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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Grade 3: Reduce Your Trash

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.
  • Measure and compare the weight of objects using a scale.
  • Collect, record, organize, and interpret data using a variety of graphic representations.
  • Analyze collected data and draw logical conclusions.
  • Communicate their ideas in writing and inform readers about their actions to reduce waste

Lesson Type:
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

Time Needed:
30-40 minutes per day for one week
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).

Mathematics Standard 3: Use basic and advanced procedures while performing the process of computation.
  • Benchmark # 5: Perform basic mental computations (e.g. addition and subtraction of whole numbers).
  • Benchmark # 6: Determine the effects of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on the size and order of numbers.

Mathematics Standard 4: Understand and apply the basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement.
  • Benchmark # 3: Know the basic standard units (e.g., ounces, pounds, liters, grams) and relationships between them (e.g. between ounces and pounds).

Mathematics Standard 6: Understand and apply the basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
  • Benchmark # 1: Understand that data represents specific pieces of information about real-world objects or activities.
  • Benchmark # 4: Organize and display data in simple bar graphs, pie charts and line graphs.
  • Benchmark # 5: Read and interpret simple bar graphs, pie charts and line graphs.
  • Benchmark # 6: Understand that data comes in many different forms and that collecting, organizing and displaying data can be done in many ways.

Science Standard 12: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  • Benchmark # 3: Plans and conducts simple investigations.
  • Benchmark # 4: Use appropriate tools (e.g., scales) to gather scientific data and extend the senses.

Language Arts Standard 1: Use the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
  • Benchmark # 12: Write personal letters.

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:
  • Large, clear plastic trash bags
  • Scale
  • Recycling bins
  • Chart paper
  • Grid paper
  • Poster markers
  • Paper and pencils
  • Copy of the book “Sir Johnny’s Recycling Adventure” by Rachael Paulson
  • Copies of the Letter to Parents provided
  • Copies of Snack Survey provided
  • Bar graph worksheet provided

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

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools