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Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Waste to Energy

Lesson Description:
  • Identify and describe forms of waste management and how they can affect the environment.
  • Add, subtract, and divide whole numbers.
  • Find the mean (e.g., average) of a given set of whole numbers.
  • Organize, interpret and analyze data using graphic representations (e.g., bar graphs).
  • Locate geographic information on a US map.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
50 minutes
Standards Addressed:
Technology Standard 3: Understand the relationship among science, technology, society and the individual.
  • Benchmark # 1: Know that technologies often have costs as well as benefits (e.g., as new technologies are developed, man’s need for energy increases, resources are used and more pollution/waste is created) and this can have an enormous effect on people and other living things.
  • Benchmark # 5: Understand that technology may affect the environment both negatively and positively (e.g., waste to energy facilities reduce the amount of waste and produce energy, but may also add air pollutants to the environment).

Science Standard 9: Understand the sources and properties of energy.
  • Benchmark #1: Know that heat is often produced when one form of energy is converted to another form.

Mathematics Standard 3: Use basic and advanced procedures while performing the process of computation.
  • Benchmark # 6: Determine the effects of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on the size and order of numbers.
  • Benchmark # 8: Solve real world problems involving number operations.

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.

Geography Standard 3: Understand the concept of regions.
  • Benchmark # 2: Understand how regions change over time and the consequences of these changes (e.g., construction of facilities- WtE plants).

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). Benchmark # 5: Use strategies to convey a clear main point when speaking (e.g., express ideas in a logical manner, use specific vocabulary to present information).

Materials Needed:
  • Copy of “From Waste to Energy” by Robert Green
  • US map
  • Poster markers in a variety of colors
  • Art materials: paper, markers, rulers, pencils, erasers
  • Waste-to-Energy Facility sketch provided below
  • Major Users of WtE in the US data table provided below (Waste to Energy Chart)

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Waste to Energy.Lesson.pdf

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools