This lesson aligns with science content for animals and habitats, plants, biodiversity, biomes, and ecosystems.

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1 Recycling Renovation Overview Recycling is an easy and a fun way to create impact on the world. Students often take an interest in recycling and finding ways to keep the environment clean. This project allows them to evaluate themselves as well as their school about what kind of recycling may already be taking place and what kind should take place. Suggested Age Group(s) Elementary children, middle school, high school Content Standards and Curriculum Alignment This lesson aligns with science content for animals and habitats, plants, biodiversity, biomes, and ecosystems. Objectives Participants will learn about the importance of environmental responsibility through reducing, reusing and recycling. Participants will learn how to identify and assess their school s recycling resources. Participants will learn how to foster environmentally friendly practices in their school community. Materials Needed Where Does the Garbage Go? By Paul Showers, illustrated by Randy Chewning Paper Pens, Pencils, Markers Scissors Tape Stapler

2 Lesson Introduce the lesson by asking if anyone knows what it means to recycle. Next, introduce the three R s which help to protect the environment: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle o Reduce: Decreasing the amount of products used; using only what is needed. o Reuse: Using a product again, rather than throwing it away. o Recycle: Using something more than once, sometimes for a different use. As a group, have students come up with an example of each R and the benefit to the environment, for example: Reduce: Decrease the amount of paper used. Environmental Benefit: Decreases the number of trees chopped down. Reuse: Use reusable grocery bags rather than plastic bags. Environmental Benefit: Reduces the amount of waste entering our landfills. Recycle: Old toys can be recycled into something new. Environmental Benefit: Uses less energy and natural resources than making toys from brand new materials. As a group or individually, read Where Does the Garbage Go? and discuss the reading. Suggestions for beginning a group discussion include: What goes inside a landfill? What are some items that were reduced, reused or recycled in the story? (See pages 28-30) Page 2

3 Can you think of some items that you throw away that can be reused by someone else? (e.g. clothes that are too small can be taken to a Goodwill store, old toys in good condition can be donated, etc.) Activity (optional) Next, it is time for participants to get on their feet and participate in a recycling relay where they will learn how to sort recyclable and non-recyclable items into the appropriate bins. Activity Materials Internet access Large piece of paper Six bins (two labeled trash, two labeled paper & cardboard, and two labeled cans & plastic) Trash, plastic, cans and paper items Activity Preparation Participants will go onto the internet to learn the guidelines for recycling in their school. For example, in New York City, paper & cardboard are collected in containers with a green recycling decal, while beverage cartons, bottles, cartons, bottles, cans, metal & foil are collected in containers with a blue recycling decal. (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/at_agencies/at_school_sch oolresources.shtml) As the participants share their research, one person should compile a set of recycling guidelines on a large piece of paper. How to play Now that the participants know the recycling guidelines for their city, it is time to take part in the recycling relay! Participants will line up in two lines of equal numbers. Page 3

4 Each member of the group will take turns running or walking up to the pile of trash and sorting one item into the appropriate bin (either trash, or bottles & cans, or paper & cardboard). An older buddy may accompany younger students in need of assistance. In addition, the rest of the team is allowed to help teammates figure out where the item belongs. After the item has been put in the correct bin (and approved by a referee), the participant can return to the back of the line, and the next person will go. The first team to sort all the items successfully into their appropriate bin wins the relay. Project In pairs or small groups, participants will walk around their classroom or school and complete the environmental survey (see attached). After completing the survey, students will remain in their groups to brainstorm projects that foster environmentally responsible behavior at their school. Project ideas Create recycling signs to place on trashcans and bulletin boards to remind other students and school administrators how and what to recycle. Collect yogurt containers and other non-recyclable plastic containers, and reuse them as cup holders for markers, paintbrushes, pencils, etc. Use the blank side of discarded paper to create scrap-paper books for scratch work. While students can use any of these ideas, encourage them to be creative in coming up with their own ways to create a more environmentally friendly school community. Page 4

5 Reflection Once the project has finished, gather students back together and hold a discussion. Some questions to discuss may include: Why is it important to reduce, reuse and recycle in your community? How did your project help to encourage reducing, reusing and/or recycling in your school? What changes in your behavior can you make to help the environment? Additional Resources NYC Wastele$$ Kids Recycle Sample Checklist Before students arrive, it is important to establish: o Where students will work o Where everyone will sit for discussion (maybe put chairs in a circle or sit on a classroom rug)where students will put their backpacks, coats, or other items they want out of the way o If portions of the lesson can be held outsidenotes o If you have volunteers and youth leaders, ask them to help with setup. o It is important to establish how the project will run. Will students go directly to materials, or will they go to a place to sit and receive instructions? o Ask volunteers and youth leaders to help younger students with their projects. Page 5

6 Recycling Renovation Survey* 1) Does your classroom recycle? Yes No If so, what products? 2) Does your school or classroom reuse materials that might otherwise be thrown away? Yes No If so, please describe: 3) Does your school or classroom reduce the amount of waste produced? Yes No If so, please describe: 4) Does your school or classroom have a list of the recycling guidelines in your city? Yes No 5) Based on the answers above, how environmentally friendly do you think your school or classroom is? (Circle one) o very environmentally friendly o somewhat environmentally friendly o not environmentally friendly Page 6

7 6) List some areas where you think your school or classroom can improve its environmental friendliness: *Note: This survey can be printed on recycled paper Page 7

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