, including reducing the amount of trash generated, reusing resources that are still in good shape, and recycling items that can be made into new things.  In the national standards for social studies, teachers are encouraged to have their students work towards developing a response to a current local economic issue, such as how to reduce the flow of trash into a rapidly filling landfill (7J).  Fourth graders will be able to internalize this information and are at an age where they can develop life skills in relation to waste management that will make a difference not only in their lives, but also in the quality of the earth’s environment.   

In this unit, students will be given the knowledge and skills necessary to make a difference in the area of waste management.  By educating students about these alternative methods of waste disposal, they will become knowledgeable about their role in improving the environment, and how society can help to alleviate problems that we are currently dealing with today.  As students become environmentally responsible citizens, they will work towards finding solutions to problems that are currently being examined.  

  

Teacher Background Information

This information was obtained directly from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website www.epa.gov

“Individual consumers can help alleviate America's mounting trash problem by making environmentally aware decisions about everyday things like shopping and caring for the lawn.  Reusing products is just one way to cut down on what we throw away.  Each year, Americans generate millions of tons of trash in the form of wrappings, bottles, boxes, cans, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, phone books, and much, much, more. 

Durable goods (tires, appliances, furniture) and nondurable goods (paper, certain disposable products, clothing) account for several million tons of the solid waste stream. Container and packaging waste is a significant component of the nation’s waste stream as well. This material includes glass, aluminum, plastics, steel and other metals, and paper and paperboard. Yard trimmings such as grass clippings and tree limbs are also a substantial part of what we throw away. In addition, many relatively small components of the national solid waste stream add up to millions of tons. For example, one percent of the nation’s waste stream can amount to about two million tons of trash each year.

Across the country, many individuals, communities, and businesses have found creative ways to reduce and better manage their trash through a coordinated mix of practices that includes source reduction.  Simply put, source reduction is waste prevention.  It includes many actions that reduce the overall amount or toxicity of waste created.  Source reduction can conserve resources, reduce pollution, and help cut waste disposal and handling costs (it avoids the costs of recycling, composting, landfilling, and combustion). 

 

Source reduction is a basic solution to the garbage glut: less waste means less of a waste problem.  Because source reduction actually prevents the generation of waste in the first place, it comes before other management options that deal with trash after it is already generated.  After source reduction, recycling (and composting) are the preferred waste management options because they reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and conserve resources.

Integrated waste management refers to the complementary use of a variety of practices to safely and effectively handle municipal solid waste. The following is EPA's preferred hierarchy of approaches.

  • Source Reduction is the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials (such as products and packaging) to reduce the amount or toxicity of trash generated. Source reduction can help reduce waste disposal and handling costs because it avoids the costs of recycling, municipal composting, landfilling, and combustion. It also conserves resources and reduces pollution.
  • Recycling is the process by which materials are collected and used as raw materials for new products. There are four steps in recycling: collecting the recyclable components of municipal solid waste, separating materials by type (before or after collection), processing them into reusable forms, and purchasing and using the goods made with reprocessed materials. Recycling prevents potentially useful materials from being landfilled or combusted, thus preserving our capacity for disposal. Recycling often saves energy and natural resources. Composting, a form of recycling, can play a key role in diverting organic wastes from disposal facilities.
  • Waste combustion and landfilling play a key role in managing waste that cannot be reduced or recycled. Combustion in specially designed facilities reduces the bulk of waste and provides the added benefit of energy recovery. Source reduction and recycling can remove items from the waste stream that may be difficult to burn, cause potentially harmful emissions, or make ash management problematic. Landfilling is - and will continue to be - a major component of waste management. The portion of waste requiring incineration or land disposal can be significantly reduced by examining individual contributions to garbage and by promoting the wise use and reuse of resources.”

--Environmental Protection Agency’s website www.epa.gov

Unit Planning Chart

Social Studies

Teacher Resources

Student Reading/Literature

Math

Science

Is it fair to future generations to abuse natural resources now?

Where is the landfill located?  

What are landfills for? 

How can we reduce trash that goes to the landfill?

Set up a recycling program at school.

How do other states/countries handle waste?

What happens if we use up all of our nonrenewable resources?

50 Simple Things Kids can do to Save the Earth by:  The Earthworks Group

Recycling by:  Jean F. Blashfield and Wallace B. Black

Where does Garbage Go? by: Isaac Asimov

Papermaking by: Susie O’Reilly

Trash! By: Charlotte Wilcox

Garbage and Recycling by: Judith Woodburn

 

Just a Dream by:  Chris Van Allsburg

 Going Green by:  John Elkington

Miss Rumphius by:  Barbara Cooney

Long Live Earth by:  Meighan Morrison

Dear World…  by:  Lannis Temple

Where does the Garbage go? by:  Paul Showers  

Recycle! A handbook for Kids by: Gail Gibbons

Mr. Garbage by:  William H. Hooks

The Throwaway Generation by: Jill C. Wheeler

Follow that Trash! by: Francine Jacobs

 

Real life “trash” word problems.

How much does it cost to dispose of trash in a landfill?

How much waste does the average person, family, city, or nation generate in a year?

At the rate that natural resources are being used now, how long will it be before they are used up?

How is a landfill constructed?

What products or materials decompose and what ones don’t?

What are some nonrenewable resources?

How are materials recycled?

How long can items stay in a landfill before they decompose? 

 

Art

Physical Education

Music

Technology

Oral Language

Make paper from recycled paper.

Trash art.

Draw a landfill.

Make a class mural.

Make a gift for someone by reusing leftover art scraps.

How is disease carried or transmitted through garbage?

Crushing soda cans/recycling relay race.

Water pollution from landfills and health risks.

Sing songs about recycling.

Make a recycling rap.

Make instruments out of trash.

 

 

Landfill technology.

How are items recycled?

Make a power point presentation about recycling.

Have students do research on the internet.

 

Make radio advertisements about reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Tell a classmate about ways that they can conserve resources.

Tell a story about the world in the future. 

Written Language

Field Trips/Guests

Culminating Activities/Unit Projects

Read Alouds

 

Write a letter to paper about conserving resources. 

Keep a journal of things learned.

Write a story about what the world would look like if the landfills were all full.

Make posters to persuade school to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Fieldtrip to a Recycling Center or a landfill.

Guest from recycling center.

Guest speaker that works for garbage company.

Have a “LitterBug” come into class to talk about not littering.

 

Community clean up.

Organize a school wide recycling program. 

Present to school information in an assembly. 

Have students share what they learned with their family and have them report to the class about changes they’ve made at their homes.

 

 

Just a Dream by:  Chris Van Allsburg

Mr. Garbage by:  William H. Hooks

Where does the Garbage go? by:  Paul Showers

Trash by:  Charlotte Wilcox

Recycling!  A Handbook for Kids by: Gail Gibbons

 

 

Organization and Subject Matter Overview with Goals and Objectives

To best accommodate the learning activities, the classroom should be organized so that each child can easily see the chalkboard because many activities will involve brainstorming as a whole class.  Ideally if there were a class meeting area or rug where the children could gather, then many of the activities would more easily be facilitated.  There should be room for students to store their posters or advertisements as they work on them.  There should be a literacy center where students will have time to access books about waste and recycling.

The following chart is an example of how this unit could be organized for a 4-week period.  It lists all of the national and state standards and objectives that are being met through this unit, and it also displays the learning activities that would be completed each week.  This unit is designed for use in a classroom where at least 1 ½ hours to 2 hours will be devoted to the content outlined in this chart.

  

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Topic

Trash in our Community

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Comparing waste in the past with today

Implementing our plan of action

NCSS Standards

  • 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 (NCSS 7J).
  •  Consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond (NCSS 3K).

Utah Objectives

·        Predict how human activity will influence environments and communities.  Identify the influence of people on environments and environments on people (Grade 3, Standard 1, Objective 1). 

  • Examine important aspects of the community and culture that strengthen relationships.  Participate in activities that promote public good (e.g., respect cultural and ethnic differences, identify community needs (Grade 2, Standard 2, Objective 2).
  • Students participate in activities that promote good citizenship (Grade 3, Standard 5). 
  • Demonstrate basic citizenship skills (Grade 3, Standard 5, Objective 1). 
  • Identify ways to meet community needs (Grade 3, Standard 5, Objective 2).

 

 

Learning Activities

Have students do a KWL about trash in their community.

Read Where does the Garbage Go?

Read Recycle!  A Handbook for Kids to introduce students to the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle).

Introduction:  How has waste changed over time and why?

Have students brainstorm ideas for a school wide recycling program. 

 

Do the Landfill Construction activity.  (See Lesson Plan #1)

Have students observe landfills and record any changes in journals.

Have students share their reflections from their journals with small groups.

Have planning meetings related to the recycling program.

 

Guest speaker from a local garbage company.

Students conduct research about recycling.

Guest speaker from a Heritage center to talk about life in the 1800s.

 Have students create “radio” advertisements that could be performed over the intercom. 

 

 Lesson about why people litter and how we can stop the problem.  (See Lesson Plan #3)

Field trip to a local recycling center.

 Make a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting waste management in 1890 and waste management today. (See Lesson Plan #4)  

Have students create recycling advertisement posters with slogans related to the 3 R’s.

 

 School clean up. 

Students write letters to the government about taking action for recycling.  (See Lesson Plan #2)

Read Just a Dream and have students make predictions about what kinds of waste problems there could be in the future. 

Carry out and implement the school plan for recycling.  Decide when certain groups or individuals will be responsible for maintaining the program during the school year.

 

Learning Activities Bank

Lesson Plan #1

Title of Lesson:  Landfill Construction

Teacher:  Rachel Knudsen

Date:  Week 1, Day 2

Time Allotted:  2 hours the first day and 15 minutes of observation and journal writing on each of the days following. 

Grade Level(s):  4th grade

Number of Learners:  28

 

Unit Theme:  What can we do about trash in our community? 

Standards Met:  (see below)

 

Goal:  Students will be able to 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 (NCSS 7j).  Students will be able to consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond (NCSS 3k).

 

Objectives:  Students will become aware of the environmental problem of litter.  They will understand the significance that there is no “away,” and will become familiar with different methods of disposal.  Students will understand the meanings of the terms “organic”, “biodegradable,” “renewable,” and “nonrenewable resource” and why each kind of waste should be handled in a particular way. 

 

 

Material Needed:  

plastic gloves for picking up litter

pictures of landfills

labels

pens and poster board

four large, clear-glass jars
soil
miscellaneous solid waste
crayons
masking tape

 

Motivation: 

1.  Collect litter on the playground and around the school with the students

2.  Return to the classroom.  Discuss with the students:  Where does all this waste go when we put it in the trashcan?  What happens to the item you threw away? Where is away? What is a landfill? How might the material that a piece of trash is made of determine how you should dispose of it? Record the student’s responses on the board.

Procedures: 

1.  Introduce landfills by showing the students pictures.  Discuss issues revolving around landfills.  (Finding sites for landfills is becoming increasingly difficult.  Runoff from landfills can pollute surface and ground water.  It is expensive).

2.  Ask students what they think that they can do to help solve this problem.

 

3.  Discuss what kinds of waste students generate and discuss ways to reduce each kind.

4. Have students help list ways you can avoid disposing of some items in a landfill (such as reducing the amount of waste, reusing items more than once, and recycling).  Write these ideas on a poster board and display in the classroom throughout the duration of the unit.  

5.  Choose one item that was found on the school grounds. What is the item made of? Into which of the following four categories of solid waste does the item fit?

a. organic/biodegradable (e.g. potato peels)

b. renewable resource/recyclable (e.g. newspaper)

c. nonrenewable resource/recyclable (e.g. aluminum cans)

d. nonrenewable resource/hard to recycle (e.g. plastic toothpaste tube)

 

6. With crayons and masking tape, label each glass jar with one of the four category headings.

7. Fill each jar about half full with soil.

8. Sort each miscellaneous solid waste item into its proper category. Put a small sample of each into the jar with the corresponding label. Cover with soil. Leave the lid off and place the jar on a shelf away from people and out of direct sun.

9. Predict what you think will happen to the solid waste in each jar. Record your predictions.

10. Have students observe and chart what happens over three weeks.  Discuss observation charts in class and have students reflect in their journals about the following topics:

  • What will happen if society fills up all available space for landfills?
  • How can we preserve natural resources for future generations?
  • What are some ways that you can reduce the flow of trash?
  • What are some problems that arise from litter?
  • What are the four kinds of waste and where can an example of each be found? Etc…

Accommodations:

Students who have limitations or who are second language learners could be allowed to make a picture journal instead of a written journal.  The jars that are used to contain the mini-landfills need to be stored in locations that are safe and out of reach of the students.  Children shouldn’t be allowed to handle the jars or the contents of the jars without adult supervision.  

 

Closure: 

1.  After the 2-3 week period is over, discuss with the students:  What happened to the items made of organic and renewable resources?  What happened to the items made of nonrenewable resources?  How did what happened compare with your predictions?  What comparisons can you make between your mini-landfill and a real landfill?

 

Assessment/Evaluation: 

1.  Student’s understanding will be assessed through their journal entry responses to the assigned topics given in class. 

 

2.  The observation tables that the students fill out will demonstrate their participation in class and will show any misconceptions that they may have in relation to the landfills so that these misconceptions can be addressed and corrected.   

 

Extension: 

1. Students who wish to further explore the topic of landfills may do so by creating posters about littering and recycling.  They can then share their posters with the school by posting them in the lunchroom where students will have the opportunity to dispose of their waste in a more earth-friendly way. 

 

Teacher Reflection:

 

Lesson Plan #2

Title of Lesson:  Dear Mr. President…

Teacher:  Rachel Knudsen

Date:  Week 2, Day 5

Time Allotted: 2 hours 

Grade Level:  4

Number of Learners:  28

 

Unit Theme:  What can we do about trash in our community?

Standard(s) Met:  See Below

 

Goal:  Students will be able to 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 (NCSS 7j).  Students will be able to consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond (NCSS 3k).

 

Objective:  Students will participate in activities that promote good citizenship (Standard 5).  Students will demonstrate basic citizenship skills (Standard 5, Objective 1).  Students will identify ways to meet community needs (Standard 5, Objective 2).

 

Materials Needed: 

14 pieces of lined paper

14 enveloped

14 stamps

pencils

crayons

chart paper

Dear World—How Children…

addresses of elected officials

 

Motivation: 

1. Read the students a selection from the book Dear World—How Children… and point out the components of a well-written letter.

 

Procedures: 

1. Talk to students about ways that they can make a difference in the world.  Discuss different ways that they can make changes in their community, from the time that they are children until they are very old.  Make sure that students understand that they have a voice that needs to be heard. 

 

2. Talk about making changes in their community through writing letters.  Talk about the importance of being an active citizen and that this shows good citizenship. 

 

3. Explain to students that they are going to write letters to an elected official of their choice to persuade them to encourage recycling in their community. 

 

4. Help students to brainstorm ideas for their letters and write these ideas on chart paper.

 

5. Write a basic outline on the board for the body of the letter. 

  • Thesis Statement
  • Supporting reasons—in order from least persuasive to most persuasive
  • Conclusion—restates the thesis, restates the problem, summarizes the best reasons, and leaves the person reading the letter with an important point to consider

 

6. Have the students work in pairs to write their letters.

 

7. Have each partnership switch letters with another partnership so that they can proofread their letters and offer any suggestions that they can. 

 

8. Have volunteers share their letters with the class.

 

Accommodations:

Second-language learners could be paired with stronger English speakers so that they can help write their letters.  If it is possible to find a government official who speaks their language, then they could write to them in their first language. 

 

Closure: 

1. Put addresses of elected officials on the overhead and have students copy these addresses onto envelopes. These are some addresses that the students could write to (federal government only): 

 

Honorable (name of representative)                         President (name)

House Office Building                                              1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20510                                           Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Honorable (name of senator)

Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

2.  Put postage stamps on each envelope and mail them.

 

 

Assessment/Evaluation:

1. While the pairs are working on composing their letters, the teacher will walk around and observe how well they are working together.  Some things to look for are:

  • Does each partner contribute equally? 
  • Are each of them formulating ideas and sharing them? 

 

2. Teachers will look at each letter before the envelope is sealed and sent.  Students will be assessed on their ability to write their letters in the format assigned.  They should use correct punctuation and be able to formulate their ideas and arguments in a logical and organized way.  

 

Extension: 

For an extension students can write follow-up letters to the official that they wrote to before.  They could even choose another individual or group to write to. 

 

Teacher Reflection: 

 

Lesson Plan #3:

 

Title of Lesson:  Why do people litter?

Teacher:  Rachel Knudsen

Date:  Week 1, Day 4

Time Allotted:

Grade Level: 4

Number of Learners: 28

 

Unit Theme:  What can we do about trash in our community?

Standard(s) Met:  (See Below)

Goal:  Students will be able to 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 (NCSS 7j).  Students will be able to consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond (NCSS 3k).

 

Objectives:  Students will participate in activities that promote good citizenship (Standard 5).  Students will demonstrate basic citizenship skills (Standard 5, Objective 1).  Students will identify ways to meet community needs (Standard 5, Objective 2).

 

Materials Needed:

Trash by:  Charlotte Wilcox

pictures of litter in public places

board

markers

poster board

 

Motivation:

1.  Read the book Trash to the class. 

 

2.  Ask the students:  Why do people litter? 

 

Procedures:

1.  Have the class brainstorm different reasons why people would litter and write these on the board.  Some possible reasons why people might litter are:

 

• They are on property which doesn’t belong to them (because they feel no sense of responsibility for its upkeep).

• They are on property which is regularly cleaned up (because they know someone will clean up after them)

• They are on property where litter has already accumulated (because they think their little bit of litter won’t make any difference)

• Laziness: when people don’t go the few steps out of their way to use a public rubbish container, or when they don’t take the trouble to clean up a spillage from an overloaded refuse container, or don’t bother to containerize loading and unloading debris as it accumulates.

• Carelessness: when people throw litter at rubbish bins instead of placing it within them or don’t secure lids on refuse containers properly, or only partially cover loads, allowing loose materials to fall off and litter the roads.

• Lack of Awareness: when people thoughtlessly drop litter without really being aware that they are contributing significantly to a pollution problem.

• Compulsion: when people feel they must get rid of wrappers, containers and other items the instant these have served their purpose and, if there are no rubbish bins nearby, will drop these materials on the ground.

• Peer Influence: when people adopt the littering habits of the people they associate with.

• Apathy: when people accept litter as a part of life. 

• Lack of Responsibility: when people rationalize that as long as other people are employed to clean up public or other property, there is nothing wrong in littering them.

• Lack of Law Enforcement: when people litter without fear of being caught or rebuked because the litter laws aren’t enforced regularly and people are reluctant to show or mention their disapproval to those they see littering.

• Lack of Education: when people have not been made conscious of the bad effects of litter and how they, as individuals, contribute to aesthetic, social, economic and hygiene problems it causes.

 

2.  Share any ideas from the list that the students failed to mention.

 

3. Help students to look at the reasons why people litter to see which reasons could be eliminated.  For example:

 

Education: getting the facts about litter across to the people who are littering, showing them that this habit is not socially acceptable.

Equipment: providing the facilities to keep an area clean because people tend to litter less in places which are tidy. Equipment includes bins to contain rubbish and brooms to sweep it up.

Example: applying positive peer pressure, setting a trend not to litter.

Encourage: rewarding people for disposing of their rubbish correctly.

Effective Laws: rules which define what unacceptable behavior is. Penalties for breaking these rules should be clearly set out.

Enforcement: making sure people obey the litter laws by punishing infringements.

 

4.  If the students forgot to mention any of these reasons, then help the class by supplying them.

 

5. Show the students pictures of communities that have a lot of litter and talk about all of the reasons why littering is so harmful.  Some of these reasons are:

• Pollution harms the environment and animals

• Litter is unsightly.

• Litter can pile up until it is a very large problem.

 

6.  Tell students that they can make a difference in the litter problem by not littering and educating their friends and family about litter. 

 

7. Have students help to write a class pledge to not litter anymore.

 

 

Accommodations:

A child who is blind and cannot see the pictures could have the pictures described to them in detail by their classmates.

 

 

Closure:

1.  Have students sign the pledge saying that they aren’t going to litter. 

 

2.  Post this pledge in a conspicuous place for the duration of the unit.

 

Assessment/Evaluation:

1.  Did the students contribute to class discussion?

 

2. Did each student sign the pledge?  If not, were they able to provide a logical reason why they were unable to?

 

Extension:

Students could conduct a survey among their school or home to ask people if they litter.  If they do, then they could ask them what their reasons were to see if they are the same as the ones addressed in class.

 

Teacher Reflection:

 

Lesson Plan #4:

 

Title of Lesson:  Waste in the 1890s vs. Waste Today

Teacher:  Rachel Knudsen

Date:  Week 3, Day 4

Time Allotted: 2 hours

Grade Level: 4

Number of Learners: 28

 

Unit Theme:  What can we do about trash in our community?

Standards Met:  (See Below)

Goal:  Students will be able to 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 (NCSS 7j).  Students will be able to consider existing uses and propose and evaluate alternative uses of resources and land in home, school, community, the region, and beyond (NCSS 3k).

 

Objectives:  Students will show how environments and communities change over time through the influence of people (Standard 1).  Predict how human activity will influence environments and communities (Standard 1, Objective 1).

Materials Needed:

The Throwaway Generation by: Jill C. Wheeler

journals

28 Venn diagram templates

 

Motivation:

1.  Read pages 19-25 from the book The Throwaway Generation to the class.  These pages contain stories about 2 families—one from 1890 and one from 1990.  It illustrates the differences in their lifestyles. 

 

Procedures:

1.  Talk about the book and have the students identify ways that these two times were so different with regards to the types of lives that they lived, the waste that they created, and how they dealt with their waste.  How does garbage today differ from garbage of the past?

 

2.  Have each student make a Venn diagram in which they compare and contrast the lifestyles of the 1890s with today. 

 

3.  Have students share some of their ideas with the class, and complete a diagram as a class on the chalkboard. 

 

4.  Draw a second Venn Diagram on the board.  Label one side 2003 and the other side 2103. 

 

5.  Ask students to predict what kinds of lifestyles they think that people might have in the future.  Ask them to reflect upon ideas such as: 

  • What kinds of trash will they be generating?
  • Where will waste be disposed of?
  • Will there still be sites available for landfills, if needed?
  • What kinds of natural resources may have run out?

 

Accommodations:

Students who are second-language learners may complete their Venn diagrams in their native language. 

 

Closure:

1.  Have students write a reflection in their journals about how they think the world will look like in 100 years. 

 

2.  As part of their reflection, make sure that students reflect upon whether or not they would like to live in the future, and what things they think that they can do today that will help to make the future a better place for coming generations.

 

Assessment/Evaluation:

1.  Students will be assessed through their completion of Venn diagrams.  Some things to consider are:

  • Is the diagram complete?
  • Does it contain well formulated ideas?
  • How clearly is the student’s understanding portrayed?

 

2.  Students will also be assessed through their reflective journals.  Their journals should contain the following:

  • A description of life in 100 years.
  • Speculation as to waste and how it is disposed of.
  • A personal opinion regarding their predictions.

 

Extension:

Students can make a time capsule containing items that they think best represent the type of lives that they have.  The capsule would be opened in the year 2103. 

Teacher Reflection:

 

 

Assessment

          In this unit students will be assessed through a variety of ways.  This will help the teacher to evaluate the lessons and to see how they could be changed or adapted to increase student understanding.  One of the main ways that students can assess student performance is through their journal entries.  This is an excellent way for students to express their understanding and to make personal connections to the information that they are learning. 

          Another form of assessment used in this unit is through their projects and assignments that they complete.  Participation is very important to the functioning of the unit, and so this is looked at as part of their assessment.  Overall, students will be assessed upon how well they are learning the content knowledge and making connections to it with their personal life.  Although this seems like it would be hard to asses, through journal writing and assignments, the students’ attitudes towards waste in the community will become evident. Here are some examples of modes of assessment used in the lesson plans:

 1.  Student’s understanding will be assessed through their journal entry responses to the assigned topics given in class. 

 2.  The observation tables that the students fill out will demonstrate their participation in class and will show any misconceptions that they may have in relation to the landfills so that these misconceptions can be addressed and corrected.   

 3. While the pairs are working on composing their letters, the teacher will walk around and observe how well they are working together.  Some things to look for are:

  • Does each partner contribute equally? 
  • Are each of them formulating ideas and sharing them? 

 4. Teachers will look at each letter before the envelope is sealed and sent.  Students will be assessed on their ability to write their letters in the format assigned.  They should use correct punctuation and be able to formulate their ideas and arguments in a logical and organized way.  

 5. Did the students contribute to class discussion?

 6. Did each student sign the pledge?  If not, were they able to provide a logical reason why they were unable to?

 7. Students will be assessed through their completion of Venn diagrams.  Some things to consider are:

  • Is the diagram complete?
  • Does it contain well formulated ideas?
  • How clearly is the student’s understanding portrayed?

 

 8.  Students will also be assessed through their reflective journals.  Their journals should contain the following:

  • A description of life in 100 years.
  • Speculation as to waste and how it is disposed of.
  • A personal opinion regarding their predictions.

 

Appendix

Books:

50 Simple Things Kids can do to Save the Earth by:  The Earthworks Group

Dear World—How Children Around the World Feel About our Environment  by:  Lannis Temple

Follow that Trash! by: Francine Jacobs

Garbage and Recycling by: Judith Woodburn

 Going Green by:  John Elkington

Just a Dream by:  Chris Van Allsburg

Long Live Earth by:  Meighan Morrison

Miss Rumphius by:  Barbara Cooney

Mr. Garbage by:  William H. Hooks

Papermaking by: Susie O’Reilly

Recycle! A handbook for Kids by: Gail Gibbons

Recycling by:  Jean F. Blashfield and Wallace B. Black

The Throwaway Generation by: Jill C. Wheeler

Trash! By: Charlotte Wilcox

Where does Garbage Go? by: Isaac Asimov

Where does the Garbage go? by:  Paul Showers  

 

Websites: 

 

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/compostfacility/les.htm

http://homeworkspot.com/theme/recycling.htm

http://www.angelfire.com/ak/teacherpage/rec1.html

http://www.astc.org/exhibitions/rotten/rthome.htm

http://www.atozteacherstuff.com/themes/recycling_composting.shtml

http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Publications/EffectiveWasteManagement/

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/enved/Rec_Lessons/contents.htm

http://www.learner.org/exhibits/garbage/recycle.html

http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/curriculum/socialstd/Recycle.html

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/lesson-plans/lesson-3276.html

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Last revised: Date October 20, 2003

 

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