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Lesson Plan   



 
    Lesson Information
     
 
    Outcomes and Standards
    Objectives
    Assessment
     
   
    Resources
    Materials
    Vocabulary
    Procedures
    Day Plans
    Enrichment Options
     
   
    Teacher Reflection
     



Stage 1
Identify Desired Results


Catchy Title: Talkin' Trash
Theme/Topic of Lesson: A study of the negative impact of garbage on the environment and the positive impact of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste
Time Commitment: Four 60-minute period/blocks
Subject Area(s):
    Science - Ecology
    Science - Process skills
    Social Studies - Geography
Grade Level(s): 6,7,8
Standards Alignment:
Class Challenge Question:

How big is the garbage problem, and what can we do to increase recycling awareness in our school and community?


Overview:

Mass production, plastics, and the advent of "disposable" items has made life in the United States more convenient, but it has also had highly negative side effects on the environment. Most Americans generate about 4 pounds of solid trash per day. That's 200 million tons of trash each year in the United States alone!  Landfills, the most popular method of trash disposal, are reaching capacity. If overfull, a landfill runs the risk of contaminating ground water (our best source of drinking water). Incineration of trash also poses environmental risks to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases, smog, and toxic fumes.  The problem of where to put all this trash, just like the trash itself, will not go away without concerted effort, research, planning, and action.

In this lesson, students will learn about the trash problem and ways to help alleviate it. They will study trash accumulation on a small scale by looking at, quantifying, and separating the trash that surrounds them in their school environment. (Because this activity involves handling trash, though with gloves, you may wish to check your school's policy on obtaining parental consent for this activity.) They will view a video and an Internet site detailing the facts and statistics of the trash problem, as well as its potential solutions. Students will perform Internet research to learn about the "3 R's" of recycling - reduce, reuse, recycle - and to find recycling tips and facts. As a final product, students will share their findings with the class, the school, and the community in the form of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Using a variety of techniques and technologies (including MS Excel, PowerPoint, and digital photography) to learn and disseminate knowledge about the trash problem and recycling solutions, students will become more conscientious consumers and better recyclers. Hands-on activities, Internet research, viewing activities, and a variety of technologies will be used to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and abilities.

Teachers and students will need prior knowledge of MS Excel and PowerPoint, as well as a familiarity with Internet use.  Students will also need to be familiar with how to weigh items and calculate averages.



Stage 2
Determine Acceptable Evidence


Environmental Science
(6-8)
Maryland Content Standards
Students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the interactions of environmental factors (living and non-living) and analyze their impact from a local to a global perspective.
Maryland State Indicators
6.8.4
compare how different parts of the world have varying amounts and types of natural resources and how the use of those resources determines environmental quality (i.e., soil erosion, water pollution, deforestation).
Knowledge of Statistics
(6-8)
Maryland Content Standards
Students will collect, organize, display, analyze, and interpret data to make decisions and predictions.
Maryland State Indicators
4.8.2
interpret, organize and display data using frequency tables, circle graphs, histograms, box and whisker plots, scatter plots and histograms. (MLO 3.2.)
4.4
(K-12)
Maryland Content Standards Indicators
4.4 Students demonstrate understanding of the effects of interactions between human and physical systems and the changes in meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
 
4.4
(6-8)
Maryland Content Standards
4.4 Students demonstrate understanding of the effects of interactions between human and physical systems and the changes in meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
Maryland State Indicators
4.4.8.1
evaluate the ways and reasons why humans modify their natural environment to meet their wants and the consequences of the modifications (MLO 3.8.)
Technology productivity tools
(Gr. 6-8)
ISTE Technology Standards

3. Technology productivity tools

  • Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.
  • Students use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, prepare publications, and produce other creative works.
ISTE Technology Performance Indicators
Use content-specific tool

Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research.

Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools
(Gr. 6-8)
ISTE Technology Standards

6. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools

  • Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
  • Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.
ISTE Technology Performance Indicators
Design, develop, publish

Design, develop, publish and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom



Learning Objectives:

The Students will:
  • Understand how our waste disposal habits and methods are negatively impacting the environment.

  • Learn the "3 R's" of recycling (reduce, reuse, recycle).

  • Decide, out of the items disposed of, which ones can be considered "trash" (unsalvageable) and which items can be recycled.

  • Examine the trash issue in their own school and home.

  • Collect, catergorize, and graph trash that is found within the school environment.

  • Gather recycling information and resources from the Internet.

  • Create items to be used in a public service campaign about recycling in their school.

  • Quantify the amount of waste disposed of in given periods of time.

Assessment

The following activities will be assessed through the Talkin' Trash Scoring Rubric:
Talkin' Trash Video Notes Activity
Talkin' Trash Waste Audit Activity
Recycle City Internet Scavenger Hunt Activity
Garbage and Recycling Awareness Presentation Activity




Stage 3
Plan Learning Experiences


Resources

Other TechnologyDigital Camera or 35mm camera and digital scanner
Computer with video projection device
TV/VCR
SoftwareMicrosoft Office Excel
  http://www.microsoft.com
Microsoft Powerpoint
  http://www.microsoft.com
Hyper Studio Optional
  http://www.hyperstudio.com
The Cruncher - Davidson

Davidson  (optional) 800-545-7677

Video(s)Bill Nye the Science Guy #13: "Garbage"

Available online from Disney Educational Store at http://dep.disney.go.com/educational/store/detail?product_id=68A60VL00
(Price: $39.95).

  http://dep.disney.go.com/educational/store/detail?product_id=68A60VL00
Internet SitesAnnenberg/CBP Channel's Exhibits Collection: Garbage

Part of the Annenberg/CBP Project. Site provides detailed information on the garbage problem and ways to help alleviate it. Used in Day 1 to give students background information before the Garbage video is shown.

  http://www.learner.org/exhibits/garbage/
Earth 911

Recycling links and information, including links to local recycling centers.

  http://www.earth911.org
Recycling in Maryland

Maintained by the Maryland State Department of the Environment. Links to Maryland recycling programs, recycling information, and local recycling information.

  http://www.mde.state.md.us/was/recycle/
EPA Recycle City

Easy-to-access, viewer-friendly information on recycling and trash.  Also contains a hypothetical "city" scenario (city deals with recycling problems) that's a useful illustration of the benefits of recycling.

  http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/

Materials
Per class
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy video: "Garbage"
  • A quantity of varied trash items collected around the school grounds (best gathered after a lunch shift)

  • Computer with Internet access and video projection device

  • Digital camera or 35mm camera and scanner
  • Overhead projector, chalkboard, chart paper

  • VCR/TV
  • Scale and weighing pan or box (place the pan on the scale, then adjust the scale to "0" to correct for its weight)

Per student team/group of 4
  • Computer with internet access
Per Student
  • Garbage and Recycling Awareness Presentation  (View)
  • Recycle City Internet Scavanger Hunt  (View)
  • Talkin' Trash Scoring Rubric  (View)
  • Talkin' Trash Video Notes  (View)
  • Talkin' Trash Waste Audit  (View)
  • Latex Gloves

Vocabulary
  • Biodegradable - Something that decomposes naturally
  • Bacteria - microscopic organisms that break down (decompose) tissue, releasing gas in the process
  • Compost - decomposed material from living organisms (like fruits and vegetables) that can be used to improve soil for growing
  • Consumption - The process of using up products and resources
  • Decompose - To rot
  • Disposable - Designed to be thrown away after one use
  • Ecosystem - an ecological community composed of different kinds of plants and animals that functions as a unit
  • Groundwater - water that has flowed or seeped beneath the surface of the earth. Groundwater is the source of water for underground springs and wells.
  • Landfill - a place for garbage, or waste, disposal; usually a big hole that is filled in with trash
  • Litter - Waste material carelesly discarded in inappropriate places
  • Pollution - contamination of soil, water, and air by harmful substances
  • Pulp - any soft, moist, formless mass, such as the mixture of water and ground wood fibers used to make paper
  • Recycle - to reprocess, extract useful materials, and use them again; reuse materials to make new, useful products from "used" or old materials
  • Reuse - to use a product more than once for its original purpose or a different purpose

Procedures

In this lesson, students will learn about the trash problem and ways to help alleviate it. They will study trash accumulation on a small scale by looking at, quantifying, and separating the trash that surrounds them in their school environment. They will view a video and an Internet site detailing the facts and statistics of the trash problem, as well as its potential solutions. Students will perform Internet research to learn about the "3 R's" of recycling - reduce, reuse, recycle - and to find recycling tips and facts. As a final product, students will share their findings with the class, the school, and the community in the form of a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Using a variety of techniques and technologies (including MS Excel, PowerPoint, and digital photography) to learn and disseminate knowledge about the trash problem and recycling solutions, students will become more conscientious consumers and better recyclers. Hands-on activities, Internet research, viewing activities, and a variety of technologies will be used to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and abilities.

Teachers and students will need prior knowledge of MS Excel and PowerPoint, as well as a familiarity with Internet use.  Students will also need to be familiar with how to weigh items and calculate averages.


1: The Garbage Problem
Daily Challenge Question: Why is garbage a problem?

Set-up Directions:

Before the lesson, the teacher will need to prepare an Internet-ready computer and video projection device to show the Web site at http://www.learner.org/exhibits/garbage/. If these materials are not available, the teacher may also print out the "Introduction," "Solid Waste," and "Possible Solutions to Solid Waste" sections of this site to share with students. (The link to the "Possible Solutions" section is found at the end of the "Solid Waste" document.) The classroom will also need to have a VCR/TV setup to show the Bill Nye the Science Guy: Garbage video. Before class begins, cue the video to the screen that says "Brought to you by GARBAGE" after the credits. Each student will need a copy of the Talkin' Trash Video Notes Activity sheet.



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

With the Internet-capable computer and video projection device, show students the Internet site at http://www.learner.org/exhibits/garbage/.  Give students a moment to read the information at the site entrance, then click on "[ENTER]" to access the rest of the site.

Have a student read the first paragraph of the introduction aloud, then click on the "Solid Waste" link. Select students at random to read each paragraph of the section on solid waste. Ask students:
What facts or statistics in this section surprise you?
Where do you think all this trash goes?  Would it surprise you to learn that we are running out of places to put it?

Click on the "Find Out About Possible Solutions" link at the bottom of the page.  Explain that this page shows some ways that people can Reduce the amount of trash they put out, Reuse items more than once, and Recycle items that can be recycled. These are the "3 R's" of recycling. Explain that the class is going to view a video that will give them more information about the garbage problem.



Activity 1 - Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Garbage Video
Watch a Bill Nye video.
Focus for Media Interaction
Focus for Media Interaction: The focus for media interaction is a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites or other multimedia elements.

The focus for media interaction is a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites or other multimedia elements. The Talkin' Trash Video Notes Activity sheets will focus students' attention on the facts and information about the garbage problem covered during the video.


Viewing Activities
What will your students be responsible for while viewing this piece of multi-media or video?

Hand out the Talkin' Trash Video Notes Activity sheets to each student. Assure students that they will have plenty of time to fill in the answers, and that the video will be paused and replayed often. Explain that during pauses, they may work quietly with a partner to complete the answers on their sheet.

Play the video from the screen that says "Brought to you by GARBAGE."

Pause the video after the narrator says, "In America, we are making trash at 2 kg per day/ per person."

Ask the class how much is a kilogram? Explain that 1 kg of something weighs about 2.2 pounds, so 2 kg per person, per day is about 4.5 lbs of trash! Explain that Bill Nye and other scientists use metric units of measurement. Tell students to pay close attention to the numbers in the upcoming segment.

Play the video.

Pause the video after it explains that "the United States is making trash at a rate of 750 kg per person, per year."

Ask students to fill in the answers to questions 3 and 4 on their activity sheets with their partners. (If necessary, rewind and replay this segment.)
Draw a bar graph on the board, overhead, or chart paper, and have a student come up and fill in those numbers. Optionally, draw another bar graph with the US weight equivalent.

Play the video.

Pause after Bill Nye says, "That's a lot of trash!" and when you see the title screen "NATURAL WASTE."

Ask students to think for a moment about those things in our ecosystem that are biodegradable and those that are considered natural waste. Then ask them to share what they think these two things mean with their partners. Explain that they should be prepared to categorize some things according to the chart on their Talkin' Trash Video Notes activity sheet.

Play the video.

Pause video with the full list of natural, biodegradable items on the screen and have students organize and write these items on the charts on their activity sheets at this time. Go over the list and briefly discuss what could be added to the list in both categories, if desired - non-biodegradable waste versus degradable waste.

Resume the video. Watch "Try This," "Compost," and Pause at "How Much Trash." Note the number on the VCR counter at this time.

Explain that the next section of the video will give a number of statistics that are covered on their activity sheets. The first time through, students should work in pairs to write down what they can remember after the video is paused, then confirm their answers when this segment is replayed.

Resume video and Pause at the title screen "Check it Out."

Give students a moment to work in pairs to circle the answers they can remember.

Rewind, using the number on the VCR counter to locate the beginning of the statistics section.

Replay the section, instructing students to check their answers. Pause the video again at the title screen "Check It Out," and choose pairs at random to share their answers with the class. Write the answers on the board, overhead, or chart paper.

Fast Forward through the "Luna Van Dyke" detective segment.

Resume the video when you see the title screen "Garbage," and explain that this segment will talk about what kinds of waste do and do not break down.

Pause the video at the title screen "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle," and ask students to discuss with their partners what these three terms mean. Give students a moment to think & discuss, then ask pairs to share their answers with the class.

Fast Forward through the "Nifty Home Experiment" and Resume at the end of the experiment when you see the words "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" again.

Play the video through until the credits roll.

Ask, "What is the last "R" that they mention on the video?" (Rethink) Discuss what this "R" means to us as we approach the problem of overflowing landfills.


Post Viewing Activities
How will students utilize the information they gathered while viewing the multi-media or video?

Allow students a few minutes to work in pairs or small groups and review their answers to the questions on the activity sheet and answer the final question on the sheet. Students can also edit their answers during this time.



Wrap Up:

Explain to the class that they will also use the information they collected today when they make their PowerPoint presentations on recycling at the end of the lesson. Tomorrow, the class will conduct a waste audit of the school grounds to collect some of the same garbage facts Bill Nye had about the U.S. as a whole. This will help them decide what the garbage problem is like at their school - another piece of information they will need to make their PowerPoint presentations. If the class will be meeting to collect trash for tomorrow's lesson, make sure students know where and when to meet.


2: Waste Audit of School Grounds
Daily Challenge Question: How much garbage does our school accumulate?

Set-up Directions:

If time allows, students can meet at a designated time and place (preferably after a lunch shift) to collect trash from several cans around the school grounds. If this is not possible or practical, the teacher can conduct the trash collection prior to class and bring the trash in bags to the classroom.  It is important to collect trash from various locations in the school to get an accurate picture of the types of disposed trash.

Collect enough trash for each group of 4 or 5 students to have 1 bag of trash. The teacher and each student will need a set of latex gloves. (For students allergic to latex, a set of heavy, washable work gloves will do.) 

After the trash is collected, clear an area and lay down plastic or newspaper for students to work on during the activity. There will need to be a scale in the classroom for students to weigh the trash in.  If using a regular bathroom scale, put a clean cardboard box on the scale and adjust the dial to read "0" to account for the weight of the box.  E

ach student will need a copy of the Talkin' Trash Waste Audit Activity Sheet as well.  Groups will also need access to a computer equipped with Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program capable of producing bar graphs.



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

Ask students to estimate the amount (by weight) of garbage the school generates each day.  Remind students of the information from the previous lesson's video, that each person generates about 4.5 lbs of trash per day.  Ask students to multiply the number of students in the school by 4.5 lbs.  Explain that this gives a rough estimate of how much trash the school might generate in a day.  How does our school compare?  Let's see.



Activity 1 - School Waste Audit

Divide the class into heterogeneous groups of 4 or 5 students and give each group a bag of trash with which to work. Give each student a copy of the Talkin' Trash Waste Audit Activity Sheet. Have students work in their groups to complete the activity.



Wrap Up:

Return to the estimate students made of the amount of trash generated by the school each day at the beginning of the lesson, and compare their calculations with it.  Ask them to decide, based on this comparison, if they think the school generates more or less than 4.5 lbs of trash per student, per day.  (Remind students that these are both estimates, so it's impossible to find a "right" and "wrong" answer here.)

Take digital pictures of the groupings of both students and trash. These pictures can be used later for displays, HyperStudio(tm) stack, the PowerPoint slide show, a Web page, or an in-school recycling guide.  Make sure students print both graphs. Explain that groups will be doing Internet research on recycling and preparing a PowerPoint presentation for the school on recycling awareness on the following day.


3: Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!
Daily Challenge Question: How can reducing waste, reusing things, and recycling impact the garbage problem?

Set-up Directions:

Ideally, the class would take place in a computer lab or room equipped with enough computer stations for each student to have access to a computer with Internet access. If this is not possible, students can rotate through as many computer stations as are available to complete the activity.  Each group will need a different list of items to find (see instructions below), and each student will need a copy of the Recycle City Internet Scavenger Hunt Activity sheet. Prior to class, bookmark the Web page  http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/mainmap.htm on the computers. 

Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 students.  Then divide the following list of scavenger hunt items evenly among groups, and write the terms for each group on a separate sheet of paper. (Make sure to count each item requiring 2 answers as 2 separate items to find.)  Place each group's list at their computer station(s).

Scavenger Hunt Items Master List:
Something made from recycled tires
A way to use vinegar
A use for old bricks
Something made from old milk containers
An electric car
How coffee grounds can be reused
A use for old clothes and toys
2 incentives government offices can give companies to recycle
2 ways you can reduce paper waste
A use for broken-down cars
A way to reuse old furniture and appliances
One way ground water can be contaminated
One way to reuse old newspaper
A way to save "used" pets
A use for old books
A place to get scrap metal
2 alternatives to Styrofoam packing peanuts
A way to keep smokestacks from polluting as much
A way to reduce the cost (and pollution) of commuting



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

Solicit reactions to the previous day's findings about the trash produced by the school.  Did it seem like more than they thought?  Does what they have learned so far make them concerned for the environment?  Ask what ways students know of to reduce trash, and make a list of student responses on the board, overhead, or chart paper.  Explain that today's activity will take them on a tour of the Internet town Recycle City, where they will find even more ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.



Activity 1 - Recycle City Scavanger Hunt

Distribute the Recycle City Internet Scavenger Hunt Activity Sheets.  Have groups go to http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/first.htm. Show them how to use the Recycle City map to click on different locations and find information on them. Make sure students realize that some pages have more information if they scroll down (this isn't always obvious).

Note: if there are enough computers for each student to have access to one, have teams divide up the scavenger hunt items among the group's members.  If there are not enough computers for every student, have group members take turns finding the scavenger hunt items at computer stations. 

Have a scavenger hunt race to see which group can collect all of their answers first.  Then have students share some of their more interesting answers with the class.



Wrap Up:

Review the past 3 days' activities, placing emphasis on the fact that the class has just explored a multi-faceted problem that has many solutions.  The real "test" of students' recycling knowledge is how it changes our everyday habits. If we change the way we think of our world from disposable to reusable and recyclable, we can really reduce the amount of trash spilling out of our landfills.


4: Getting the Word Out
Daily Challenge Question: How can we increase school awareness of recycling?

Set-up Directions:

Ideally, the class would take place in a computer lab or room equipped with enough computer stations for each student to have access to a computer with PowerPoint installed.  Each student will need a copy of the Garbage and Recycling Awareness Presentation Activity sheet. Each group will need a disk to save their presentation when it is complete.



Teacher Presentation & Motivation:

Summarize the past three days by saying that the class has learned all about the garbage problem, and they have studied many ways to help "clean it up." Then ask, "if everyone in this classroom practices what we've learned about cleaning up the garbage problem, what kind of an impact could we make on the trash problem?" (Students are likely to recognize that the impact of a single class's actions, though important, is limited.) 

Explain that public awareness is a major part of the garbage clean-up effort.  Letting people know how bad the trash problem is and giving them ways to help is an important part of making a lasting worldwide change.  Ask students to suggest ways to "get the word out," and collect responses on the overhead, chart paper, or blackboard.  Explain that today, groups will develop a PowerPoint presentation to increase awareness of the trash problem around the school.



Activity 1 - PowerPoint Garbage/Recycling Awareness Presentation

Give each student a copy of the Garbage and Recycling Awareness Presentation Activity Sheet.  Have students work in groups to plan and develop a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the school's garbage problem and possible recycling solutions.  As groups work, circulate and ask questions like:

What part of the presentation are you responsible for?
How will you make people aware of the trash problem at the school?
What actions will you suggest people at the school take to "clean up" the trash problem?



Wrap Up:

Have groups save their presentations to disks. If time allows on the same day, use a computer equipped with a video projection device to share each group's presentation with the class. (If not, this activity can carry over into the next day.)  Ask groups to comment constructively on one another's presentations. 

Explain that this lesson has taken them through the major steps necessary to solve any social problem.  First, they learned all about the problem itself.  Then, they learned some actions that could be taken to solve it.  Finally, they created ways to share this information with more people.  If those people share with others, then there is a chance that the information will influence people to change their habits.  Eventually, a change in many people's habits can make a very positive impact on environmental problems.



Enrichment Options
Community Connection

Have students write a public service announcement (or PSA) for the morning announcements sharing the recycling facts they have learned. PSA's can start with: "And now for today's Talkin' Trash Recycling Tip. Did you know..."

Write an article or press release to the local newspaper, informing them about school-wide recycling efforts, the trash audit, and the slide shows.

Invite a recycling expert from a local city or county environmental agency.

Arrange a field trip to a local recycling plant, landfill, or water treatment facility to learn what is being done in your community and how you can help.

Have students write a pamphlet informing students and parents about how they can start implementing the "3 R's" in their house, yard, and community.



Cross-Curricular Extensions

Fine Arts
Have students write and illustrate a short story that shows the importance of recycling and garbage awareness.

Mathematics
Using the data gathered during the Waste Audit, students can create other graphs or spreadsheets using The Crunchers(tm) software program.  Directions for the graphing activity:
1. Data table must have columns labeled.
2. You must have an area that describes total mass of trash in your data table.
3. All numbers in the data table must have the same amount of digits after the decimal point.
4. Create an additional column in your data table to list the percent of that type of trash in your sample.
5. Then, choose an appropriate type of graph to display the data.

Science
Students can study how different hazardous chemicals can be broken down, destroyed, and/or safely stored.




Stage 4
Teacher Reflection


As a reflective practitioner, note how this lesson could be adjusted after its initial implementation. How successful were the students? What did the assessment demonstrate about the students' learning? What skills do the students need to revisit? What instructional strategies worked and what made them successful? What will you change the next time you use this lesson? Why?



Author: Gwyneth A. Jones and Sallie Smith
Modified by: Stephanie N. Kadel