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6-8LP2_4 Rs of Wastedoc - Lesson 2 The 4 Rs of Waste

By Vincent Ross,2014-05-07 11:56
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6-8LP2_4 Rs of Wastedoc - Lesson 2 The 4 Rs of Waste

Lesson 2: The 4 R’s of Waste

    Students investigate and teach each other about the four environmental R’s – reduce, reuse,

    recycle and recover.

    Length of Lesson: 2-3 class sessions Subject Area(s): Science, Language Arts, Math, Technology Objectives

    Students will:

    ? Investigate and share information about one of the four environmental R’s.

    ? Determine how one product could be reduced, reused, recycled and/or recovered.

    ? Make recommendations about an integrated waste management strategy for their school.

Materials

    ? Polystyrene foam egg carton (not cardboard egg cartons)

    ? Several pairs of plastic gloves

    ? Student Activity Sheet- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover Investigation

    ? Access to the Internet

    ? Access to other areas of the school

    Background Information

    ? All items are made from natural resources which can be used again. Objects that humans

    use come from four main natural resource groups: forests/plants, animal, mineral and

    fossil fuel. What humans do with objects once they are finished with them can have a

    huge impact on our environment and our lives.

    ? Note that the egg carton used in the example in this lesson is made of polystyrene foam.

    Cardboard is also used for some egg cartons. Cardboard cartons are recyclable while

    polystyrene foam egg cartons are not.

    ? There are four main actions that we can take, other than throwing away an object, to help

    our environment. They include 4 R’s:

    o Reduce- to use less of an object in the first place

    o Reuse- to use an object over and over again

    o Recycle- to turn an object or its parts into something else

    o Recovery- to use energy from the waste as power

    ? Effective and responsible waste management includes a balance of all of these actions.

Procedure

    1. Hold up a Polystyrene foam egg carton. Ask students what they think this egg carton is

    made of, how many egg cartons they think their family uses in an average year, what

    their family typically does with their egg cartons, and what the environmental impact

    might be of the number of egg cartons that are currently used.

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

2. Then challenge student groups to come up with ideas for reducing the number of egg

    cartons in the waste stream. This could include using fewer egg cartons, reusing the

    same egg cartons over again, recycling egg cartons into other products and uses,

    designing a different type of egg carton made from recycled materials, etc. Note: many

    students will point out that their egg cartons are made of cardboard. These can be

    recycled as can most paper products. Share answers. Discuss:

    a. Why would we want to reduce the number of egg cartons in the waste stream?

    b. How would this reduction impact them personally, their community and the

    environment?

    c. What would prevent students from actually implementing one of these strategies?

    d. How can they apply this model and these strategies to general waste in the

    United States?

    e. What are the risks of not reducing our national waste production?

    3. Put these four words on the board: reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover. Explain that each

    of these R’s is a waste management strategy that can be implemented to help reduce the

    amount of waste we produce or do something positive with the waste we produce.

    4. Ask students to come up with a class definition for each word and how they think it

    relates to waste management. (They may have trouble with “recover” since it is a

    relatively new technology). Simple definitions for each are included in the background

    section.

    5. Ask students to share how they have used one or more of the four R’s in the last week.

    Then ask them to share how they could have used one of the R’s but chose not to.

    6. Have the class share what they already know about each of the R’s and then generate a

    list of things they’d like to learn.

    7. Divide students into groups. Distribute the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover

    Investigation student activity sheet.

    8. Have students use previous knowledge or online resources such as

    www.thinkgreen.com or www.epa.gov to complete the information on the sheet.

    9. Then have them present their information to the rest of the class, sharing information

    about their R’s human and environmental benefits and the specific roles that they and

    others could take in more consistently implementing it.

    10. Once all groups have presented, discuses:

    a. How are the 4 R’s currently being implemented at the school?

    b. How can the information they’ve learned be used to reduce waste production at

    the school?

    11. Challenge students to list 5-10 common waste items that find their way into school

    trashcans. (They may need to explore some trash cans at the school to help). Items

    could include paper, milk cartons, glass, bottles, aluminum foil, glossy paper, boxes,

    cardboard, etc.

    12. If possible, allow students to audit specific trashcans and actually weigh their items to

    draw conclusions about school-wide waste amounts

    13. Still in their groups, have students investigate how their trash item is currently disposed of

    at school. If necessary, have students conduct interviews with appropriate school

    personnel to determine how this waste is disposed of, whether any of the 4R’s are

    currently being implemented with their product, and what happens if the product is simply

    placed in the trashcan.

    14. After gathering information, have students create at least one strategy to reduce the

    school’s waste production using their product and at least one of the 4 R’s.

    15. Have students share their strategies with each other and select 3-5 strategies from the

    entire list that will have the greatest impact. The strategies they select should relate to at

    least two of the four R’s.

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

16. Then have students design a way to present these strategies, along with their presumed

    impact, to school officials; custodial, cafeteria or office staff; or any other school-based

    decision makers.

    Extension

    ? Have students learn about school or district policies with regard to recycling, reusing and

    reducing as well as any policies about purchasing recycled materials. ? Have students interview a local business owner to determine how they apply the 4 R’s to

    their own waste management.

    Home Extension ? Encourage students to talk with their parents about the importance of implementing the

    four R’s at home. Challenge them to come up with at least three specific changes they

    will implement to reflect a balanced home waste management strategy. These could

    include buying less; buying items that could be recycled; buying in bulk; avoiding single

    serving containers whenever possible; buying concentrated products that use less;

    reusing bags; using durable rather than disposable materials; and using washable cups,

    plates and silverware.

    ? Challenge students to create a series of meals for one week (breakfast, lunches or

    dinners) using materials that are or can be reduced, reused, recycled or recovered.

    Evaluation

    You can evaluate your students using the following three-point rubric:

    ? Three points: Students generate several ideas for reducing egg cartons in the waste

    stream and effectively relate these strategies to the overall waste problem in the US;

    work effectively in groups to research their waste management strategy; complete their

    activity sheet with correct information; and design an appropriate strategy to reduce

    waste at their school.

    ? Two points: Students generate some ideas for reducing egg cartons in the waste stream

    and somewhat effectively relate these strategies to the overall waste problem in the US;

    work somewhat effectively in groups to research their waste management strategy;

    complete their activity sheet with mostly correct information; and design an appropriate

    strategy to reduce waste at their school.

    ? One point: Students unable to generate ideas for reducing egg cartons in the waste

    stream or to relate these strategies to the overall waste problem in the US; unable to

    work in groups to research their waste management strategy; complete their activity

    sheet with some correct information; and unable to design an appropriate strategy to

    reduce waste at their school.

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

Standards Correlation

    This lesson plan may be used to address the National Science Education Standards listed

    below.

    Subject: Science as Inquiry

    Standard: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

    Benchmarks:

    ? Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.

    ? Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data.

Subject: Physical Science

    Subject: Science and Technology

    Standard: Abilities of technological design

    Benchmarks:

    ? Identify appropriate problems for technological design.

    ? Implement a proposed solution.

Subject: Science and Technology

    Standard: Understandings about science and technology

    Benchmarks:

    ? Scientific Inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences.

    ? Perfectly designed solutions do not exist.

Subject: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    Standard: Populations, resources and environments

    Benchmarks:

    ? When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to

    the increased use of resources.

    ? Causes of environmental degradation and resources depletion vary from region to region

    and from country to country.

Subject: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    Standard: Natural hazards

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

    Benchmark: Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal.

Subject: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    Standard: Risks and benefits

    Benchmark: Individuals can use a systematic approach to thinking critically about risks and benefits.

Subject: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

    Standard: Science and Technology in Society

    Benchmark: Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding and research.

This lesson plan may be used to address the North American Association for

    Environmental Education Learning Guidelines listed below.

Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills

    Guideline: Organizing Information

    Benchmark: Present environmental data in a variety of formats including charts, tables, plots, graphs, maps, and flow charts.

Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills

    Guideline: Drawing conclusions and developing explanations

    Benchmarks:

    ? Consider the possible relationships among two or more variables.

    ? Use their proposed explanations to form new questions and suggest new avenues of

    inquiry.

Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Process and Systems

    Guideline: Human/environment interactions

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    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

Benchmark: Explain how human-caused environmental changes cause changes in other places.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Identifying and investigating issues

    Benchmarks:

    ? Clearly articulate and define environmental issues.

    ? Identify key individuals and groups involved, their viewpoints and the types of action they

    support.

    ? Investigate the issue using secondary sources and original research where needed.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Sorting out the consequences of issues

    Benchmarks:

    ? Describe the effects of human actions on specific elements, systems and processes of

    the environment.

    ? Analyze issues by looking at tradeoffs that have been made.

    ? Speculate bout the effects of a proposed state or local environmental regulation.

    ? Predict the consequences of inaction or failure to resolve particular issues.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Identifying and evaluating alternative solutions and courses of action

    Benchmark: Independently and in groups, develop original strategies to address issues.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Forming and evaluating personal views

    Benchmarks:

    ? Discuss personal perspectives with classmates, remaining open to new ideas and

    information.

    ? Justify their views based on information from a variety of sources.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Evaluating the need or citizen action

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

Benchmarks:

    ? Discuss whether action is warranted.

    ? Identify different forms of action that citizens can take in the economic, political and legal

    spheres, as well as actions aimed at directly improving or maintaining some part of the

    environment or persuading others to take action.

    ? Speculate about the likely effects of specific actions on society and the environment, and

    the likelihood these actions will resolve a specific environmental issue.

    ? Point out advantages and disadvantages of their personal involvement, considering

    factors such as their own skills, resources, knowledge, and commitment.

Strand 3: Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues

    Guideline: Planning and taking action

    Benchmark: Develop action plans they can carry out individually, in small groups, or within a

    class, club, or larger organization.

Strand 4: Personal and Civic Responsibility

    Guideline: Recognizing citizens’ rights and responsibilities

    Benchmark: Identify rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship, including personal and

    civic responsibilities.

Strand 4: Personal and Civic Responsibility

    Guideline: Accepting Personal Responsibility

    Benchmarks:

    ? Analyze some o the effects that their actions have on the environment, other humans,

    and other living things.

    ? Identify ways in which they feel responsible for helping resolve environmental issues

    within the community.

    Copyright ? 2009 Discovery Education. All rights reserved.

    Discovery Education is a Division of Discovery Communications, LLC

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