• HAND OUT – Hand out student booklets
  • WATCH – Cue up the video below and watch it with the class
  • THINK – Give students time to reflect and complete their booklet
  • SHARE – Have students share their ideas with the class or work in their groups
  • CONSIDER – Go deeper by adding an activity from the extension buffet below
  • COLLECT – Collect workbooks till the next session
  • FEEDBACK – Record your feedback below




Extension Buffet

  • DISCUSS – Get students thinking about needs versus wants. Tell students we are going on a backcountry hiking trip. You can only take what you can carry.  The teacher quickly jots down all ideas on the board and then the class distills needs from wants. Often we use these words interchangeably, but they have very different definitions. 
  • DAY IN THE LIFE – What would your day look like if you lived zero waste now? What would be different?  Brushing your teeth? Playing? Getting to and from school and other activities? Getting takeout? What do you do now to be zero waste?
  • WATCH – What is sustainable development (3:40)
  • GAME –  Play the Producer & Consumer game. Humans are great producers and consumers but not so great as decomposers/recyclers~ focus on decomposing, creating from waste, and closing the loop. Bean bags/small balls are stored in two safe areas. Producers take a bean bag. Consumers get a bean bag by tagging a producer. Decomposers get bean bags from tagging consumers and return them to the safe area.  
  • CRAFT – Turn a t-shirt into a shopping bag. This is an easy repurposing exercise that can be done in class. Each student will bring an old t-shirt to class. Tools needed per student are a pair of scissors that are able to cut cloth and a piece of string. 
  • WATCH – Follow the lifecycle of a t-shirt from resource extraction to disposal – (6:00)
  • MAKE IT – Use the Imagination Factory Trash Matcher to have students make something new with waste items from home
  • SORT IT – Do a garbage assessment to see what type of garbage you make in your classroom. Use tongs and dump the garbage onto a tarp and sort the garbage. Is there recycling that should have gone elsewhere? Pledge to reduce the garbage you make as a class. In another week complete the same tasks and see if you did better. 
  • WATCH – The Trashman collected and wore all the garbage he created in a week (1:13) 
  • WATCH – Why a Circular Model is better than Linear (11:53)
  • THEATRE – Have students create a theatre project to teach others about zero waste. Students make a live skit or short video to share what they’ve learned to other students in the school
  • CLIMATE – Climate specific content *coming soon*
  • ZERO WASTE LUNCH – Challenge students to a zero-waste lunch day



8 responses to “-Waste

  1. We watched and discussed the video. Students were very engaged in the idea of waste and how to minimize the amount of waste a community and themselves create. There was lots of discussion around what they could do with the waste instead of it going to a landfill.
    As an extension the class was interested in having a garbage free lunch challenge at some point during the school year.

    More explanation around sustainability would be beneficial as the class struggled to understand what it meant.

  2. Watched the introduction video a couple of times. Great discussion on what waste is and how much we produce. Trashman video was an eye-opener for many of them! The Sustainable Development video helped guide discussions about what sustainability means. We will be discussing this more as well as the three parts for them to really understand the concept.
    We will be watching the Circular model video as a second half of this lesson as we ran out of time.

  3. The Trashman video definitely garnished a great deal of interest and conversation. Looking at the garbage in our classroom and two other classrooms (three in total) was an excellent opportunity to discuss waste within our classroom, school, and community. At least 2/3 of the items in our garbage could have been recycled or composted. When we discussed our lunches, 7 out of 26 are using reusable lunches with kids with the goal of reducing waste. I will examine a garage again and then look for ways to make a reduced waste-free lunch (the goal is no waste but I don’t want parents to simply throw it in the garbage at home). The idea of sustainability and what it means could be improved. More information and having this idea embedded into each lesson would be great. The whole concept of this project is around sustainability and it should be a the forefront of the planning. Also, it would be great to tie sustainability in the UN sustainability goals. It’s important to add a global perspective for students to know what every citizen in the world should be entitled to.

    I would like to see all the different activities that were provided with in-person teaching of the program in regard to the life cycle of a product (for example batteries, soccer balls, and so forth). Emphasizing the different everyday items that we have come to realize would help to drive this fact home. Again, I recognize the importance of reusing our shirt’s activity to create a bag. However, where do these shirts ultimately end up? If the sole goal of that activity is to make things last longer, then so be it.

    Also, it would be great to have contact information from our local waste disposal companies within the municipalities and a tour of landfills to see firsthand. Students had a lot of questions about what was garbage and which wrappers are now being accepted at our local recycling depots. Getting that access to our local areas that these students/families visit would be great.

  4. We started with the Trashman video as a bit of a “hook” to get the students interested.
    After a short discussion we moved onto the BR video. This gave students lots of ideas for their planning and we jumped right in. I was happy that the program initially mentioned that their projects can use technology that has already been invented, as many of them wanted to make garbage disappear etc.

    As they were working in their workbooks, we started discussing how we may use natural resources to create our cities. They grappled with the idea of how we need to mine metals to make a solar panel, or how we need some wood to build a house etc. Perhaps a lesson about natural resources, and how we can make their usage more sustainable, would be useful? One student said that his citizens would just live in the forest eating roots and therefore, be completely sustainable. I told them that we are concerned about how to provide sustainable cities for a potentially high number of people.

    Overall, the lesson went really well and they are getting excited to build their models. We are going to watch the “What is Sustainable Development” video in our next class before we begin talking about energy.

  5. We started with the introduction video and had a discussion about needs vs wants. Then we watched the ‘what is sustainable development’ to follow. The ‘Lifecycle of a T-shirt’ video was awesome and after having participated in the Beyond Recycling project last year in class, the ‘Lifecycle of Stuff’ project would make a great addition to the extension buffet for this lesson. I think that lesson really helps students think about resource extraction, which my students had a hard time connecting to with the lesson so far.

    We stretched this lesson over two days. Day 2 we watched the circular model vs linear model video which the students found very humorous and easy to engage with. We then dumped out our trash can at the end of the day to look at what we were sending to the ‘end of the line’ so to speak in the garbage. About 3/4 of our garbage could have been reused, recycled, or composted. The kicked off our 2 week waste free lunch challenge. Each day we will be calculating the percentage of the class who was able to bring a waste free lunch. We talked about not judging or shaming those who aren’t able to bring a waste free lunch. We discussed the barriers families face when trying to provide waste free options. We also discussed how the students don’t ultimately get to make some of the lunch choices in their house. It has still led to great discussion and just a conscious effort of using more containers vs disposable bags and wrappers. We have also discussed sharing ideas and recipes from home for granola bars or fruit roll ups or other snack ideas that are easy to make and pack in a zero waste manner. Overall, this lesson has led to many great class discussions, awareness of our current actions, as well as ideas for students to incorporate in their city designs.

  6. We started out with having students imagine they were going on a camping trip. We made a list of all the things they thought they would need. We separated the list into “needs” vs. “wants”. We then watched the Beyond Recycling video on waste.
    We talked about the final project and how it needs to be sustainable. We then watched the video “What is sustainable development”. We had students think about all the things they use in a day and we talked about it. I asked them “what happens to those items when you are done with them?”
    We then watched the video “Trash Me” and discussed. Students had time today to get into their groups and start planning their community.
    We are really enjoying the lessons and activities.

  7. We started with a conversation of need vs want as we’ve had this talk before in relation to socials. We then watched the trash man video that was provided and a second as they enjoyed the first so much. We talked about waste in their lunch kits, at home, and with school supplies. We then brainstormed solutions. We also watched the lifecycle of a t-shirt which students found eye opening. I found the waste component was doable for students. However, there was not a lot of information on resources. So after we watched the intro video, and students began working in their booklets, they became stumped. We brainstormed some ideas together, but the program would benefit from further information on resources. We will watch the sustainable development video next lesson.

  8. We watched the video which students found interesting and informative. We had a great discussion, and it was interesting to see the diversity in students’ knowledge/experience around this topic. Again, the Extension Buffet has a great selection of diverse resources. There is a lot of information in this lesson. We did two follow up lessons to cover material in the Extension Buffet and to consolidate ideas. We watched the video “What is sustainable development” and I like the fact that sustainability is being woven into lessons. It might be a good idea to have a standalone lesson at the beginning of the program that explains sustainability.
    It would also be great to follow up with a visit to the local landfill/recycling depot. Many students struggled with what can and cannot be recycled and this could be a valuable “hands on” learning experience for them.