Lively Lessons: Recycling

livelylessons_featuredEach year, Americans throw away millions of tons of paper, glass bottles, plastic containers, aluminum cans, yard clippings, and other types of solid wastes. Increasingly we are realizing that we are running out of places to put this waste as our landfills fill up.

In this week’s Lively Lesson students will examine their own life as they explore the things they throw away everyday. Have students share what they learn about Reduce, Reuse & Recycle with other students.

Play the video Garbage, Not a Pretty Sight and ask students to listen for reasons why we need to think about the things we throw away everyday. Pause the video at 0:40 and ask students to explain some of the problems associated with the waste we create.

Have students draw a flow chart showing what they think happens to something when they throw it away. Have them draw a second flow chart showing what might happen to something that is recycled. trash

On the reverse side of the paper,  have students divide it into thirds and label each section 1. Reduce 2. Reuse 3. Recycle

View Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Start video at 1:10) as a class. Pause the video at 4:37 Have a class discussion about some ways students can reduce the amount of garbage they create. Ask students to record one thing they will do to reduce the amount of garbage they create in their chart.

Restart the video and pause again at 5:55 and have students record one way they can reuse something that would have otherwise been thrown away. Do the same for the final portion of the video (5:57- 8:21).

recyclingHave students share their ideas by encouraging other students to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Here are a few ways students might share their ideas:

– Use BoardBuilder to share facts about what waste does to our environment

– Create a poster encouraging other students to reduce, reuse or recycle items

– Record a brief Public Service Announcement and play back for other students.


Want to explore more? Check out the additional Earth Day resources from Discovery Education, below and be sure to Check out all of the Earth Day activities on the blog.

Stuff You Should Know Podcast- Recycling has come a long way since its debut, and so have landfills. In this HowStuffWorks podcast, discover the realities of modern recycling and find out why the world’s largest landfill might be more aptly described as an “oceanfill.”

Garbage Guzzlers- In this competition, teams build street sweepers. One team constructs a vacuum mechanism, while the other uses rotating brushes.

Getting Smart About Garbage– In this lesson plan students apply language arts skills as they explore how we produce and dispose of garbage and analyze the benefits and trade-offs of some of the practices we use to reduce waste.


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