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Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Creating a Mini Landfill

Lesson Description:
  • Explain the need to reduce the amount of trash they generate, and describe ways in which they can make changes in their actions to support waste reduction.
  • Predict, observe, record, and draw logical conclusions during simple investigation.
  • Communicate their ideas in writing and inform readers about their actions to reduce waste.

Lesson Type:
  • Project
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

Time Needed:
Initial lesson of 60 minutes (maybe divided into two 30 minute sessions), 20 minute follow-up lesson a week later
Standards Addressed:
Geography Standard 16: Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources.
  • Benchmark # 5: Know advantages and disadvantages of recycling and reusing different types of materials.

Geography Standard 18: Understand global development and environmental issues.
  • Benchmark # 2: Know ways in which resources can be managed and why it is important to do so (e.g., conservation practices, recycling non-renewable resources).

Science Standard 12: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  • Benchmark # 3: Plans and conducts simple investigations.

Language Arts Standard 8: Use listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
  • Benchmark # 3: Respond to questions and comments (e.g., gives reasons in support of opinions).

Materials Needed:
  • Chart paper
  • Signs: paper, metals, glass, plastic, biodegradable
  • Some sorting items: aluminum can, aluminum foil, brown paper bag, cereal box, junk mail, white paper, pie tin, newspaper, telephone book, plastic milk jug, plastic soda bottle, plastic containers, tin can, drinking glass, glass bottle, glass jars, corrugated cardboard. Make sure to have some biodegradable food items available- orange peel, banana peel, apple core, cucumber peel, celery stalk.
  • Waterproof, plastic container (such as child’s pail, cut open milk carton, plastic storage container)
  • Dirt
  • Piece of lettuce
  • Piece of plastic bag
  • 1 cup of water
  • Fork
  • "Mini Landfill Predictions, Observations, Conclusions" worksheet provided below

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:

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