Activity 3: From Trash to Treasure (GLEs: 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 48, 49)
Materials List: chart or wipe-off board, disposable gloves, trash bags, litter collected from school grounds, bathroom or available scale, reusable items brought from home, common classroom art supplies
Encourage students to question why some people litter. Have students brainstorm (view literacy strategy descriptions) ways to help people stop littering (write to the newspaper, make litter posters, become good role models). Brainstorming is used to activate prior knowledge about a topic. This strategy helps students to understand what they know about a particular topic and connect this knowledge to that of the group. Record responses on a chart or wipe-off board.
Ask students to gather trash from the playground or area surrounding the school. Students should wear disposable gloves while picking up trash for safety and sanitation purposes. Have students sort the trash by various attributes, such as paper, glass, and aluminum. Next have students predict which garbage pile will be the heaviest. Graph these predictions using a teacher-made graph or using Graph Club© software (available at http://www.tomsnyder.com). Have students weigh the trash collected to confirm and compare predictions. Students may also bring in items from home that can be reused. Some suggested items are parade beads and throws, small old toys or trinkets, magazines, bottle tops, etc. Advise students to select items that can be washed/cleaned before bringing them to school if needed. Allow students to use their artistic abilities to create sculptures from the collected trash and litter. Display the sculptures in an area designated as the “Garbage Gallery.”
Through probing questions and class discussion, have students describe how consumption of resources can be reduced through recycling, reusing, and conserving. Have students record the things they do to preserve the environment through recycling, reusing, and/or conserving natural resources for a week. Some examples are not leaving the water running while brushing teeth, using fewer paper products such as plates and cups, and collecting cans or newspapers for recycling. At the end of the week, have students share the information collected.
Discussion questions could include the following:
· What can you do to recycle at home? At school?
· What can you do to conserve a valuable resource?
Include the concept of repair for reuse