Donna L. Mead Bass Elementary School
1140 W. 66th Street
Chicago IL 60636
(773) 535-3279


The third grade student will be able to:
1. Define recycling.
2. Identify recyclable materials.
3. Categorize recyclable materials.
4. Understand the importance of filtration
5. Identify the recycle symbols

Materials Needed:

chalk recyclable paper
blender recyclable plastic
window screen recyclable aluminum (tin)
plastic bowl shoebox with lid
construction paper onion
paper towel baking soda
tissue paper 2 Ziploc bags
baking pan measuring spoon
newspaper saucer
6 plastic cups coffee filter
terry cloth gauze


The teacher will ask students to tell the uses of water. Wait for
response. The teacher will then ask students to imagine the world without
water. Wait for students to respond. Students will understand the importance
of water and know that they can not exist without it. The teacher will stress
the importance of clean water and explain to students the natural process of

Activity 1:
Students will observe an experiment to show how water is filtered using various
types of filters. The teacher will have six plastic cups. The first three will
be labeled A, B and C. Each cup will have a tablespoon of soil. Then fill
with water (stir the soil and water well). Cover the second set of three cups
with a filter. There are three filters in all (coffee filter, terry cloth, and
gauze). Ask students to predict which cup will filter the cleanest water. Wait
for responses. Demonstrate for students by pouring the first cup marked A into
the cup with the coffee filter. Then do the same for cup B. Explain to
students that the filter with the most soil on top is the one that would have
the cleaner water.

The teacher will explain to the students how water is recycled by a natural
process similar to the experiment. The teacher will generate a discussion on
recycling. Students will be able to give a definition on recycling from
discussion, the teacher will identify for students the symbols for recycling.

Activity 2:
The teacher will show students various recyclable items. Some items will bear
the recycle symbol and some will not. Ask students to come up and examine the
items. The items should include plastics, aluminum (tin), and paper
(cardboard). Have students make columns on their notebook paper. Label each
column [paper, plastic, and aluminum (tin)]. Ask students to write the items
that belong to the categories on their paper. Also, have students mark an
asterisk next to the items that have the symbol displayed. Ask students if the
items that did not have symbol can be recycled? Tell them yes, because
sometimes items will not have symbol but will tell you to recycle.

The teacher will explain to students how their input to recycle will help save
our planet. Tell students to go home and look for items with the symbol or the
word recycle displayed.

Activity 3:
The teacher will explain to students how paper is recycled in order to be
reused. The teacher will pass out one piece of construction paper to every
student. Have students tear the paper into tiny pieces. The teacher will
choose two or three students at a time to come up and put their pieces into a
plastic bowl. The teacher will have a blender ready for use. Students will be
asked to observe while the teacher mixes into the blender. Twenty percent paper
and eighty percent water. The paper should mix until it is pulp like. Once the
paper is pulp, the teacher will place a screen into a baking pan, and pour the
pulp onto the screen. Students will observe and ask questions if necessary.
The teacher will spread the pulp evenly and place newspaper on top of the pulp,
(a sponge can also come in handy for drying). Lift the screen from the baking
pan and flip over onto some newspaper for drying purposes. The teacher can
remove the screen and cover homemade paper with newspaper. You have just made
your very own homemade paper. Let paper stand to dry. Students will enjoy
watching and participating in paper making.

The teacher will explain to the students the importance of recycling paper. The
teacher will emphasize that there aren't enough trees in the world to cut down
for paper making. Students will be asked what would happen if all the trees
were cut down. Wait for responses. Explain to students that trees protect us
from pollution in the air.

Activity 4:
The teacher will cut an onion the day before the lesson and place into a shoebox
with a lid. The shoebox will have a tablespoon of baking soda sprinkled in it.
It is important that the onion sits in the shoebox overnight with the baking
soda. The teacher will have two Ziploc bags marked used and unused. The unused
bag will have a tablespoon of baking soda. The day of the lesson, the teacher
will have students smell the unused bag, then take a tablespoon of the baking
soda from the shoebox and place it in the used bag. Students should smell the
onion in the used bag and not smell anything in the unused bag. Students will
learn that the baking soda absorbed the smell from the onion. The teacher
should stress to students how breathing pollutants in the air can have an effect
on our bodies.

This last activity is an introduction to a lesson on air pollution.

Performance Assessment:

Have students define recycling orally. Allow students to explain why it is
important to recycle. Ask students to name recyclable items and why are the
items recyclable. Students will demonstrate how filtration works by giving
examples through illustration.

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