Shirley A. Knight John Whistler Elementary
11533 S. Ada
Chicago IL 60643
(312) 535-5560


This lesson was designed for fourth grade students. The main objectives of
this mini-teach are to identify and be aware of how much garbage we can produce,
identify landfills and their purposes, and explain how recycling saves energy
and resources while reducing pollution.

Materials Needed:

Rubberbands, brown paper bag, tape, crayons, scissors, 1 gallon glass jar,
measuring cup (250ml), red food coloring, 1 gallon jug water, paper plate,
china plate, paper towel, terry cloth dish towel, plastic bag, plastic foam cup,
glass, plastic wrap, reusable refrigerator container, carrots in a plastic bag,
carrots out of plastic bag. This lesson is designed for whole class


Do an activity called Test Your Recycling Sense. Tell students that you
are going to hold up two objects and that they must tell you which object is
better for our environment. Paper plate-china plate, paper towel-terry
cloth dish towel, plastic bag-paper bag, plastic foam cup-glass, carrots in
plastic bag-carrots out of plastic bags. (Note: The second items in each pair,
above are better for our environment.)
A second activity is an experiment showing how pollution effects wildlife.
Pour one-half cup of water into the gallon jar. Add and stir in two drops of
food coloring. Add one cup of water at a time to the jar until the red color
disappears. It takes about 7 or more measuring cups of clear water to make the
red color disappear. The children should know that when pollutants are put into
streams, they go through the entire stream. They do not disappear. They merely
spread out just like the food coloring did in the experiment. However, they are
still present in the stream and are very dangerous to wildlife and humans.
A third activity is an experiment with rubberbands to determine one effect
of plastic garbage pollution on sea animals. Hook one end of the rubberband
around your little finger. Stretch the rubberband across the back of your hand
and hook the free end on your thumb. Try to remove the rubberband without
touching anything. Seals and fish do not have hands. How can they remove the
plastic rings from six-packs of beverages if they get these around their bodies.
A fourth activity is to have students sing a recycle song. The name of the
song is Recycle Now, sung to the tune of "Three Blind Mice", Verse One, Recycle
Now, Recycle Now, For earth's own sake, For earth's own sake, We cannot bury our
trash today, Our landfill can't handle it anyway, To recycle is smart for
everyone, To save our earth, So recycle now. Verse Two, Recycle Now Recycle
Now, For earth's own sake, For earth's own sake, We know how to save a tree
every day, To keep our papers in every way, I'll tell my parents to save them
too, So we'll save a tree. Verse Three, Recycle Now, Recycle Now, For earth's
own sake, For earth's own sake, We know that aluminum and glass are good, To
throw away plastic-we never should, I'll tell my parents to save them too, So
we'll save our earth.
A fifth activity is to have students to construct a folder using recycled
brown bags. Reuse grocery bags to make student folders. Not only is this a
great activity for recycling but also this activity can be used as a great
listening to directions experience. The cover can be developed as an art
1. Unglue and unfold the bottom of a large brown bag, preferably one that
is a single thickness of paper

2. Flatten bag by placing the advertising toward you. Pull the front edge
with your left hand, and the back folded edge with your right hand.

3. Cut off the bottom at the last fold.

4. Tape the top edges of the bag together. Tape the bottom edges of bag

5. Measure 30 cm. down from the top edge, then fold the bottom edge up.

6. Tape edges only. You may want to use staples or glue instead.

7. Fold in half and decorate.

Performance Assessment:

Students will construct a useful folder to hold their school papers. They
will construct this folder from recycled brown bags. Upon completion of their
folders they will have a clear understanding of how important it is to recycle.


At the conclusion of this mini-teach the students will be able to identify
the ways we can dispose of garbage and the many ways they can recycle.

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