In Alyssa Rundberg’s grade 5 class at Gordon Terrace, the students are wrapping up their first Beyond Recycling unit on waste with a mini project about the lifecycles of stuff.
Just like a storybook, everything we use has a beginning, middle and an end. Students have been learning about the five different stages along the way:
Extraction: any activity that withdraws resources from the Earth
Production: the making or manufacturing of something
Distribution: the process of making a product or service available for use
Consumption: the process in which the product or thing is completely destroyed, used up or consumed
Disposal: the action or process of throwing something away or getting rid of something
We first went through examples of a plastic water bottle and shredded wheat cereal before breaking off into groups to learn the lifecycle of jeans, battery, aluminum can, glass bottle, soccer ball or a pencil. Students were give story cards and challenged to put them into the correct lifecycle stages and determine which impacts might be associated with each stage. Finally, they shared their learnings with the rest of the class.